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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!

And no, everyone should not do what they want, but what they think is right. As I said before, it's not about the difficulty of abstaining from honey, but the importance to someone. That's where the rest of the discussion surfaces. If it's not important to you to not eat honey because of whatever reason (you don't think it's bad for the bees/world, the bees aren't aware of the use, the bees don't feel pain) one wouldn't try very hard to do so. This is where likening it to the use of shoes that one already owns comes in. If it's important to call yourself vegan, you shouldn't wear leather. Regardless of the reason. It's not that difficult to do, why do people that call themselves vegan find it difficult to do so? The same argument can be made.

I like the way you've worded this.  I guess the best comparison I can make is to a religion.  Let's take Christianity, for example.  Lots of people call themselves Christians and their following of the Christian faith is probably different than that of others they attend church with.  They follow the teachings of Christianity that they feel are most important/have the most meaning for them and these are likely different for everyone.  I guess some Christians (who are very, very strict followers) probably frown upon those who aren't as strict (i.e. don't have a gripe with pre-marital sex, baptisms, etc.) and think that this latter group shouldn't call themselves Christian but I think that's unfair.  I also don't think it's good for people to do something/abstain from something just for a label (whether it be Christian or vegan) just because that's what Christians/vegans do/don't do.  Shouldn't there be a reason?  For those who are anti-honey, they see a reason (bee exploitation).  But those vegans who do consume honey don't see it as exploitation.  Should the latter group just not eat honey so they can keep calling themselves vegan even though they don't have any moral issues about it?  I know there isn't as much variance among vegans as among Christians, but I hope this comparison makes some sort of sense (even if no one agrees with me).

I guess I'm coming at veganism (or perhaps I should start referring to myself as a strict vegetarian since I consume honey on occasion) from an animal welfare perspective rather than one of animal rights.  I don't have a problem with people consuming dairy or eggs from animals that have been treated well and have been allowed to be cows/chickens.  I don't see it as exploitation as long as baby cows still get milk from their mothers (and the extra is taken for humans ).  The honey I buy on occasion is from local Colorado honey producers who take the extra honey (and aren't feeding their bees a diet of pure corn syrup/sugar water).  I, personally, don't have a problem with this.  Now, commercial honey production is another story because I feel that this exploitation is wrong (because the bees can't themselves consume the fruits of their labor).  Same with commercial dairy/egg production.  

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Thanks for everyone's input! I'll reply to your comment, kb, when I'm not sleepy!

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Thanks for everyone's input! I'll reply to your comment, kb, when I'm not sleepy!

Haha, yeah, I should be heading to bed here soon too.  We still have to get camping stuff ready...blergh...if I don't reply to you, it's because I'm in the mountains.  Will be back Wednesday...happy honey debating!

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I just got to kbuette's post when I realized I need to sleep before I go through it.

I studied bees in college.  We had a hive.  When shutting the hive after opening it, bees would be squashed, so the killing of bees is involved with the collection of honey.  How does that fit into this discussion?

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Eating honey=bad.

We used to have bumble bees that lived in our front yard.  They're gone this year.  :'(

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Did someone eat their honey?

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we should just make a new term for people who eat honey, but are otherwise vegan.  :P

like..... honey-vegan.

I think that would resolve everyone's dilemma.

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Is everyone aware that crop yield would drop dramatically if bees were not dragged around the country to fertilize plants? It's not eating an animal product, but the animals are being used just the same.

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we should just make a new term for people who eat honey, but are otherwise vegan.  :P

like..... honey-vegan.

I think that would resolve everyone's dilemma.

I've heard "beegan" before.

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I would also like to add that I feel that if vegans feel forced to not consume products from insects (whether or not they agree) that it makes veganism a sort of dogma rather than a sort of philosophy, if that makes sense.  There are so many non-vegan things out there that we all partake in.  I don't find honey to be of great moral significance, for me.  However, as we've discussed on other threads on the board, people work at non-veg*n jobs (be they in fast food restaurants, retail stores that sell products made in sweat shops--which includes most major clothing retailers, animal research positions, etc.), purchase items that were not produced in compassionate ways (i.e. non-fair trade sugar, bananas, chocolate, coffee, etc.), etc.  For me, it's important to work at a job that I feel lines up with my life philosophies (of which veganism is a large part) and try to buy products that were obtained fairly since humans are also animals and deserve to live lives free from suffering.  I feel like these are just as central to veganism (for me) as abstaining from meat/dairy/egg consumption.  Honey consumption, well, that's just not up on the list for me because I don't think that it holds the grand moral significance that others do.  And that's fine. Like I said before, my veganism stems from a welfare position rather than one of rights since I only purchase local honey (from producers who are not exploiting their bees, from my perspective).  I think it's OK to have different perspectives on that.  Maybe there does need to be another term, and I would be OK with that as well.  Except I think it gets to be confusing to have so many terms when the big debate is over honey.  

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I think you are vegan, it's good with me if you want to call yourself one. ;)b

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I think you are vegan, it's good with me if you want to call yourself one. ;)b

See, I really don't care whether or not I'm technically "vegan" I guess.  If occasional local honey consumption isn't vegan ( by whatever definition is most widely accepted), then I won't define myself as that if people are offended by that.  It's the deeper philosophy of lessening animal suffering of veganism that I appreciate.  Since I'm not convinced that non-intensive honey production causes suffering, then honey avoidance doesn't fall in line with my philosophy.  I mean, this could be compared to the pet food debate as well.  Feeding my cats a vegan diet would impose less suffering overall, but since I know that my cats would suffer on a vegan diet, then I choose to avoid causing them intentional suffering (because I see it as intentional when I know it's not best for them).  That doesn't fall in line with others' philosophies.  That's fine.  I just don't like when veganism becomes dogmatic because that's a big turnoff for me and why I've never been a part of organized religion.

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Did someone eat their honey?

Was that to me?  No.  But you'd collect honey the same way.

If someone has hay fever enough to take an OTC or prescription medication and eating local raw honey alliviates that need, I'm okay with eating honey in that case (not that you need my approval).  Any medication like that involves animal testing, so you break even there.

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I like the way you've worded this.  I guess the best comparison I can make is to a religion.  Let's take Christianity, for example.  Lots of people call themselves Christians and their following of the Christian faith is probably different than that of others they attend church with.  They follow the teachings of Christianity that they feel are most important/have the most meaning for them and these are likely different for everyone.  I guess some Christians (who are very, very strict followers) probably frown upon those who aren't as strict (i.e. don't have a gripe with pre-marital sex, baptisms, etc.) and think that this latter group shouldn't call themselves Christian but I think that's unfair.  I also don't think it's good for people to do something/abstain from something just for a label (whether it be Christian or vegan) just because that's what Christians/vegans do/don't do.  Shouldn't there be a reason?  For those who are anti-honey, they see a reason (bee exploitation).  But those vegans who do consume honey don't see it as exploitation.  Should the latter group just not eat honey so they can keep calling themselves vegan even though they don't have any moral issues about it?  I know there isn't as much variance among vegans as among Christians, but I hope this comparison makes some sort of sense (even if no one agrees with me).

I guess I'm coming at veganism (or perhaps I should start referring to myself as a strict vegetarian since I consume honey on occasion) from an animal welfare perspective rather than one of animal rights.  I don't have a problem with people consuming dairy or eggs from animals that have been treated well and have been allowed to be cows/chickens.  I don't see it as exploitation as long as baby cows still get milk from their mothers (and the extra is taken for humans ).  The honey I buy on occasion is from local Colorado honey producers who take the extra honey (and aren't feeding their bees a diet of pure corn syrup/sugar water).  I, personally, don't have a problem with this.  Now, commercial honey production is another story because I feel that this exploitation is wrong (because the bees can't themselves consume the fruits of their labor).  Same with commercial dairy/egg production. 

It's a bit hard for me to understand/elaborate on the Christianity comparison..b/c I have a hard time understanding Christianity, but I understand what you are saying. Like it's an interpretation thing....but that's what I don't like about religion..and I definitely don't think that applies to veganism. I understand that you (and some others) don't have a problem with consuming honey..and that's definitely your choice (of course), but what I don't understand..and was trying to get at, is why did it become "ok" for vegans to consume honey. Like, why is honey considered to be one of those "fine line" things? It's not. It's a product from an animal.  Being ok with, and continuing to purchase/consume honey is different than using up/wearing out products one purchased before becoming vegan. I have said this. SO, I understand what everyone is getting at..........but I still do not get why eating honey and veganism were ever combined..
When I first went vegan, I also was unsure about honey..b/c I was unaware (just as I was about the dairy industry when I was l/o vegetarian for 9 years). BUT, after I researched it and spoke with a person who does research on bees...I made my informed decision and realized that eating honey is definitely not vegan. Ok, you all who eat honey seem to have read some facts, have made your decisions, and we don't even seem to be disagreeing that eating honey is not vegan................but I still see a disconnect.
I don't want it to seem as if I'm pointing fingers and saying YOU, YOU, YOU, and definitely YOU have got to stop calling yourself vegan, but I just wanted to try to grasp why vegans ever thought it was vegan to eat honey. Bottom line really for me is, if it's important to call yourself vegan..then shouldn't it be important to BE vegan, and follow the principle of veganism? "Vegan" and eating honey......(to me) seems to say "ok, bees aren't really that important (for whatever reason)...we can do with them what we wish." 

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I would also like to add that I feel that if vegans feel forced to not consume products from insects (whether or not they agree) that it makes veganism a sort of dogma rather than a sort of philosophy, if that makes sense.  There are so many non-vegan things out there that we all partake in.

There's no doubt about that, but we have to do the best we can. It's easy to avoid honey, a bit more difficult to, say, tell the Doctor no to those meds that were tested on animals that he's about to give you  because you're unconscious after a car accident, or to avoid swallowing that bug that flies into your mouth when you're running. It's about conscious choice.
Like, when I'm living in the rain forest, in a tree house built out of found material and completely off the grid, eating food grown in the community garden... yeah, I'm going to consider myself vegan. I changed my life to fit my beliefs so that I can minimize any animal exploitation - known or unknown!

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I would also like to add that I feel that if vegans feel forced to not consume products from insects (whether or not they agree) that it makes veganism a sort of dogma rather than a sort of philosophy, if that makes sense.  There are so many non-vegan things out there that we all partake in.  I don't find honey to be of great moral significance, for me.

See, we are opposites.  To me, choosing to eat honey when you subscribe to the greater philosophy of veganism makes the actions of vegans seem like unfounded "rules" that are arbitrary and optional, rather than behaviors which align to a philosophy.  And that's why I think honey is of great moral significance.  If we say, "This is OK for some animals, and not for others--cows are significant, and bees are not significant," then we betray the basic foundational principles of veganism.

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See, I really don't care whether or not I'm technically "vegan" I guess.  If occasional local honey consumption isn't vegan ( by whatever definition is most widely accepted), then I won't define myself as that if people are offended by that.  It's the deeper philosophy of lessening animal suffering of veganism that I appreciate.  Since I'm not convinced that non-intensive honey production causes suffering, then honey avoidance doesn't fall in line with my philosophy.  I mean, this could be compared to the pet food debate as well.  Feeding my cats a vegan diet would impose less suffering overall, but since I know that my cats would suffer on a vegan diet, then I choose to avoid causing them intentional suffering (because I see it as intentional when I know it's not best for them).  That doesn't fall in line with others' philosophies.  That's fine.  I just don't like when veganism becomes dogmatic because that's a big turnoff for me and why I've never been a part of organized religion.

Hooray to all of this. Who cares about the label, just do what you think is right and best.

Oh-HH, the someone eating their honey was to MDVegan. Most of the bee death is from a combo of pesticides, and a bunch of other environmental changes.

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There's no doubt about that, but we have to do the best we can. It's easy to avoid honey, a bit more difficult to, say, tell the Doctor no to those meds that were tested on animals that he's about to give you  because you're unconscious after a car accident, or to avoid swallowing that bug that flies into your mouth when you're running.
Like, when I'm living in the rain forest, in a tree house built out of found material and completely off the grid, eating food grown in the community garden... yeah, I'm going to consider myself vegan. I changed my life to fit my beliefs so that I can minimize any animal exploitation - known or unknown!

Yeah, exactly.  Why WOULDN'T you avoid honey if we all agree that it's not vegan?  I guess this is the train of thought I don't follow:

1) I value my ability to identify as vegan.  The philosophy of veganism is important to me.
2) I understand that eating honey is not vegan.
3) Nevertheless, even though eating honey is not vegan, and veganism is important to me, I do not have a problem with eating honey.

Like, I don't understand the logic.  If the label's not important to you, don't use it.  If it IS important to you, why do you eat honey?

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I have mentioned this before in other posts but I call myself vegan basically because I feel that is what best describes me. I do not buy honey, or cook with it. However, sometimes if a natural cereal that I buy is sweetened with honey I don't let that stop me from eating it. I am vegan for health reasons, to live a longer, disease-free life. I don't think that eating some cereal that has honey in it a few times a year is going to interfere with that, but I am not going to tell people "I am a strict vegetarian, no dairy, no eggs, but I eat honey on occasion." Saying that I have a vegan diet is much easier, and I claim it. I don't think anyone is perfect, and we shouldn't worry about what other people do. If someone wants to eat honey and claim that it is vegan, then whatever, it is their business. I am not debating that honey isn't vegan, just in my circumstances, it is such a minuscule part of my life, that I think being 98% animal free is good enough for ME. It is a personal decision how you want to view yourself. IF I was vegan for environmental reasons I would most definitely be more aware of honey consumption and not eat it.

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I have mentioned this before in other posts but I call myself vegan basically because I feel that is what best describes me. I do not buy honey, or cook with it. However, sometimes if a natural cereal that I buy is sweetened with honey I don't let that stop me from eating it. I am vegan for health reasons, to live a longer, disease-free life. I don't think that eating some cereal that has honey in it a few times a year is going to interfere with that, but I am not going to tell people "I am a strict vegetarian, no dairy, no eggs, but I eat honey on occasion." Saying that I have a vegan diet is much easier, and I claim it. I don't think anyone is perfect, and we shouldn't worry about what other people do. If someone wants to eat honey and claim that it is vegan, then whatever, it is their business. I am not debating that honey isn't vegan, just in my circumstances, it is such a minuscule part of my life, that I think being 98% animal free is good enough for ME. It is a personal decision how you want to view yourself. IF I was vegan for environmental reasons I would most definitely be more aware of honey consumption and not eat it.

OK, but what is the big deal about just picking a different cereal?  There are aisles and aisles of cereal. 

Not trying to be a jerk, but I've never felt so strongly compelled to buy cereal or something that I had to throw up my hands go against veganism.  I guess I just can't relate.

You can't claim the act of eating honey is vegan though.  I mean, at the end of the day, you can call yourself vegan or not, consequences be damned, but the act of eating honey is not vegan.

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