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Confused about Insects (honey)

So, I've been vegan for a year. First, let me just say that I went vegetarian for the animals. I went vegan for health reasons.

Here is what I don't understand about being a vegan - why avoid honey? Insects and I get along ... sort of. As long as they stay outside, I leave them alone. But, once they come inside, they will die at my hand. I can't stand them. Especially roaches - those die a very quick death. Mosquitoes - I slap them. I don't slap any bees around because that just gets them agitated and they'll slap me, lol.

I'm in my last year of getting a masters in biology. So, I know that the nerve system of mammals and insects is VERY different. Namely, bugs don't have much of one. So, they don't feel a whole lot of pain. In fact, they lose a leg ... and keep on living with no problems. Unlike with mammals who feel physical pain and emotions, and would not casually walk off a chopped off leg, bugs work differently. 

So, because of my attitude towards bugs (yuck) and because of what I know about them as a biology student, I eat honey. I also only buy organic honey. Although the honeybee population in non-organic honey is declining, this is not true for organic honeybees.

I guess that's my question - why avoid honey? And if you DO avoid honey, do you also avoid killing all bugs? Roaches in the house? Mosquitoes on your arm? That sort of thing.

Just curious.  :)

By the way, I just wanted to add - it's been really nice, being able to discuss this with all of you. Especially you, Cephi.

I know that this is a sensitive and potentially volatile subject, and it's been nice to get everyone's opinions in a mature, respectful way. I'm used to the alternative - knock down, pull out all the punches, violent battles with the other biology majors. We get our kicks from beating each other seneless over issues such as these. ;D (Yes, none of us have lives beyond school, lol.)

So, it's really, really, really nice to be able to discuss this topic this way. It's really opened my eyes to a lot of differing perspectives. Thank you.  :)

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It's interesting to me that there are so many vegans in your biology masters program.  If that's the case, are they vegan because it's the social thing to do?  To clarify, it sounds like you give "vegan" (do the least amount of harm) consideration to Chordata and that's pretty much it, which seems anthropocentric in that you connect with animals that are most like you.  That's very common.  I think we all connect more to things that seem familiar.  If so, your school mates may be following the strict vegetarian diet and don't necessarily understand the principles of a vegan lifestyle.

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Well, the only vegetarians and vegans in the masters program are also those who have the concentration in ecology. Not ALL of them are vegans. But, 8 of us who hang out frequently are. Between those 8 of us, we're divided in two groups: the group that's doing it for environmental reasons and the group that's doing it for the animals.

Our discussions can get pretty wild. But, somehow we always manage to remain friends.

I doubt any of us are doing it because it's the "social" thing to do. Here in Louisiana, we're the freaks!

Like I said, I'm not attached to the vegan label. I understand it's a whole lifestyle thing. My primary concern has always been and is the environment. Without earth, there will be no life.

I just don't have a better name for my diet other than vegan. It's too hard to go to a restaurant and list all the things I don't eat. Whereas I can just say "vegan" and the waiter knows what I'm talking about (most times, at least, lol).

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If you've had these discussions with your classmates, it seems that you had already heard the rationale and were here pot-stirring a bit - but it was an interesting discussion regardless.  That said, I don't care what other people eat. 

In what types of professions do ecologists work?  I guess because it's a biology degree you would qualify for all of the biology type of jobs.  Which employer fields are you interested in - consulting, non-profit, government?  (Although ideally, I think we'd all like to do research for the rest of our lives.)

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If you've had these discussions with your classmates, it seems that you had already heard the rationale and were here pot-stirring a bit - but it was an interesting discussion regardless.  That said, I don't care what other people eat.

I honestly didn't know. It's one thing discussing it with biologists. It's another to discuss with people of other professions. I was genuinely curious. And really did not think this was such a controversial topic at all. When it becomes controversial for my biology group it's based mainly on scientific stuff, mixed in with exploitation. Ethics come into it, but only after the science has been beaten to death over and over. Like I said, the only other couple that I know who eat a vegan diet are real estate agents. And they eat honey. So, I really did think honey was an "optional" choice. Obviously, everything in life is optional in that we have freewill ... but, I thought honey was the one thing that could be an exception to being a vegan. I don't know if I explained that correctly.

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In what types of professions do ecologists work?  I guess because it's a biology degree you would qualify for all of the biology type of jobs.  Which employer fields are you interested in - consulting, non-profit, government?  (Although ideally, I think we'd all like to do research for the rest of our lives.)

Well, there's always teaching and research of course. There's national park jobs, rangers, zoologists, marine biologists/ecologists, writers, non-profit organizations, consultants, - the sky is the limit. If it has anything to do with the environment, or something that's alive, you'll find an ecologist in there.

I'm interested in the writing and non-profit side of it. I'd love to write articles for various magazines, focusing on ecology and sustainability. Fortunately, ecology and sustainability can fit a wide range of magazines. So, I could write on anything from food to design to clothing.  While building up to that, I want to work for a non-profit organization like The Nature Conservancy or The Sierra Club.

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