Eating honey is not vegan.
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!
FYI, the governor of California is Jerry Brown. Schwarzenegger's term ended in Jan '11.
Hey, I've been wondering about exactly this for some time, so thanks.
I don't go around calling myself "a vegan," instead, I say that I "cook vegan" or "eat vegan." I'm not really moved by animal rights the way that others are, although I understand and respect others being moved by the plight of animals.
I don't think that bees suffer because of beekeeping. I also DO think that bees are intelligent. I actually love bees!! I read some links above claiming that bees aren't such great pollinators, or whatever, but let me tell you, in MY garden, they are the number one pollinator!! I blow them kisses and feel thankful as they go from tomato flower to tomato flower, from cucumber flower to cumcumber flower, from strawberry flower to strawberry flower. And in their place? Fruit!! It's a miracle. I love bees!!
That said, I'm not bothered by people using honey. I don't buy/use any honey myself, mostly because my vegan cookbooks don't call for it! However, there is one exception, and that is the honey that is in almost every brand of graham crackers. When I make a vegan graham cracker crust, it contains honey. I warn everyone who calls herself vegan about it.
The weird thing about me is that, actually, I would be happy if we started EATING INSECTS. It's a lot more sustainable to raise insects than to farm large mammals/birds. It's not that I think they don't have feelings -- I think they do! It's just that I don't actually think it is immoral to eat other creatures. I just don't do it myself because I think it IS immoral to eat stuff that you have no clue where it came from, didn't have to do any of the dirty work, and has a terrible effect on the environment! Not to mention, of course, the miserable lives of the animals. Although that's not my PRIMARY concern, it IS a concern, because I am moral, and I love animals as much as any regular person. But I don't really think it's wrong to, for instance, hunt deer and eat it (which I've never done/eaten). It's just that they lived the best life they could, as free beings, and they are overpopulated because we've killed off all their natural predators. When you kill off the natural predators, you have no choice but the be the last remaining predator -- you actually have a responsibility to do so, awful as it seems. In any case, I DO wish people would fill their animal protein cravings by cooking and eating insects, and I will support it when it begins to happen. Luckily for me, I don't crave animal protein hahahaha!
Eating honey involves the exploitation and use of animals for our own means. It is completely unneccesary when there are so many plant based sweeteners that can provide for us (such as agave, brown rice syrup, stevia leaf, beet sugar, or just the natural sweeteners that fresh fruit provides). The honey issue is on the same level as the "humanely raised organic" chickens someone keeps in their backyard for their eggs. It is still an unnecessary form of exploitation of another animal for our benefit when it is completely unnecessary. We are the only species on earth that keeps and enslaves other animals for our food, entertainment, supplies, etc. To me it is not a gray issue. Consuming honey is not vegan. To me it isnt about an animals feelings or comfort. It is about their right to autonomy over their bodies and what they create that is meant for themselves, just as we give ourselves those same rights (and generally people with any sense of morality are against slavery and exploiting workers too or they should be). Bees work hard to make honey, and hens go through physiological processes to produce eggs. Whether they use them or not it does not matter. They are not ours.
This article sums up some very good reasons to consider when exploring the use of honey and how it impacts bees:
I'm only vegetarian at the minute but I plan on going vegan after I get used to the vegetarianism first - walk before I run etc.
However, it's not because of using animals for food that I'm going vegan. I wouldn't mind using milk, honey, eggs, etc as long as I knew they were freerange and well treated. However I won't be using milk and whatnot because I can't know that for sure. But I'm not sure how harmful it is to bees if we take some honey for them....I'm not knowledgeable on the subject though in fairness.
For example, we have 5 hens at home here. I don't have any problem using their eggs because I know they're well treated, are free to roam our big garden as they please. Basically they're pretty much our little babies - as all of our animals are. So I don't see using their eggs as harmful to them and therefore wouldn't mind.
Commercially produced eggs, milk, etc I wouldn't be using when I go vegan though. Simply because I wouldn't know if those animals were well treated or got to roam around often. Even free range isn't animal friendly because in order to qualify as free range eggs for example, the hens only need to be given 30 - 45 mins outside in fresh air and space. For the rest of the day they could be locked up in tiny cramped spaces.
ps. Some free range I'm sure is honestly concerned with animal friendly practices and treat them well, the problem is that consumers don't know that.
Okay, clicked on one of the above links...did not realise that bees were killed. :(
Also didn't realise that they use the venom from bees sting for treating bee stings.
Also didn't know they were manipulated so thouroughly...
I'm pretty sure smaller farms tend to leave them to do their work naturally and just collect the honey....
On the other hand I don't think honey is going to be something I use much......
I know honey is not vegan and I was never a big honey consumer and quite frankly found the stuff messy and bizarre in that it can be in someone's cabinet forever--but they sneak honey in so many products I get a bit annoyed scanning ingredients to find honey is the only reason why something isn't vegan...I definitely agree that it's not our (humans) place to do what we please with life on this planet, but insects in many cases are pests and it's hard for me to be that conflicted with how they are utilized. Even in cosmetics...but I know bees aren't pests and are a quintessential part of our ecology, however, I have inadvertently killed millions (possibly more) of insects in my life--even bees and it's just conflicting to think that avoiding honey will make much difference or be meaningful to me--but regardless of my annoyances, I am vegan so I don't eat honey.