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Vegan + honey = ?

A little confused..

1 - 10 of 54 posts   1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6  

Zephyr Elf Zephyr Elf SA Posts: 39
1 11 Dec 2010
I stumbled across this website the other day, found this Q + A and found it rather interesting;

Is honey vegan?
Again, it depends on one's definition of vegan. Insects are animals, and so insect products, such as honey and silk, are not traditionally considered vegan. Many vegans, however, are not opposed to using insect products, because they do not believe insects are conscious of pain. Moreover, even if insects were conscious of pain, it's not clear that the production of honey involves any more pain for insects than the production of most vegetables, since the harvesting and transportation of all vegetables involves many 'collateral' insect deaths.

The question remains a matter of scientific debate and personal choice. However, when cooking or labeling food for vegans —particularly vegans you don't know— it's best to be on the safe side and not include honey.

My mother is a vegan who eats honey, which is organic and 'grown' up the road from her house, because she believes bees are vital for biodiversity (pollenation of flowers etc) and the collection of organic honey is incredibly inobtrusive etc.

What are your thoughts on honey, as vegans?

Zephyr Elf Zephyr Elf SA Posts: 39
2 11 Dec 2010
I've also found these;

Aaand Wikipedia weighs in:

"Different groups disagree about some of the items to be excluded. Neither the Vegan Society nor the American Vegan Society consider the use of honey or other insect products to be suitable for vegans. On the other hand, both Vegan Action and Vegan Outreach question the ethical basis of such a position and regard the consumption of honey as a matter of "personal choice."


pitterpatter pitterpatter QLD Posts: 376
3 11 Dec 2010
Honey harvesting is sort of like caged eggs...  We're just using the bees for own ends.  Whether they're harmed or not isn't necessarily the issue for me.  Shouldn't they be given the right to freedom and not to be used as honey making machines?

4 11 Dec 2010
pitterpatter said:
Honey harvesting is sort of like caged eggs...  We're just using the bees for own ends.  Whether they're harmed or not isn't necessarily the issue for me.  Shouldn't they be given the right to freedom and not to be used as honey making machines?
Just like cows have to produce milk while pregnant, and chickens have to lay eggs, bees HAVE to pollinate, I don't see that as the problem.
but I just see it as another way humans are exploiting animals for their own gain.
I avoid honey because it is an animal bi product, just like milk or eggs or cheese.

plus.. agave nectar is pretty much the same tongue

Aaron Aaron VIC Posts: 535
5 11 Dec 2010
depends on your definition of vegan.
When the term vegan was initially coined, it specified that honey was not vegan.

But it is strange for two reasons
1 Bee's aren't sentient as far as we know
2 The same regard is not given to other insects killed in food production

Then there is the problem of substituting maple syrup for honey. The production of maple syrup is far more resource heavy and arguably kills more insects than honey.

I personally dont eat honey but I'm not entirely convinced that honey is any worse for the earth and it's creatures than other processed vegan products.

Imaginary Product Imaginary Product NSW Posts: 142
6 11 Dec 2010
Honey is the bees food.

carinaforkeeps carinaforkeeps NSW Posts: 484
7 11 Dec 2010
I don't consume honey because it's an animal bi-product... As to whether honey production can be ethical, I'm sure it can. But it's still a bi-product.

Akasha213 Akasha213 VIC Posts: 227
8 12 Dec 2010
I avoid honey personally. But I dont necessarily see it as not vegan??!!

I dont think of it as an animal product because it comes from pollyn. I think it's a plant product but it takes bee's to produce it.

I dont think it matters how sentient the bees are the fact is they're still an animal who are making the food from the plants. If it there wasn't bees would humans be able to make honey somehow? In which case, can there be completely vegan honey made one day????

That's one of those questions I think about sometimes too happy

pitterpatter pitterpatter QLD Posts: 376
9 12 Dec 2010
That's like saying, the chickens take the grain and make it into eggs...

The honey is made for the bees larvae, not for humans.

In the end, you're keeping them, farming them and taking their honey for yourself.  I don't really see this as being vegan.  Just my opinion.

RaV3N RaV3N WA Posts: 2152
10 12 Dec 2010
Imaginary Product said:
Honey is the bees food.
They actually eat nectar.

Honey is made up of nectar and their saliva... nectar is passed mouth-to-mouth from bee to bee until its moisture content is reduced from about 70% to 20%. This changes the nectar into honey. Yummooo!

It takes 300 bees about three weeks to gather only 450g of honey. That's a lot of work going into one jar of honey!

I don't eat honey, never have. But I will on occasion purchase muesli bars which contain a small percentage of honey if I am unable to find some without. I personally believe consuming honey is the lesser of all evils.

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