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Honey? Yes or no?

What are your thoughts?

21 - 30 of 37 posts   1 | 2 | 3 | 4  

kookimooki kookimooki VIC Posts: 4
21 22 Apr 2012
This is such a difficult one. Even though I consider myself vegan the one thing I still do have is honey. I mostly steer clear clear of refined sugar so honey is my alternative. We buy cold extracted honey from the health food store, which is probably better than stuff from the supermarket. We also have maple syrup, but honey is nicer.
To be honest, if I knew what actually happened on honey farms I would probably stop eating it. That's what happened to me with eggs and dairy.
Another really good alternative for people not wanting to eat honey is rice malt syrup. It tastes basically the same with the same consistency

Vegan-Lisa Vegan-Lisa SA Posts: 164
22 22 Apr 2012
I've read many things online- this is from the PETA website :
(I only copied part of it coz otherwise it'd be too long)
"Manipulating Nature
Profiting from honey requires the manipulation and exploitation of the insects’ desire to live and protect their hive. Like other factory-farmed animals, honeybees are victims of unnatural living conditions, genetic manipulation, and stressful transportation.

The familiar white box that serves as a beehive has been around since the mid-1850s and was created so that beekeepers could move the hives from place to place. The New York Times reported that bees have been “moved from shapes that accommodated their own geometry to flat-topped tenements, sentenced to life in file cabinets.”(19)

Since “swarming” (the division of the hive upon the birth of a new queen) can cause a decline in honey production, beekeepers do what they can to prevent it, including clipping the wings of a new queen, killing and replacing an older queen after just one or two years, and confining a queen who is trying to begin a swarm.(20,21) Queens are artificially inseminated using drones, who are killed in the process.(22) Commercial beekeepers also “trick” queens into laying more eggs by adding wax cells to the hive that are larger than those that worker bees would normally build.(23)

Since late 2006, farmed honeybee populations have succumbed yearly to a disease called “colony collapse disorder.” Although scientists have yet to find a cause, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says researchers continue to focus on key possibilities that include “bee management stress,” “pesticide poisoning,” and “inadequate forage/poor nutrition.”(24)

What You Can Do
Avoid honey, beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, and other products that come from bees. Vegan lip balms and candles are readily available. Visit for a list of companies that don’t use animal products. Agave nectar, rice syrup, molasses, sorghum, barley malt, maple syrup, and dried fruit or fruit concentrates can be used to replace honey in recipes. Call 1-888-VEG-FOOD or visit to order a free vegetarian/vegan starter kit that contains information about compassionate eating choices."

One more source- but it's waaaaaay too long so have copied some

"This essay explains why vegans do not eat honey.

By Definition

The simplest reason why honey isn't vegan is by definition. The term vegan was coined by Donald Watson in 1944 and was defined as follows:

Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals (Stepaniak).
People who follow a vegan diet for health or environmental reasons, please take note.
We don't, however, need to go back to 1944 to define honey as not vegan. Any definition of veganism would talk about not exploiting animals, and honeybees (Apis mellifera)  are, without a doubt, animals. Honeybees are in the phylum Arthropoda--the same as lobsters and crabs. So in addition to crustaceans, if honeybees don't merit respect, that would also leave earthworms vulnerable to dissection in biology classes. Similarly, iscallops, snails, and oysters would be fair game--they are not as "high up" on the evolutionary scale as bees. James and Carol Gould (respectively, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton and a full-time science writer) point out that "Honey bees are at the top of their part of the evolutionary tree, whereas humans are the most highly evolves species on our branch. To look at honeybees, then, is to see one of the two most elegant solutions to the challenges of life on our planet. More interesting, perhaps, than the many differences are the countless eerie parallels--convergent evolutionary answers to similar problems" (Gould, x). Of course, all this talk of higher and lower is fiction. Even Darwin reminded himself to "Never use the words higher and lower" (Dunayer, 13).

Who are Honeybees?

Before we go any further, please take a moment to meet the honeybees.

Are Bees Smart?

So why do people think they can exploit bees without qualms? Is it because they are not intelligent? There is evidence that says they are. People have been studying  bee behavior for hundreds of years, and with good reason. But of course, it's just all pheromones and instinct, right? They act in ways that suggest intelligence, but there's a simple biochemical explanation. (And this is different from humans in what way?) Placing all of this aside, what about a possible bee imagination? The most compelling indication of bee smarts follows. (Yes, it's controversial, but I for one like to err on the side of caution.) Two groups of bees (foragers) from the same hive were trained to two food sources, one on the shore and one in the middle of a lake. When the food quality was increased at both feeders, both groups of bees danced in the hive to tell the rest of the bees where to get the good food. The bees watching the shore feeder dance went out and ate at the shore feeder. Perhaps the bees watching the lake feeder dance, thought, "Flowers in the middle of a lake? This gal must be nuts," and very few bees went to the lake feeder. So at this point you're thinking those bees just didn't want to fly out over a smelly lake? Well, the thoughtful researchers decided to try the experiment again and moved the lake feeder close to the opposite shore (although still surrounded by plenty of water). That time, the bees seemed to have thought the food source to be in a more plausible spot and, following the dance, lots of bees went to both feeders (Gould, 222).

What About Pain?

But it really doesn't matter anyway, does it? Vegans typically don't judge species based on their intelligence. If it were ok to eat someone because he's dumb, a lot of humans would be in trouble. It must be because bees can't feel pain. But why wouldn't bees feel pain? They are animals with a large nervous system (Snodgrass, 254) capable of transmitting pain signals. And unlike in the case of plants, pain as we know it would be a useful evolutionary feature since bees are capable of moving to avoid it. Which, as far as I'm concerned, is all that matters. Pain must be unpleasant or else it wouldn't work. If common sense isn't good enough, we can always resort to scientific studies that indicate that bees feel pain.

Not being a beekeeper myself, it is hard to say why life would be more painful for kept bees vs. wild bees. The kept bees would seem to have more contact with humans and more bees would die from stinging them. But, again, unless you are a "vegan" who lives on a farm and raises animals with lots of love so you can drink their milk and eat their eggs (??) pain really isn't the issue either.

The Enslavement of Bees

The simple fact is that the bees are enslaved. What? Bees slaves? Yes, bees as slaves. Or it's dominionism, exploitation of nature, human superiority, whatever you like to call it. It's the idea that humans are justified in using all other life forms instrumentally, for our own benefit. As Alice Walker said, "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men." (I would also add that plants and the earth were not made for humans either.) What follows is a look at specifically how honeybees are exploited by humans. Note that this follows precisely the same pattern of animal exploitation that vegans seek to end for other species.

It is important to realize who is keeping these bees. You may have an image in your mind of a man (indeed, 5% of US beekeepers are women (Hoff & Schertz Willett, 10)) with a few hives out in his backyard. While that is in fact the proper image of most beekeepers, most honey comes from full-time factory bee farmers; check out some illustrative charts." that was from if anyone wants to read the rest.

But like everything each to their own and so on... We all draw lines somewhere .. I just can't find a way of honey being ok . Love to all xoxoxo

no more no more Australia Posts: 46
23 22 Apr 2012
For me, regardless of how humane or organic the honey is, as humans we still have no right to exploit the bee's just for our personal pleasure...

Val Val NSW Posts: 339
24 23 Apr 2012
Congrats on going vegan!

I don't eat honey as it is not vegan, its still an animal product

Casper.s2 Casper.s2 SA Posts: 1640
25 23 Apr 2012
yay some information, thanks Vegan lisa ^^

that essay was poor though,
but still raised some interesting points.

i've watched bees servicing the low lipia grass be taken by ants in the riverland...

A. i'm not sure what I can do. if I should help, so I don't.
Or if the bee would survive after anyway. Like bees I save drowning in our pool,
maybe they recoop later but when I see them fly off, they don't look great.

B. lipia isn't a native grass to the riverland... ants probably are native
to a few million years before this grass, who knows, it could be an unnatural occurrence. Not sure if these are native bees though, but the ants seem to exploit it.

C. the point is... i'd say they feel pain, watching them struggle to escape...
when another ant comes past though, you know it is a hopeless struggle
they are cunning... ants. super strong... but rather blind and can get lost.


finding wild honey in our evolution as humans...
was probably one of the key factors into arriving at this point,
it is probably an integral part of our genetic progress/make up.

so I don't think denying involvement in consumption by virtue of intelligence,
is a suitable approach... it comes down into the manner in which we mimic nature,
we see it as cruel, so we are cruel. perspective can be manipulated...
and humans seem to do what is done to them by habit, even against pure will.
there must be a more intelligent and compassionate way we can live with nature

also... we exploit plants, so the person writing this essay should never buy a grafted fruit tree, that is just as sick if not worse.

Vegan-Lisa Vegan-Lisa SA Posts: 164
26 23 Apr 2012
i kinda didnt read each and every single sentence from the site.... i guess i thought the point of the forum was for a newly vegan to understand the whole honey thing etc and so just super quickly chose from two of the first sites i got info from.... but figured it was enough of an explaination...   the vegan definition doesnt necessarily cover everything and i doubt anyone is truly 100% perfect....  a little too complex of a conversation though...  because although we all follow the main parts of veganism there are many other things that then vary from person to person...
such as the honey question... or the palm oil question.... then theres trips the the beauty salon, or the hair salon, then theres flies or mozzies (to kill or not to...), then theres the companies we buy from and this and that.... so many complex areas....... in the end we're all making some really good choices regardless of what we do and do not do... and we're all growing every day.... we have the potential to always do better whether we are omnivores, herbivores, or whatever we are....  me.... im just 'me' and trying to make some good choices, and hoping to make even better ones as the years go on.... happy xoxoxo

Casper.s2 Casper.s2 SA Posts: 1640
27 24 Apr 2012
yeah it is nice to see the ways the natural process is being manipulated.
that is the sort of thing I find lacking in most people's responses/ "arguments".

thanks again ^^ (wasn't being sarcastic)

Vegan-Lisa Vegan-Lisa SA Posts: 164
28 24 Apr 2012
casper perhaps if you can be bothered you could post a link to an essay (not your own) that you do believe to be correct.....  an essay the general public would be able to understand aswell... id be interested to read this other point of view..i just dont understand yours (u clearly have a much much higher IQ than i do and it would be an interesting read if in simple explanation)  ?? xo

Casper.s2 Casper.s2 SA Posts: 1640
29 24 Apr 2012

no what i'm saying is the information you provided is great....
thanks for sharing it, the information you posted is what most people lack when looking for a reason not to eat honey. those are some pretty terrible facts you came up with, in that they are blatant exploitation of lives' will by virtue of practice.

but I had to say the essay half wasn't great... it raised good points...
but was far too opinionated to be valuable, in the same context.

I can't remember where exactly but there was the "bees feeling pain blah blah or if this
neutral example of bees feeling pain because of an ineffectual dance doesn't sway you,
you can just look at the pure scientific facts.. such as... *goes on to express own opinion*"
et ceterah

anyway, thanks again

Ashlyn Ashlyn WA Posts: 104
30 24 Apr 2012
Anon said:
Not many people realise that the extraction of honey from bees is just as horrible and cruel as any other form of cruelty that we see, such as factory farming, etc. After honey is extracted it is replaced with a crappy alternative, sugar syrup or the like. Bees cannot tolerate it. They have problems conceiving, and any babies they do have, they are at risk of horrible problems/birth defects. Honey is not only important as a source of food, but it's important to the survival of their species, and as we all know bees are a very important part of our ecosystem. Without them, we would have no flowers, no life really.
I'm sure we've all seen Bee Movie...?
im vegan and dont eat honey, but just so you know bees aren't important for our ecosystem.these bees are feral to Australia, we have natives bees here, but the feral bee takes every chance they have for survival.they also steal hollow logs which our native birds need to nesting...

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