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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!

Um... ok, sorry to do this, maybe it should be a new thread or something, but this was brought up in chat...
Do people think it's vegan to wear leather shoes if you've already got them? There was some discussion about how it's different than honey, which it is in many ways (bee vs. cow, animal product vs. actual animal, buy vs. already had), but is it vegan? And if one of the concerns is to be portraying a vegan in the proper light to not confuse the world, should you call yourself a vegan and still wear learther?

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Um... ok, sorry to do this, maybe it should be a new thread or something, but this was brought up in chat...
Do people think it's vegan to wear leather shoes if you've already got them? There was some discussion about how it's different than honey, which it is in many ways (bee vs. cow, animal product vs. actual animal, buy vs. already had), but is it vegan? And if one of the concerns is to be portraying a vegan in the proper light to not confuse the world, should you call yourself a vegan and still wear learther?

I myself own 3 pairs of minnetonka leather shoes. I have been vegetarian since I was in the second grade, became vegan (with the exception of greek yogurt) around 12, and bought them somewhere in between. When I was younger I never thought much about the vegan lifestyle as a whole....ex: vegan shoes, clothes, companies, etc. I always just considered it a great way to cut out animal cruelty with my food. Plus, I never liked half the omni food stuffs (meat, cheese, eggs I've never liked). Now that I am much older and have more experience in the world of veg*n, I am much more concious of the choices I make and the products I buy. I don't buy things that are processed on machinery with shellfish and don't buy leather goods. I do wear the shoes occasionally, because I already own them and I do not believe in wasting anything that is already mine. This is the girl who still wears clothes from elementary school (with many adjustments, anyway :P).  If given the choice now I definitely would not purchase them. I have gotten a lot of crap from people who know that im veg*n whenever I wear them, though. "Aren't you vegan? why the hell are you wearing leather shoes then? isn't that a bit hypocritic?" etc, etc. Yes, i would consider it hypocritic if I had just bought them. I hope I don't sounds like I am justifying something cruel to anyone who disagrees with my choice to wear them. I'd like to hear what other people have to say about this, though.

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We've had this discussion before.  I think the consensus is that being vegan is doing the least amount of harm, as it is impossible to do no harm.  So, if you were going to overconsume and buy all new vegan shoes, instead of use what you have and then replace it with vegan items, it would do more harm.  Another part of that discussion was, if you buy a wool sweater from a thrift shop, so that you aren't creating a market for wool, is that vegan?  If it was at a consignment store, someone would benefit, specifically, but at a thrift shop they sell whatever they have.  There was a more split decision on this, but for those people who think it would be vegan, most still wouldn't buy and wear a thrift shop wool sweater because of the confusion it would cause the omni world.

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Um... ok, sorry to do this, maybe it should be a new thread or something, but this was brought up in chat...
Do people think it's vegan to wear leather shoes if you've already got them? There was some discussion about how it's different than honey, which it is in many ways (bee vs. cow, animal product vs. actual animal, buy vs. already had), but is it vegan? And if one of the concerns is to be portraying a vegan in the proper light to not confuse the world, should you call yourself a vegan and still wear learther?

my car has leather seats.  it was the ONLY car i could afford (i bought it from my brother so i wouldn't have to take out a loan) and i had no other options, considering my old car had kicked the bucket.  in my craptastic town, ya gotta have a car if ya wanna go get groceries.  i don't really consider this my fault, but i do feel bad about it.  what was i supposed to do?  die of starvation from no car and therefore no groceries and no job? 

i know shoes is maybe different, i just wondered what you guys thought of this.

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I think it's fine. There needs to be a good dose a reality in with the veganism, and if you are doing what you can do, than A+.

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We've had this discussion before.  I think the consensus is that being vegan is doing the least amount of harm, as it is impossible to do no harm. 

Thanks, HH!  That's the definition I like.  Do the least harm possible. 

I'm sure I have some nonvegan clothing stored away, but I cannot bring myself to wear them and, fortunately, have enough other things to wear that I don't need to wear them.  It makes me sad/disgusted/angry to put these things on my body now that I know where they are from.  I just can't do it.  Which is tough, because I have some awfully nice wool socks that I knit pregan and I'll have to give them away because I can't bring myself to wear them.  And I am HUGE about not conveying mixed messages to the non-vegan community and making myself out to be a hypocrite.  Strictly speaking, I feel the same way about wearing nonvegan clothes (pregan, secondhand, whatever) as I do about honey.  It is not vegan to wear a leather jacket or wool sweater, period.  I don't think animal hides and fur belong on our bodies.  I don't care if I have to pay $400 or $40 or $1 for the item or if it is free or given to me.  That being said, if I had only a couple sweaters to wear in the winter, and they were wool, and I had no means of getting new winter clothes for a while, then I wouldn't feel bad about that.  I would just do my best to replace them when I could.  But, going back to the thread topic, that's sooo different from honey.  Honey is not a necessity like shoes are, and you can't buy secondhand honey.  :P

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I chose to be vegan not only because of the way animals were treated, but because of the greater environmental impact eating animals and their products has on our earth and the environment.  While eating honey is not vegan, I don't think its that bad.  I used to not eat honey until a fellow vegan who did told me her logic behind it.  Domesticated bees are responsible for pollinating plants which provide up to 1/3 of our food.  With all the problems bees are having, the disease and whatnot, it is the people harvesting their honey that are in fact keeping their species alive.  If the bee farmers weren't harvesting their honey and making money off of it, they wouldn't have the bees, and our world and the environment would be in an even scarier place.  That said I think it depends on where you get your honey.  I try to avoid honey in mass produced breads or at the grocery store because thats where the mass-producing beekeepers come in.  My grandpa has bee hives and I can assure you he cares about them very much and is not abusive and so I try to get it from him, or if he doesn't have any available, I buy other RAW honey from a local farmer.

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Commercial bees are shipped between continents.  A species has already been wiped out when a disease was spread around and native bees didn't have a defense - like Native Americans and smallpox.  Commerical bumblebees (not honeybees, I acknowledge) are used in greenhouses to pollinate tomatoes and they fly in and out of the vents and infect native bumblebee populations with disease. Native bees could pollinate crops without commercializing them if cover crops were planted and the insane amount of pesticide application was reduced.  The current problem started with commercial bees and is being spread to native populations.  Yes, I do buy food that is bee pollinated, but I don't choose to more directly support the destructive behavior exhibited by commercial bee farmers, or people who acquire bees from commercial sources - for both environmental and animal welfare reasons.

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Not at all sarcasm. I'm just saying that wearing leather shoes, for whatever reason, is just as much not vegan as eating honey. Yet, it can be justified. In my opinion justly. But, it's still not vegan. And it doesn't make me angry if someone still calls themselves vegan with a few bent rules. Whatever. We all know what we are. I don't do this to identify with people or to be the outstanding "vegan". I do what I think is right. If people are happing eating honey, and calling themselves vegan, let 'em be.

exactly.  a label is a label.  no one truly fits their label.  i'm sure that these "super outstanding vegans" still drive cars (or ride in them), if they have an emergency & go to the hospital something that they are given will have animal ingredients or will have been tested on an animal (the operations, too), if they eat processed food it has ground up rodents and insects in it (for example, cereals are only allowed a certain percentage of locusts), and if they eat at a restaurant ever (even if the server swears that it's "vegan") there will come a time where they consume something that they would not have considered to be "vegan".  unless you are completely self sufficient and grow all of your own food, prepare your own food, live in a house you built yourself (so you know that it is "vegan" without supplies that have animal ingredients or were tested on them), walk everywhere, grow your own materials for clothing, and never ever ever eat anything that you did not prepare yourself completely from scratch... you cannot be 100% vegan.

if someone is happy calling themselves vegan and eating honey, then that is them and that is their definition.  when people claim to be a vegetarian & yet they eat fish or chicken or if they eat tons of cheese without regard to the fact that it probably has animal rennet in it (and probably without knowing it, in most cases) i don't interject and say, "no!  you're not a vegetarian!  put down that cheese!" 

it's not my place to label someone.  but then again, i hate labels.  they are only made so that other people can be more comfortable and feel like they have an understanding of how they can categorize you.

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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.

oh my gods, i know, right?!!

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oh my gods, i know, right?!!

BSG fan?

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No, it would not be vegan to consume the honey even with the bee's consent. Not cruel, but not vegan.

i always thought that with veganism, the big thing was consent... and that's why consentual human bodily fluids are considered vegan.  that's my thinking, anyways.

otherwise... i doubt any of us can call ourselves vegan unless we are complete hermits that keep to themselves.  poor lonely vegans!

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oh my gods, i know, right?!!

BSG fan?

huh?  i'm going to say i don't know to that one.

i don't personally believe in any sort of deity, but i know that there are several "out there" that others believe in.  so i say "gods" since i'm not implying that there is only one, but rather the possibility of several (or none).

make sense?

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Um... Bees can talk. You really need to see Bee Movie. You folks don't know nuthin'!

HAHAHAHA!

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oh my gods, i know, right?!!

BSG fan?

huh?  i'm going to say i don't know to that one.

i don't personally believe in any sort of deity, but i know that there are several "out there" that others believe in.  so i say "gods" since i'm not implying that there is only one, but rather the possibility of several (or none).

make sense?

BSG =  Battlestar Galactica

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this was mentioned, slightly, before... but i wanted to touch on it again.

bees are animals, cows are animals, and humans are animals. 
those are all facts as far as science is concerned since they are
all part of the animal kingdom.

we mentioned that honey is not vegan because it
comes from an animal, because that animal is exploited,
and because it was taken without consent.

how many of us are wearing converse shoes?
how many of us have things that were "made in china"
(or, really, pretty much anywhere but here)?
how many of us do this and still call ourselves vegan?

people are animals and people who are forced to
work in "sweatshops" are exploited and it is generally
not consensual.  wouldn't that be unvegan by every
definition that we have argued thus far?

converse (for example) may be "vegan" because
the materials are canvas and rubber and are not
derived from animals, but when you think about
the sweatshop aspect, are they truly vegan?

converse used to be made in the usa (which means
that the people who made them gave consent, were
paid fair wages, and had a decent work environment
and all of this is regulated).  however, converse was recently
sold to nike.  nike uses sweatshops in other countries. 

by every definition i would say that most of the things that
most of us have could be traced as being unvegan.

would i look in your closet and conclude that you feel that:
cows = important; bees = important; humans = not so important?

obviously we're all on computers posting on here...
i would be floored if there wasn't at least one little
piece of that computer that wasn't made in another
country where sweatshops are used.

if you're trying to be a pure vegan, being an amish vegan  is probably the way to go!

with all of that being said...
i know several people who don't focus on that aspect but consider themselves
to be vegan.  many people wear converse shoes and fake leather belts because
they are not made from animal ingredients.  should those people stop calling themselves
vegan and just say, "i'm a very strict vegetarian who chooses not to consume animal
products at all and chooses not to exploit animals as long as the definition of animal does
not include human"?

i, myself, wear converse.  i don't wear animal skins.  i am concerned about the welfare of humans, but i still have a billion things that were made in china.  i do my best to buy fair trade, but not everything is guaranteed (such as computers that might be made in the usa, but with parts made from all over the world).

i consider myself to be a vegan.

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oh my gods, i know, right?!!

BSG fan?

huh?  i'm going to say i don't know to that one.

i don't personally believe in any sort of deity, but i know that there are several "out there" that others believe in.  so i say "gods" since i'm not implying that there is only one, but rather the possibility of several (or none).

make sense?

BSG =  Battlestar Galactica

oh?  hah.  no, never saw it.  i think my mom is into it, though?  maybe?

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I haven't read all the replies to this yet but I want to chime in here, because I have debated this within myself for a long time. 

When I first went vegan I was really strict on myself.  I didn't eat honey for my first, say, 3 or 4 years of being vegan.  The reason I didn't eat honey was because I educated myself on honey production, and didn't agree with it.  Plus, I thought, "bee puke, yuck!"

Now, about 8 or nine years into being vegan, I allow myself to eat honey if it is in something, like local bread or rarely, a comercial "vegan" product.  The thing that changed my mind was that in general I started to slack a bit.  Realizing that there is no way to be 100% vegan was the start of it.  Giving up on bikes and not using sidewalks is an impossible task.  Refusing to have a leather couch that I found on the side of the road doomed for trash day was rediculious.  Maybe I am going a bit off track here..

But, honey isn't terrible for your body like milk is.  I don't think it is a fair comarison. Cow milk, is not digested well by humans(for many reasons most of you know and I won't get into), and I'd imagine (although I don't know for a fact) that human milk probably isn't digested well my adult cows.  Bees, no matter what condition they live in, produce honey.  There is always excess honey and I see no harm in humans benefiting off that. 

Maybe, I too just have never had much respect for bees.  I have been allergic to them ever since my first sting, They intrude on me while I am simply walking around, just as much as I intrude on them as I knock their hives down off my porch every 2 weeks.  Honestly, if honey were made by another insect, I would probably still feel the same way.  For me they aren't anything other than another insect coexisting on this planet and i find honey production and the whole nature of bees facinating, even though I really don't feel for them empatheticly (is that a word?)

I hope this made sence, I'm awfuly tired.

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I have been living in a remote area of the southern rain forest in costa rica for a few days now. I wanted to quickly post an observation I've had that reminded me of this thread.

Insects are super-sized here and play an important role in the eco-system. I noticed immediately that they seem to be hyper-intelligent compared to the ones in North America. This contrast is easily apparent because of the pure size of these creatures. You can clearly see huge ants (or ant-like insects, I'm no expert!) using tools, building things and seemingly mingling and organizing events. The mosquito-like insects are so big that you can look into their eyes when they turn their neck towards you before slowly dipping down for a taste of your veg*n blood. They also seem to immediately adapt to your strategies for shooing them away and the way they interact with you is clearly more responsive than their western cousins. Last night I turned on my flash night in the middle of rain forest and the way these insects interacted with the light was amazing.

The point I'm trying to make is that it is perhaps unfair to judge insect "intelligence" and awareness solely by the ones we encounter in our domesticated world. Just as some animals are seemingly more "stupid" to humans than others, the insects that thrive in the unadulterated rainforest here seem to be operating on a whole other level.

OK, we're on solar power right now and the internet access uses a ton of power, so I have to get off for the day... just thought I'd share.

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Someone else made the same comment that they didn't care about the welfare of bees because they're allergic to them.  I don't understand that.  I'm allergic to some pollen spores, but I don't want the forest to burn.

I think there's a confusion about what it is to be vegan.  Being vegan is not about doing no harm; it's about doing the least amount of harm.

I posted before that I'm fine if someone eats local honey to help treat hayfever, as opposed to taking medicine.  There are times when I agree that honey is a better option, but for me that does not extend to gratuitous consumption.

There are different reasons that people become vegan:  health, environment, animal welfare.  It sounds like some people are vegan strictly for health reasons, so I understand why the honey debate is hard to relate to for them.  Commercial honey farmers have jacked the environment and have created the current bee health crisis, so it's easier for the people who are also interested in the environment and animal welfare issues to be interested in the ecology and health of bees. 

I don't think any of that matters here.  I think that vegan has a pretty strict definition for diet and lifestyle.  If someone is going to eat honey, then why can't they call themselves a strict vegetarian instead of vegan?  Strict vegetarian is only about diet, which would explain it perfectly for people who abstain from most animal products for health reasons. 

I'm happy that "vegan" sounds sexier and people want to be vegan, but if they call themselves vegan before they are, then it causes confusion to the rest of the world.  I'm more at risk of being served food that's supposedly vegan, but has honey in it, because people get confused.  I went to a raw vegan potluck once and there was honey in food that was served, without a disclaimer.  My ethics were compromised in that situation (by one spoonful), because the person was confused by the overuse of the term vegan.

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