Do Vegans eat honey?
This is quite a controversial subject
Not quite as controversial as whether vegans eat eggs but there is definitely a wide divide in the vegan community when it comes to honey.
This is mainly around the difference between large scale honey farming and smaller beekeepers that treat their bees well.
Vegans do not eat honey from commercial bee farms or smaller independent beekeepers. This is due to the environmental and ethical impacts. The process of inseminating and managing bees is damaging to the bees being farmed and their wild bee counterparts.
I’m not going to divulge my own opinion in this post, instead, I’ll debate both sides of the argument.
I want to provide a space that explores both sides of the argument, and that allows people to decide for themselves if they want to eat honey or not.
The definition of veganism is “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”
So we need to decide if eating honey, even honey from smaller beekeepers goes against this definition of veganism out of it falls outside of it.
What's your view on eating honey? Let me know in the comments section below but keep it respectful and remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
vegans eat honey
Technically it’s a flower product so if honey is not allowed on a vegan diet then neither should any food produced with animal participation.
Bees overproduce honey which can be damaging to the hive and the bees themselves so it is more responsible to remove some of the honey and leave the bees with enough to get them through the winter.
Wild bees are near extinction because of pesticides on crops. By keeping honey bees we are saving them from extinction.
The relationship between bees and humans is a symbiotic relationship.
This means that humans take the honey from bees but in return provide additional food, a constant water source, protect them from predators, move their hive so they’re always near flowers, and prevent bees from swarming which can cause them damage.
vegans don't eat honey
Earthling Ed is perhaps one of the most (if not the most) famous vegan activists of today.
He says that veganism is about “redefining our relationship with other animals, and acknowledging that their right to life is not predicated on what we can take from them”
Based on this definition it’s not okay to eat honey as we are taking something from them without their consent and quite often this is not done in an ethical way.
Honey bees do not make their honey specifically for humans. This is a common misconception that could not be further from the truth!
Honey is good for bees. Not only is it their energy source but it is their food over the winter and provides them with much needed nutrients.
In fact, it is perfectly suited to their needs.
Forgetting that honey bees make honey for … well, bees let’s take a look at the unethical practices in the bee farming industry.
The Queen Bee will have their wings clipped and there are a couple of reasons for this, firstly so that the farmers can easily identify which bee is the Queen Bee.
But also to stop the bees swarming (when the hive splits and one half leaves) because it is bad for business - fewer bees means less honey!
In order to create more Queen Bees (if one is dying off, they're splitting the hive, to be sold, or for selective breeding) they're artificially inseminated by first gassing the queen so that she is docile, they then take the sperm from drones after crushing them. This link [clicking this link will take you to the ABC news site] explains the process in more detail.
When farmers remove the honey from the hive they replace it with a sugar substitute that is damaging for the bees. It doesn't meet their needs nutritionally and can be detrimental to their health.
Finally, it's often cheaper to kill the hive then make sure they have enough food to last them throughout the winter so they are culled, either by being set on fire, drowned in soapy water, or being gassed.
Aside from the ethical practices, there are also environmental ones to consider.
Honey bees are more at risk of disease and death because they’re subject to selective breeding. These diseases are then passed to wild bees on the flowers they share.
Honey bees are also less effective at pollination than wild bees but due to sheer numbers are out-competing the wild bees for pollen.
Both of these factors are causing large scale issues for wild bees, wildflowers, and our ecosystem as we know it.
This means that without wild bees we would be in serious danger of not being able to provide food for our ever-growing population.
There are many arguments to this and everyone will have a different opinion on the subject.
Some will feel very strongly that it’s not okay, some will have no problem with eating honey, while others may not see it as an issue but would rather not eat honey themselves.
If you don’t want to eat honey then you can substitute this for maple syrup, fruit syrup or molasses in any recipe that requires honey.
Don’t forget to let me know your view on eating honey? Let me know in the comments section below but keep it respectful and remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
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