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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!

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?

The label is NOT important to me (see my previous post that Ranu just quoted).  I guess it's easiest to say that I'm vegan because other than honey, I do follow vegan principles.  I'm not just "making an exception" for honey.  It's not that I don't think bees are important (I think I've said multiple times that I don't buy honey from commercial honey producers because I think their practices are unethical--how is that thinking that bees aren't important?).  It's just that I don't think local, small scale honey production is harmful to the bees because 1) they still get to eat their honey and not be fed sugar and 2) they aren't being shipped all over.  But others, I'm sure, also wouldn't agree with my opinion that if all dairy/egg producers allowed their animals to roam free and live their lives as normally as domesticated animals can, then I would have absolutely no problem with people consuming dairy and eggs.  I guess I'm just going to shy away from the term vegan because I feel like others think that this philosophy undermines veganism and somehow makes their veganism less significant.  Even though labels don't matter, I'm going to stick with "strict vegetarian" until a proper term for "person who doesn't eat meat/dairy/eggs/any derivitive thereof but eats locally produced honey" comes around.  

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?

Replace "vegan" and "veganism" with "Christian" and "Christianity", respectfully, and maybe you'll see how I think this concept of veganism is dogmatic.

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Yeah, I definitely see where you are coming from, kb.  What we have is just a fundamental difference in beliefs in terms of animal rights.  I don't agree that cow's milk is for human consumption regardless of whether the animals are free or captive.  So yeah, there's not much more to say there.  And I definitely respect your choice to say "strict vegetarian."  I actually think it's a more powerful statement for animal welfare to say--"I'm strict vegetarian" and then elaborate, if need be, that you have problems with dairy and eggs, than to say "I'm vegan" and have there be a bunch of caveats.  As people who have these discussions all the time, WE know what vegan means, but others generally don't.

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Bees are sentient beings like cows, chickens, dogs, etc.  To me, it's wrong to exploit them.  That being said, an apian-vegan(?) contributes to far less cruelty that someone who eats dairy/eggs/meat.

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Bees are sentient beings like cows, chickens, dogs, etc.  To me, it's wrong to exploit them.  That being said, an apian-vegan(?) contributes to far less cruelty that someone who eats dairy/eggs/meat.

I'm not convinced of their sentience nor of their exploitation by small honey farms.  Any (objective) information available to convince me otherwise would be much appreciated  :) 

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Exploitation: use or utilization, esp. for profit.

Yeah?  ???

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KB - The info I can find online regarding bees sentient-status is all from vegan-based websites and therefore, IMHO, biased.  I think HH has more info about bees and their 'personalities' from research.  ;)b

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I do like the idea of calling myself strict vegetarian instead of vegan. Because it's a reminder that we can always be doing more to help out the animals!

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Exploitation: use or utilization, esp. for profit.

Yeah?  ???

So are all employees being exploited?  What about therapy dogs and their trainers who make money when people purchase a therapy dog (no matter how small the sum)?  I think we all know that exploitation requires some sort of abuse and not simply use.  Ex. Resource use vs. resource exploitation.  Just because we use land for farming, for example, does not mean we are exploiting the land.  Yeah?   ???

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KB - The info I can find online regarding bees sentient-status is all from vegan-based websites and therefore, IMHO, biased.  I think HH has more info about bees and their 'personalities' from research.   ;)b

This is why I'm yet to be convinced because I can't find info from non-vegan websites.  We'll see if HH chimes in with some info!  Thanks!  :)

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An employee works at her own will.  If she were not employed at her own will, that would be exploitation.  We cannot get a bee's consent to use its honey as we please.  That's how it is exploitation.

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I do like the idea of calling myself strict vegetarian instead of vegan. Because it's a reminder that we can always be doing more to help out the animals!

I like this as well.  I don't like that some feel "entitled" to the label while others are not because no one is (or can be) a perfect vegan.  Perhaps veganism is something to strive for but something that no one can obtain simply because it's impossible to be perfect?  Like the holy grail of compassion or something...

An employee works at her own will.  If she were not employed at her own will, that would be exploitation.  We cannot get a bee's consent to use its honey as we please.  That's how it is exploitation.

But we agree that exploitation is not simply use, correct, but instead implies some sort of abuse?  Because even if an employee is there of her own will, she is still being "used" by her employer for profit, no?

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Exploitation: use or utilization, esp. for profit.

Yeah?  ???

So are all employees being exploited?  What about therapy dogs and their trainers who make money when people purchase a therapy dog (no matter how small the sum)?  I think we all know that exploitation requires some sort of abuse and not simply use.  Ex. Resource use vs. resource exploitation.  Just because we use land for farming, for example, does not mean we are exploiting the land.  Yeah?   ???

Well, humans have to consent to work, otherwise it's considered slavery...

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No one mentioned anything about therapy dogs...last time I checked, dogs couldn't give consent to be "used" either and few would object to the use of therapy dogs.  I'm just trying to emphasize that use, in and of itself, is not necessarily bad (regardless of consent) as long as the used party is not suffering.  IMHO, of course...

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But we agree that exploitation is not simply use, correct, but instead implies some sort of abuse?  Because even if an employee is there of her own will, she is still being "used" by her employer for profit, no?

To me, it means that you are using another being to make a profit in a way that robs that individual of her right to self-determination, I guess.  It is abusive in that sense.  Fair enough.  We have to be specific about the abuse.  It could be physical abuse, but it could also be an abuse of power.  

Like, for lack of a better example, I might train an army of five-year-olds to assist me in my money-making scheme for global domination.  Even if I never, ever bring them physical harm, emotional harm, etc.--even if I treat them like royalty--I would still be exploiting them because they do not have the capacity, at that age, to communicate that they desire to be pawns in my business.  That's what I think of as exploitation.

Not that I have an army of five-year-olds, though.  I only use babies in my world domination schemes.  ;D

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But we agree that exploitation is not simply use, correct, but instead implies some sort of abuse?  Because even if an employee is there of her own will, she is still being "used" by her employer for profit, no?

To me, it means that you are using another being to make a profit in a way that robs that individual of her right to self-determination, I guess.  It is abusive in that sense.  Fair enough.  We have to be specific about the abuse.  It could be physical abuse, but it could also be an abuse of power.  

Like, for lack of a better example, I might train an army of five-year-olds to assist me in my money-making scheme for global domination.  Even if I never, ever bring them physical harm, emotional harm, etc.--even if I treat them like royalty--I would still be exploiting them because they do not have the capacity, at that age, to communicate that they desire to be pawns in my business.  That's what I think of as exploitation.

Not that I have an army of five-year-olds, though.  I only use babies in my world domination schemes.  ;D

Agreed.  Using five year olds for world domination could be exploitation.  But I guess if they still got to be five year olds and have normal five year old lives, then I wouldn't have a problem with that (does that make me a horrible person?). 

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I think that part of the issue also involves acceptable substitutes.  Obviously, we have great substitutes for dairy, eggs, meat, and honey.  Therapy dogs don't have an equivalent substitution (do they?  ???).  Driving a car with rubber tires is another example.  When I live in a city, I can walk basically everywhere.  In the sticks, where we do not have public transit or safe walking areas I must drive a car.  There isn't a manufacturer I know of that offers cruelty-free tires.  FWIW, DH eats granola that has honey as the next-to-last ingredient.  To me, that is still 100x better than the meat and cheese guy he was a few years ago.  I don't make it an issue.  Now, if he started doing honey shots after dinner or something...

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I think that part of the issue also involves acceptable substitutes.  Obviously, we have great substitutes for dairy, eggs, meat, and honey.  Therapy dogs don't have an equivalent substitution (do they?  ???).  Driving a car with rubber tires is another example.  When I live in a city, I can walk basically everywhere.  In the sticks, where we do not have public transit or safe walking areas I must drive a car.  There isn't a manufacturer I know of that offers cruelty-free tires.  FWIW, DH eats granola that has honey as the next-to-last ingredient.  To me, that is still 100x better than the meat and cheese guy he was a few years ago.  I don't make it an issue.  Now, if he started doing honey shots after dinner or something...

There are alternatives to everything when you get down to the nitty gritty.  I mean, if you choose to live in the country then you are making a decision to live a life where you will need to drive a car.  I'm not concerned with the nitty gritty, which is why we're having this debate I guess.  When a recipe calls for honey, I use maple syrup or agave nectar as a substitute.  If there is a vegan bread with honey and one without, I will choose the one without.  If I'm out at a restaurant and there aren't honey-free options, I'll eat the honey.  For example, there is a pizza place here in town that is extremely veg-friendly (lots of toppings to choose from and they even have FYH mozzerella!).  However, their crust has honey in it.  I will eat that.  When suddenly my body decided to have an allergic reaction to whatever the heck was flying around in the Colorado air, I reached for the honey instead of Benedryl.  I think substitutions are great and should be used as often as one sees fit, but to me it's a matter of personal choice rather than dogma.

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But we agree that exploitation is not simply use, correct, but instead implies some sort of abuse?  Because even if an employee is there of her own will, she is still being "used" by her employer for profit, no?

To me, it means that you are using another being to make a profit in a way that robs that individual of her right to self-determination, I guess.  It is abusive in that sense.  Fair enough.  We have to be specific about the abuse.  It could be physical abuse, but it could also be an abuse of power.  

Like, for lack of a better example, I might train an army of five-year-olds to assist me in my money-making scheme for global domination.  Even if I never, ever bring them physical harm, emotional harm, etc.--even if I treat them like royalty--I would still be exploiting them because they do not have the capacity, at that age, to communicate that they desire to be pawns in my business.  That's what I think of as exploitation.

Not that I have an army of five-year-olds, though.  I only use babies in my world domination schemes.  ;D

Agreed.  Using five year olds for world domination could be exploitation.  But I guess if they still got to be five year olds and have normal five year old lives, then I wouldn't have a problem with that (does that make me a horrible person?). 

I would have a problem with it.  So I guess we just have to agree to disagree!

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to discount someone's entire effort to have as many actions they can align with veganism.  I think that's great.  And it's great that you choose vegan options whenever possible, in recipes and such.  Can't argue with that!  Again, agree to disagree.  Although I am firm on the stance that honey is not vegan.

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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.

i agree with this wholeheartedly.

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Good debate dudes!  I think my views differ from quite a few on this board, and that's OK (I know mdvegan and I have had to "agree to disagree" on numerous occasions).  Ok, I really need to get camping stuff ready--Josh is getting antsy!  TTFN!

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