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Honey

Eating honey is not vegan.

Discuss.

I know this has been talked about many a time on VW, but I would like to be involved in the discussion. If you aren't interested in debating if/why/etc. eating honey is not/is vegan, then don't post!

A lot of vegans are what they are for moral reasons, i.e. cows are kept cooped up in cruel milk/meat factories. Bees, however, are not cows, and I think one would have difficulty arguing that insects of any kind are sentient at all. Bees are allowed to roam freely miles from their hives to feed on wildflowers and the harvesting of the honey does no harm to the actual bee itself. Honey also has certain special properties that nothing else has, such as soothing the throat and never spoiling, ever. I will admit, however, that I'm really biased in this: I eat peanut butter and honey toast most mornings for breakfast.

I can't even begin to comprehend what goes through a bee's "mind". But keep in mind just 2 decades ago, all the misconceptions we've had about fish.  Now we know, for example, that they are complex creatures with their own culture, even, and that they even use tools. I think there's a lot more to life than we understand! But one thing is for sure, if you pin down a bee, poke it with a needle or rip off a wing, I'm sure it feels pain. http://www.vegetus.org/honey/pain.htm

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A lot of vegans are what they are for moral reasons, i.e. cows are kept cooped up in cruel milk/meat factories. Bees, however, are not cows, and I think one would have difficulty arguing that insects of any kind are sentient at all. Bees are allowed to roam freely miles from their hives to feed on wildflowers and the harvesting of the honey does no harm to the actual bee itself. Honey also has certain special properties that nothing else has, such as soothing the throat and never spoiling, ever. I will admit, however, that I'm really biased in this: I eat peanut butter and honey toast most mornings for breakfast.

Did you read the site and disagree? Or you just didn't read?

If one is vegan for ethical, moral, health, or any other reason.....the definition of veganism does not allow for consuming animal products,

Please be informed before you make definitive statements.

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Consider that:

- Most marine biologists now agree that fish feel pain; 50 years ago that was not the case. (Recent studies also show that fish have individual personalities, use tools, play games, and have long-term memories.)

- Two or three generations ago, a majority of scientists thought that non-humans were incapable of emotion; that position has been completely overturned.

- In the 19th century, when the animal experimentation industry started, researchers claimed that animals were automatons; the animals' screams in response to being tortured were merely mechanical sounds.

- Only in the last 10-15 years have scientists in any number concluded that chickens, with far smaller and simpler brains than humans, not only have impressive cognitive skills and a sense of the past and future, but a rich emotional life.

- Recent scientific research supports suspicions that lobsters, crabs, and other crustaceans feel pain.

We have consistently underestimated animals' sentience and, particularly, their capacity for suffering and experiencing emotional states.

http://veganfaq.blogspot.com/2008/04/since-i-cant-prove-to-myself-that-they.html

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Consider that:

- Most marine biologists now agree that fish feel pain; 50 years ago that was not the case. (Recent studies also show that fish have individual personalities, use tools, play games, and have long-term memories.)

- Two or three generations ago, a majority of scientists thought that non-humans were incapable of emotion; that position has been completely overturned.

- In the 19th century, when the animal experimentation industry started, researchers claimed that animals were automatons; the animals' screams in response to being tortured were merely mechanical sounds.

- Only in the last 10-15 years have scientists in any number concluded that chickens, with far smaller and simpler brains than humans, not only have impressive cognitive skills and a sense of the past and future, but a rich emotional life.

- Recent scientific research supports suspicions that lobsters, crabs, and other crustaceans feel pain.

We have consistently underestimated animals' sentience and, particularly, their capacity for suffering and experiencing emotional states.

http://veganfaq.blogspot.com/2008/04/since-i-cant-prove-to-myself-that-they.html

ya, I agree with what you are saying.....

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Yeah, those are all good points about whether insects feel pain.  Also, I think of it this way: take, for example, gas chamber killing of chickens, or any other way that we might raise an animal so that it feels little to no pain throughout it's life (we can think of tons of hypotheticals here).  Would it then be more OK for me to eat a chicken because it was "humanely" raised and painlessly slaughtered?  I don't think so.  So even if bees DON'T feel pain, isn't there a basic reverence for life and disapproval of the commoditization of another animal that vegans betray when they eat honey?  The whole "bees aren't sentient" thing doesn't fly with me.  No pun intended.

And bees are SO ridiculously "intelligent" too.  We have only scratched the surface about the ways they interact, communicate, form communities, etc.  We have absolutely no basis for believing they do not feel pain, and we would be terribly arrogant to make such a claim.  But even if we could be 100% certain they don't, I still don't think that makes eating honey ethical from a vegan perspective.

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Yeah, so it's not technically vegan to eat honey. But is it really so necessary to get angry when "vegans" who eat honey call themselves vegans? What about people who aren't specifically careful about what sugar they use? Wear leather shoes they had before making the switch because they don't want to be wasteful? There are so many "fine line" decisions everyone needs to make for themselves about what is important enough for them to make sacrifices for. If it isn't important to someone to not eat honey because it comes from an insect, it really is unimportant how easy it is to avoid.
As to the rest of the discussion...
Bees don't have a brain, which really separates them from fish. They are "ridiculously intelligent"?  I'm really not so sure. They do a lot of cool behaviors, but they are really just a bunch of inherent neural patterns, saying an animal is intelligent is a really subjective thing and that can open up a huge debate about what intelligence is, how it can be measured, blah, blah, blah. I don't think bees are really intelligent, but I also think that that is irrelevant for this discussion. Fish aren't intelligent either. Still aren't vegan.
Oh- and there is basis for believing they don't feel pain. Note the following:

In the majority of examples of invertebrate nociception noted above, there seems to be little, if any, evidence that the animals’ responses persist in anything akin to the manner described for mammals. As Eisemann et al. (1984) have described in a review of the “biological evidence” concerning pain in insects, “No example is known to us of an insect showing protective behavior towards injured parts, such as by limping after leg injury or declining to feed or mate because of general abdominal injuries. On the contrary, our experience has been that insects will continue with normal activities even after severe injury or removal of body parts.”

Eisemann et al. (1984) use a variety of examples to support this contention, including:
* an insect walking with a crushed tarsus continues “applying it to the substrate with undiminished force”;
* a locust carries on feeding while being eaten by a mantis;
* a tsetse fly, although half-dissected, flies in to feed.

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I don't get angry, of course not, and I don't judge others. And a label is just a label. I ate meat most of my life, and I know I wasn't a bad person.
Just my thoughts at the moment. I just try to be as compassionate as possible, because I feel the world needs much more of it.

Yeah, so it's not technically vegan to eat honey. But is it really so necessary to get angry when "vegans" who eat honey call themselves vegans? What about people who aren't specifically careful about what sugar they use? Wear leather shoes they had before making the switch because they don't want to be wasteful? There are so many "fine line" decisions everyone needs to make for themselves about what is important enough for them to make sacrifices for. If it isn't important to someone to not eat honey because it comes from an insect, it really is unimportant how easy it is to avoid.
As to the rest of the discussion...
Bees don't have a brain, which really separates them from fish. They are "ridiculously intelligent"?  I'm really not so sure. They do a lot of cool behaviors, but they are really just a bunch of inherent neural patterns, saying an animal is intelligent is a really subjective thing and that can open up a huge debate about what intelligence is, how it can be measured, blah, blah, blah. I don't think bees are really intelligent, but I also think that that is irrelevant for this discussion. Fish aren't intelligent either. Still aren't vegan.
Oh- and there is basis for believing they don't feel pain. Note the following:

In the majority of examples of invertebrate nociception noted above, there seems to be little, if any, evidence that the animals’ responses persist in anything akin to the manner described for mammals. As Eisemann et al. (1984) have described in a review of the “biological evidence” concerning pain in insects, “No example is known to us of an insect showing protective behavior towards injured parts, such as by limping after leg injury or declining to feed or mate because of general abdominal injuries. On the contrary, our experience has been that insects will continue with normal activities even after severe injury or removal of body parts.”

Eisemann et al. (1984) use a variety of examples to support this contention, including:
* an insect walking with a crushed tarsus continues “applying it to the substrate with undiminished force”;
* a locust carries on feeding while being eaten by a mantis;
* a tsetse fly, although half-dissected, flies in to feed.

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I fail to see the "fine line" aspect of it.  That's what I still don't get.  How is it a fine line?  Like I said, there isn't a fine line about gas-chamber chickens or the like.  Why here?

And I guess a basis for believing that bees might not feel pain is (a) not good enough ("We're pretty sure they don't, so eat up!") and (b) irrelevant for the reasons I already mentioned.

But seriously, honey is different than wearing out your leather shoes.  That arises from necessity and practicality.  Where is the point in life when a person is like, "Dang!  I understand why people don't eat honey, but gosh darn it, life's not worth living without that spoonful of honey in my tea?"  Come on, it's an easy one.

Same as PK, I'm not going to waste my energy getting angry at someone for eating honey and calling herself vegan.  But it's just all very curious to me.

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To me, the issue of using bees for honey has to do with my anger towards humans thinking they have the right to exploit every freakin thing on the planet....the bees make honey for their own purposes. Humankind just thinks they have the right to take advantage of anything that they can get their hands on and then abuse the hell out of it...arg...

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Eisemann et al. (1984) use a variety of examples to support this contention, including:
* an insect walking with a crushed tarsus continues “applying it to the substrate with undiminished force”;
* a locust carries on feeding while being eaten by a mantis;
* a tsetse fly, although half-dissected, flies in to feed.

Well, let's pretend for a second that the study itself isn't nearly 25 years old and that the age has no influence on the results. (eg subtleties we could not record/detect/know to look for back then)

I just think different animals react to pain different.. and we all have different tolerances, reactions and survival mechanisms. Think of a horse. If a horse gets an upset tummy, it collics and can possible die, because horses can't burp or throw up. Yet humans can get a tummy ache and keep chuggin at their daily life, just like some insects could get a limb ripped off and be OK...

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And also, regardless of levels of pain, I think it's safe to say that bees exhibit the same desire to live that all animals exhibit.  And not for human purposes, like VS said. 

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Yes, but if we stop using the honey, the bees will stop working and all the plants will die. Didn't you see Bee Movie?

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Yes, but if we stop using the honey, the bees will stop working and all the plants will die. Didn't you see Bee Movie?

Is that really what this movie says?
::)

Kinda like how, if we don't milk the cows, their udders will 'splode!  :o

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Yes, but if we stop using the honey, the bees will stop working and all the plants will die. Didn't you see Bee Movie?

Sadly, there's prob. a lot of truth to your statement, because of all the factory bee farming, but the cycle has to end somewhere.

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Luckily, all that's needed to fix the problem is sprinkling some sparkles (pollen?) on the dead trees and they magically come back to life.

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Using/wearing something until it's gone/worn out and continuing to buy/consume/partake in something are two totally different things.
Why should you (any human/other animal) be the one to judge whether a bee (or any other being..) is intelligent/sentient/lively enough to be USED or not? It does make me angry. It makes me angry just as humans thinking it's ok to USE cows, fish, pigs, lobsters...makes me angry. It doesn't make any sense.

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Using/wearing something until it's gone/worn out and continuing to buy/consume/partake in something are two totally different things.
Why should you (any human/other animal) be the one to judge whether a bee (or any other being..) is intelligent/sentient/lively enough to be USED or not? It does make me angry. It makes me angry just as humans thinking it's ok to USE cows, fish, pigs, lobsters...makes me angry. It doesn't make any sense.

Yeah, exactly!  Like we have the right to make some checklist based on whatever criteria we think warrant allowing the animal to live in peace.  We can argue til we are blue in the face about whether bees are sentient.  Irrelevant.  At the end of the day, it's animal exploitation. 

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Yeah, so it's not technically vegan to eat honey. But is it really so necessary to get angry when "vegans" who eat honey call themselves vegans? What about people who aren't specifically careful about what sugar they use? Wear leather shoes they had before making the switch because they don't want to be wasteful? There are so many "fine line" decisions everyone needs to make for themselves about what is important enough for them to make sacrifices for. If it isn't important to someone to not eat honey because it comes from an insect, it really is unimportant how easy it is to avoid.
As to the rest of the discussion...
Bees don't have a brain, which really separates them from fish. They are "ridiculously intelligent"?  I'm really not so sure. They do a lot of cool behaviors, but they are really just a bunch of inherent neural patterns, saying an animal is intelligent is a really subjective thing and that can open up a huge debate about what intelligence is, how it can be measured, blah, blah, blah. I don't think bees are really intelligent, but I also think that that is irrelevant for this discussion. Fish aren't intelligent either. Still aren't vegan.
Oh- and there is basis for believing they don't feel pain. Note the following:

In the majority of examples of invertebrate nociception noted above, there seems to be little, if any, evidence that the animals’ responses persist in anything akin to the manner described for mammals. As Eisemann et al. (1984) have described in a review of the “biological evidence” concerning pain in insects, “No example is known to us of an insect showing protective behavior towards injured parts, such as by limping after leg injury or declining to feed or mate because of general abdominal injuries. On the contrary, our experience has been that insects will continue with normal activities even after severe injury or removal of body parts.”

Eisemann et al. (1984) use a variety of examples to support this contention, including:
* an insect walking with a crushed tarsus continues “applying it to the substrate with undiminished force”;
* a locust carries on feeding while being eaten by a mantis;
* a tsetse fly, although half-dissected, flies in to feed.

This is sarcasm?

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Everyone should decide for themselves. What makes it ok for a chimp to judge if an animal can be used? Or a bear that it can eat honey?

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My point is not that people/animals don't have a right to make decisions...chimps and bears aren't calling themselves (that I can hear) vegan, either. Eat whatever you like and live your life...but I am debating the use of a term, and why it is used when it does not apply.

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