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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!

I actually like agave better than honey.  Honey is too sweet for me.  I've never tried brown rice syrup, I will try that soon.

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I'm not sure where I stand on the bee/honey debate right now, but I'm a huge fan of agave nector.  I've used it in recipes that have called for honey, drizzle it on oatmeal, used it in plain soy yogurt to sweeten it up and love it!

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I think the discussion here is interesting and is exactly the type of thing I want to include in a massive update & revision of the Why Honey is Not Vegan site at Vegetus.org. If you want to support this update, please click the image below to learn more about this project. Thanks!

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I keep getting asked if I'm "one of those WEIRD vegans who doesn't eat honey"

That bothers me.  Because IMO and from my research,

vegan= plant based diet+lifestyle
Bees= not plants
thus: honey (non-plant by product)= not vegan.  I mean, I can't see the difference between using honey and trying to say it's vegan, and using silk and trying to say it's vegan.  Both are insect by products, yet I have not yet heard of a debate that argues silk being vegan.

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vegan= plant based diet+lifestyle
Bees= not plants
thus: honey (non-plant by product)= not vegan.  I mean, I can't see the difference between using honey and trying to say it's vegan, and using silk and trying to say it's vegan.  Both are insect by products, yet I have not yet heard of a debate that argues silk being vegan.

Exactly. They are both products from animals.

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I keep getting asked if I'm "one of those WEIRD vegans who doesn't eat honey"

And here we have one of the reasons it took so bloody long to finally make up my mind and stop eating honey.

Both are insect by products, yet I have not yet heard of a debate that argues silk being vegan.

I think it's a little easier to try and justify honey because while silk is obviously and necessarily produced by killing the silkworms, honey production does not directly involve dropping bees into hot water. Same reason some people are ethically okay with milk but not meat - though from a vegan pov, neither is great.

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I don't think Honey is vegan.

In Tasmania, at the forest blockade people would always drop off honey.
There are a group of people who relocate bees from coupes that are to be logged, and then donate the honey to the blockade.
I don't really have a moral objection to that, because the bees can't go back to the hive and it's just gonna get felled/napalmed come logging season.

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Here was my reason (when I ate honey) to support vegans eating honey...

http://www.npr.org/search/index.php?searchinput=honey+bee+decline

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4707990

Here is a list of some things bees are largely  responsible for providing you...
FORAGE AND LEGUME:

    *
      Alfalfa
    *
      Buckwheat Clover (numerous varieties)
    *
      Sweet clover (numerous varieties)
    *
      Lespedeza (bush)
    *
      Trefoil
    *
      Vetches

FRUIT CROPS:

    * Apple
    * Apricot
    * Avocado
    * Berry (blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, gooseberry, huckleberry, raspberry, strawberry)
    * Carambolo
    * Cherry
    * Citron
    * Citrus (grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, nectarine, pummelo, tangelo, tangerine)
    * Currants
    * Dewberry
    * Jujube
    * Kiwi
    * Litchi
    * Mango
    * Muskmelons (cantaloupe, casaba, crenshaw, honeyball, honeydew, persian melon)
    * Passion Fruit
    * Peach
    * Pears
    * Persimmon
    * Plum
    * Prune
    * Watermelon

VEGETABLE CROPS:

    * Artichoke
    * Chinese cabbage
    * Pimenta
    * Asparagus
    * Dill
    * Pumpkin
    * Broccoli
    * Eggplant
    * Radish
    * Brussel sprouts
    * Garlic
    * Rutabaga
    * Cabbage
    * Kale
    * Sapote
    * Carrots
    * Kolhrabi
    * Squash
    * Cauliflower
    * Leek
    * Turnip
    * Celeriac
    * Mustard
    * Celery
    * Onion
    * Chayote
    * Parsley
    * Chicory
    * Pepper
    * Lima beans
    * Collards
    * Cucumber

NUT CROPS:

    * Almond
    * Coconut
    * Cacao
    * Coffee
    * Cashew
    * Kola nut
    * Chestnut
    * Macademia

OILSEED CROPS:

    * Cotton
    * Rape
    * Safflower
    * Soybeans
    * Sunflower
    * Tung

HERBS/SPICES:

    * Annise
    * Allspice
    * Chives
    * Cinnamon
    * Coriander
    * Fennel
    * Lavender
    * Mint
    * Mustard
    * Nutmeg
    * Oregano

OTHER:

    * Berseem
    * Cicer milkvetch
    * Cut flower seeds
    * Longan
    * Lotus
    * Niger
    * Quinine
    * Sainfoin
When they were in decline, i found it extremely difficult to bitch about honey consumption. The more the merrier was an understatement.

I don't eat it now though, but I would never treat someone like less of a vegan for supporting an" industry" that is so so important to my being a vegan.

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But we don't have to collect honey in order for this pollination to occur. It's like saying that, since methane gas holds promise for being clean-burning energy, we should support the meat industry, since cows are such a potent source of methane.

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I totally agree. ;)b

I don't eat honey, but I don't disagree with beekeepers in the same way I disagree with dairy farming. The justification for eating honey was a lot easier to make when the bee shortage was taking place. This was kind of a dire situation, if anyone remembers.

I don't really feel all that passionate about it either way. My personal decision to refrain from honey really comes down to the fact that it is, like it or not, an animal product. However, I would not chastise someone for arguing another opinion on it.

Being a vegan entails a lot of social responsibility, not just through diet, but through concern and awareness of so many other things around you.  A well-informed person with a POSITIVE motive for doing something is hardly something I am capable of outwardly criticizing.

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agave nectar is an amazing option.

soooo right! amazingly delicious. :)>>>

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Ok- full disclosure: food ethics are very important to me, but I may define this term differently than most here... only about 95% vegan, so maybe take this with a grain of garlic sea-salt, so to speak!...

I don't think that eating without using honey is terribly hard to do, and I hardly ever eat it; BUT I think it's the case that consuming honey from small-scale local organic beekeepers is NOT ethically the same thing as consuming meat/ dairy/ battery-hen eggs... I also (long ago) had pet hens that came running when I called them and liked to sit on my lap for human/ bird preening time; they laid abundant non-fertilized eggs, which I felt no conscience-pricks about consuming. In each case, (assuming you know your honey-producer and they follow best ethical practices), the animal has a reasonable quality of life, and protection from habitat destruction/ predators that would otherwise threaten them... symbiosis is not the same as taking advantage.

Environmentally, the effects of small scale honey production are NOTHING like factory farming of meat & dairy; from a health perspective, the adverse effects of animal fat/ animal protein consumption (heart disease/ stroke/ cancer/ alzheimers/ arthritis/ diabetes/ etc etc etc) are not linked to honey consumption, according to what I've read over the years. I absolutely object to the unethical & destructive practices of the big corporate honey producers, and would not support them... and I respect the view that taking honey violates principles against stealing work-product of another species. But I don't think it's a  sustainable position to say that honey consumption is equivalent to meat/ dairy/ etc. It's overall impact is clearly not the same.

Ethical decisions aren't always black and white... Earth Balance uses palm oil, which causes rain forest destruction to the point of endangering several species within the last few years-- so is it still vegan? How much nonrenewable fossil fuel was used to get my vegan sugar processed & brought a thousand miles to me, vs. organic honey from the individually-owned farm down the block? Production of non-organic fruit & veg uses heavy pesticides and GMOs that have a negative impact on all the animals in the farms' whole ecosystems, for miles & miles around; so, if you're not buying organic-only, are you still vegan?! I'm playing devil's advocate here, a little... I don't have the answers to these questions, but think it's stuff that needs thinking about.... my point is that the important thing is to make the best decisions you can, to do the least harm you can do... not what you call yourself or whether honey is 'approved' or 'excluded' from a diet named 'vegan.'

I certainly respect the position of "no animal anything;" but I also think that 'ethical eating' doesn't have just one face... people have decide for themselves what to eat and why. I think it can sometimes have a negative effect on getting people to really think about the effects of their food choices, if it's presented judgmentally as, "You can't be a vegan and eat ____!"  To me, 'ethical eating' is a matter of sustaining a respectful and responsible relationship with the world around me... there are lots of yummy things that are not honey, so I'm not a frequent consumer, and am not saying that everyone should go out & eat some honey right away. If someone's goal is veganism, honey clearly doesn't fit; if the goal is sustainable ethical food choices, there may be room for honey, depending on local resources... Either way, I think we should encourage a more-vegan-than-not diet when talking about food ethics with omnis, and not get too wrapped up in absolutism regarding any one food like honey.

Sorry if that got a little rambly!...just wanted to throw in my two cents on this issue.

(That's it, I'm broke now! tee hee)

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Ok- full disclosure: food ethics are very important to me, but I may define this term differently than most here... only about 95% vegan, so maybe take this with a grain of garlic sea-salt, so to speak!...

I don't think that eating without using honey is terribly hard to do, and I hardly ever eat it; BUT I think it's the case that consuming honey from small-scale local organic beekeepers is NOT ethically the same thing as consuming meat/ dairy/ battery-hen eggs... I also (long ago) had pet hens that came running when I called them and liked to sit on my lap for human/ bird preening time; they laid abundant non-fertilized eggs, which I felt no conscience-pricks about consuming. In each case, (assuming you know your honey-producer and they follow best ethical practices), the animal has a reasonable quality of life, and protection from habitat destruction/ predators that would otherwise threaten them... symbiosis is not the same as taking advantage.

Environmentally, the effects of small scale honey production are NOTHING like factory farming of meat & dairy; from a health perspective, the adverse effects of animal fat/ animal protein consumption (heart disease/ stroke/ cancer/ alzheimers/ arthritis/ diabetes/ etc etc etc) are not linked to honey consumption, according to what I've read over the years. I absolutely object to the unethical & destructive practices of the big corporate honey producers, and would not support them... and I respect the view that taking honey violates principles against stealing work-product of another species. But I don't think it's a  sustainable position to say that honey consumption is equivalent to meat/ dairy/ etc. It's overall impact is clearly not the same.

Ethical decisions aren't always black and white... Earth Balance uses palm oil, which causes rain forest destruction to the point of endangering several species within the last few years-- so is it still vegan? How much nonrenewable fossil fuel was used to get my vegan sugar processed & brought a thousand miles to me, vs. organic honey from the individually-owned farm down the block? Production of non-organic fruit & veg uses heavy pesticides and GMOs that have a negative impact on all the animals in the farms' whole ecosystems, for miles & miles around; so, if you're not buying organic-only, are you still vegan?! I'm playing devil's advocate here, a little... I don't have the answers to these questions, but think it's stuff that needs thinking about.... my point is that the important thing is to make the best decisions you can, to do the least harm you can do... not what you call yourself or whether honey is 'approved' or 'excluded' from a diet named 'vegan.'

I certainly respect the position of "no animal anything;" but I also think that 'ethical eating' doesn't have just one face... people have decide for themselves what to eat and why. I think it can sometimes have a negative effect on getting people to really think about the effects of their food choices, if it's presented judgmentally as, "You can't be a vegan and eat ____!"  To me, 'ethical eating' is a matter of sustaining a respectful and responsible relationship with the world around me... there are lots of yummy things that are not honey, so I'm not a frequent consumer, and am not saying that everyone should go out & eat some honey right away. If someone's goal is veganism, honey clearly doesn't fit; if the goal is sustainable ethical food choices, there may be room for honey, depending on local resources... Either way, I think we should encourage a more-vegan-than-not diet when talking about food ethics with omnis, and not get too wrapped up in absolutism regarding any one food like honey.

Sorry if that got a little rambly!...just wanted to throw in my two cents on this issue.

(That's it, I'm broke now! tee hee)

Hits the nail on the head, in my opinion. 8-)

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I really don't care what others do with their diets... but I think if you're going to call yourself a vegan, you should live like one, and to me, honey isn't even CLOSE to being vegan...

Just because it isn't from an animal that is furry or cute, doesn't make it any less of an animal product.  And I personally don't make any exceptions in my diet, for anything animal derived...

BUT, like I said, I don't care what anyone does with their diet.  I'd just RATHER see that, if people are going to say they're a vegan, then to live up to it.  Still, I'm not going to attack anyone if they don't either... I do feel that every bit of effort is a great help, and I would never berate someone for it.
:D

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I agree, on all counts... Veganism is it's own category, and people shouldn't confuse the issue by changing boundaries of the term on a whim! And most veg*ns are really awesome about saying, "This is MY choice, and here's why," rather than berating others for making different (often less healthy/ ethical/ sustainable!) food choices...

I don't think there's a name for my diet... Tanya-ism, maybe? No factory-farmed animal anything; no dairy from any source; chicken or duck eggs ok only if I know the farmer & happy fowl personally; high grocery percentage of local/ organic food; wine, beer, and sugar made without the mammal-bits (ridiculous that this needs to be specified!); nothing that plays, dreams, or cares for it's young; nothing whose central nervous system can be studied in order to learn about mine; nothing which, if I eat it, trashes the land, lake, stream, or sea; nothing for which I can find a more sustainable/ less-harmful-to-the-world-around-me equivalent.

That's a lot to sum up, when people ask what I eat! So I might say something like, 'For the most part, I follow a vegan diet," but I don't say I'm vegan-- though there's a lot of overlap, that wouldn't  be accurate & would just muddy the issue for SAD people trying (hopefully!) to learn about different ways of eating...  I surely wouldn't want to hinder that!

;)

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Why do people come onto a vegan site and talk about eating honey?  It's rude.

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Let's go on a parenting site and talk about eating babies.

I kid, I kid.

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Original posting of this topic was by a vegan, not a honey-eater trying to be rude... If I had to guess, I'd say this discussion of honey was started by someone looking for a 'food fight!' (Go figure!)

26 pages later, it seems like folks have a lot to say about it, so maybe it was a good topic for this forum...

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agave nectar is an amazing option.

soooo right! amazingly delicious. :)>>>

UH YES! I just had my first experience with agave yesterday... I melted a little bit inside...  :)>>>

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Maybe if people didn't revel in their ignorance.  Make a statement, but at least have it be minimally accurate.

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