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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 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.

Ditto.

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I have some slightly different views than many on this site also…a lot of which I haven’t shared yet. I agree with everything you are say kb. I extended your reasoning to eggs and milk also…. I think it’s acceptable to consume eggs and milk off my grandma’s small farm because I know she treats her animals very well, they are not exploited in any way. For this reason I will never be able to call myself a vegan. I do not however purchase mass market eggs and milk from grocery stores because those cows, chickens, goats, ect are exploited for a profit. I chose to go vegetarian exploitation and suffering of innocent animals is appalling to me.

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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.

I said in my post that I was not debating that honey isn't vegan. And no, I am not compelled to buy a certain cereal, but the matter isn't important enough to me, personally, to care to find an alternative.

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hmpf.

The honey debate is like the abortion debate.  People who think that insects do or don't deserve consideration aren't going to change their minds.  People who are pro- or anti- choice aren't going to change their minds.

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hmpf.

The honey debate is like the abortion debate.  People who think that insects do or don't deserve consideration aren't going to change their minds.  People who are pro- or anti- choice aren't going to change their minds.

humboldt honey is vegan  :)>>>

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I just read though all of this and I must say that quite a good debate is happening here--and without anyone resorting to name calling too! Good job vegwebbers!

I find the debate interesting, as a relatively new vegan (got 1 year down :) ) I was under the impression for several months that honey was personal choice in the vegan diet, I really didn't think anything of it and continued to eat honey. Like many people I didn't know much about the farming of bees and honey production--I had the notion that bees, even farmed bees were relatively free given the fact they were allowed to leave the hive. Boy was I wrong! Farmed bees are horribly treated--bees have a very specific work and life cycle and farmed bees are worked completely out of sync with this. From the studies I have read, because of this over working a fairly new phenomenom called Colony Collapse Disorder is happening on a wide spread basis--one day the hive is there the next tday they are all dead and gone! Some people blame anything from cell phones to global warming for the disorder--because working them to death just couldn't be the answer right? Anyways--I think I pretty much agree with the majority on this one honey=seceretions from a living creature. bee's=living creatures. collecting honey and farming bee's=exploition of said living creature. taking honey from wild bee's=stealing a living creatures sustinence. whole thing's pretty uncool.

Here's a little blip about CCD off BBC news--it basically says it's a "big mysterious why they are dying"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZr9ztQPNXA

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There was a pretty good show on Colony Collapse disorder on PBS a few weeks ago, saying that pesticide use was one of the larger contributers, but it alone was not responsible. It also said the cell phone towers was a myth, but that a virus or parasite in the intestine was also weakening them and that, combined with pollution, was leading to the downfall.
What does everyone think of the bees that are carted around for fertilization of all the plants that vegans need to eat? We need this utilization and exploitation of the bees to continue the vegan lifestyle, without it there is no way enough plant material would be produced.
BTW... I think I'm falling a little bit in love with KB. :)>>>

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True that, HH. 

(HH, you're the only true vegan Honey for me!  :-*)
eta: dang, bp!  you beat me to this!

I'm enjoying this debate! 

What miffs me the most, and I think one of the main reasons why this debate started, is when people imply to others that honey is an exception to vegan principles.  It is not.  Like, many of us would be mad if someone, as a representative of veganism (which we all are, like it or not, by being the only vegans among omni's most of the time), said, "Well, I'm vegan, but milk is one of those things I, personally, am not concerned about."  Right?  That's lacto-veg, not vegan.  I don't see why honey should be any different. I am not comfortable drawing that line in the sand that says: "Cows, important; bees, not so much."  And nothing I've heard thus far makes me comfortable making that distinction.  Even if you say you are "not concerned about honey," you are still drawing that line. 

I mean, it's the same old welfarist vs. abolitionist debate here, in essence.  Which is always fun.  :)

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What does everyone think of the bees that are carted around for fertilization of all the plants that vegans need to eat?

 

Eat local.  TALK with your local farmers.  This is not a common practice among small-scale producers.

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I guess I will give my two cents for the sake of a good debate. :)

I guess if you want to base it on a technicality, it wouldn't be considered vegan, but...

I think the reason it has the fine line is because honey is the one thing that you can eat that doesn't create or destroy life.  What I mean by that is the bees are going to make the honey regardless of if they are on a bee farm or not, whereas a cow will only produce milk because a farmer is forcing her to (excluding nursing their young, of course), and the end 'product' (honey) is not a living thing (egg, baby cow / chicken, plant, etc).

Of course, I understand that bees probably die in the process, but what if there were a way to harvest it without injuring the bees or compromising their way of life?
Is it considered vegan to eat vegetables/fruits/grains that killed animals in the cultivation / harvesting process?

I don't agree with exploitation, but man exploits everything on this planet.  Animals, plants, water, rocks, oil, and now apparently wind and solar energy...it's all bought and sold for personal and/or financial gain.

These are just things that I think about.  I haven't gone vegan yet, but I do intend to someday down the line when I'm ready.  And to be perfectly honest, I don't know if I will consume honey when that day comes.  I never really eat it that much anyway already so it probably won't be an issue...

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Well, I am not sure I agree that honey is different from other animal products in the way you say, CK.  An egg is essentially the product of a chicken's menstrual cycle.  Eating an egg doesn't create or destroy life.  Chickens make eggs anyway.  Like, if we had a bunch of wild chickens, they'd still be laying eggs, right?  Granted, we must capture all the chickens in one place to collect the eggs, but same goes for honey.

I could be wrong, so correct me if so.

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I was trying to think of something an insect makes that is comparable, so that we may be able to frame the question in a different light.

So tell me, would you have a problem eating discarded spider webs? What if collected and dried, they were amazing in Stir Fry?

Would it be OK to rob the spiders of their old webs? (The ones they dont live on or use anymore).

I'm sure there's a better insect secretion we could use as an example.

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I was trying to think of something an insect makes that is comparable, so that we may be able to frame the question in a different light.

So tell me, would you have a problem eating discarded spider webs? What if collected and dried, they were amazing in Stir Fry?

Would it be OK to rob the spiders of their old webs? (The ones they dont live on or use anymore).

I'm sure there's a better insect secretion we could use as an example.

I mean, how about silk?  We're talking about worms here.  More akin to insects than, say, cows.

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I was trying to think of something an insect makes that is comparable, so that we may be able to frame the question in a different light.

So tell me, would you have a problem eating discarded spider webs? What if collected and dried, they were amazing in Stir Fry?

Would it be OK to rob the spiders of their old webs? (The ones they dont live on or use anymore).

I'm sure there's a better insect secretion we could use as an example.

I mean, how about silk?  We're talking about worms here.  More akin to insects than, say, cows.

It is interesting that there is not the "debate" over whether or not silk is vegan. Good point, Miss!

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Eh, best I can think of.  I bet there's a better example yet.

But honey-eaters: what do you all think of silk? 

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P.S. If I go MIA from this thread it's because I need to get work done tonight instead of debating on VW.  I'd much rather be here though! :(

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Eh, best I can think of.  I bet there's a better example yet.

But honey-eaters: what do you all think of silk? 

There are countless interesting insect debates. In Seattle I was in a Jewelry shop at Pikes Market and they were selling beautiful butterfly wings that were found by natives in some rain forest somewhere. The butterflies were collected after they died naturally, and then their wings were covered with glass and made into a necklace. It was a non-profit and money went back to preserving the natural habitate of the butterflies that were still alive, as well as to the local villages, and rain forest conservation groups. As a vegan, would you feel it OK to buy this product as a gift for someone?

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I think the reason it has the fine line is because honey is the one thing that you can eat that doesn't create or destroy life.  What I mean by that is the bees are going to make the honey regardless of if they are on a bee farm or not, whereas a cow will only produce milk because a farmer is forcing her to (excluding nursing their young, of course), and the end 'product' (honey) is not a living thing (egg, baby cow / chicken, plant, etc).

Hens will lay eggs regardless of whether there's anyone there to collect them.

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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.

I don't see any problem with that sentence either. If it's important to call yourself Christian..then shouldn't it be important to BE Christian, and follow the principle of Christianity?
I mean..shouldn't it? Believe me..I'm sure I understand your thoughts on religion...but isn't that one of the huge problems? So many people calling themselves Christian, and not BEING Christian. Isn't that what's important about...anything? If I feel strongly about something...and it's important to me..I'm definitely going to do the best I possibly can to align myself with that..something. I guess if that makes me dogmatic, then I'm definitely dogmatic about veganism.

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Eh, best I can think of.  I bet there's a better example yet.

But honey-eaters: what do you all think of silk? 

There are countless interesting insect debates. In Seattle I was in a Jewelry shop at Pikes Market and they were selling beautiful butterfly wings that were found by natives in some rain forest somewhere. The butterflies were collected after they died naturally, and then their wings were covered with glass and made into a necklace. It was a non-profit and money went back to preserving the natural habitate of the butterflies that were still alive, as well as to the local villages, and rain forest conservation groups. As a vegan, would you feel it OK to buy this product as a gift for someone?

I wouldn't buy it.  Is it the most terrible thing in the world?  No.  But I wouldn't feel comfortable using an animal as jewelry.  I might even just give them money for their mission directly, if the occasion arose.  I can still stay true to veganism and support a good cause at the same time.  Interesting question, PK!  You're making us all think.  :)

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