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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!

pk - I love your post.  When I was in school, entomology was my favorite subject.  Insects are hella cool, intelligent, fiesty creatures.  They share a lot of characteristics with my favorite friends.

I  :)>>> insects!

BTW:  I'm happy that the newer people to the debate have profiles.  Hi and welcome.

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This is where the pro-honey rationale falls apart for me:

I agree that no one is a perfect vegan.  That's definitely true.  Let's take the example of my computer.  My computer probably has animal products in it somewhere.  I feel bad about that.  If there was some kind of alternative that I could use, I'd do so.  Though I don't need a computer--the same way I don't need 99.9% of my possessions--it would require a complete change of career and a great deal of effort for me to eliminate this animal product from my life, given my current situation.  So, I just have to do my best to choose products without animal cruelty embedded in them.  Who knows, maybe there will be a feasible alternative someday.

How is this situation even close to the honey situation?  I don't need honey in the same way I don't need my computer, but I can eliminate it with very minor effort and with no consequence to any other aspect of my life.  So why not?

If we are to call ourselves vegan, we should be taking every practical effort to abstain from suffering, not looking for an excuse or a loophole which justifies our exploitation of another animal because we can't save them all.

And I totally agree, PK--we can't judge other beings with our own rubric of what "intelligence" means.  

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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. 

Exactly.  The term "strict vegetarian" is there for this very reason.  Some people mentioned that they wished there was a term for their diet.  There it is.  :)

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As they know, I TOTALLY, ABSOLUTELY agree with PK (thanks for that great post), hh, and KMK. It's been said, but my top priority is to do the absolute best I can to adhere to my vegan lifestyle. It seems absurd to me to think/say, "Oh, well...I can't be perfect....so I guess I might as well go ahead and consume honey in this cereal that I love, or eat chicken and fish, or buy this purse with leather." It does contribute to the industry..AND the confusion.
This rationale is completely in line with the statement, "I'm going to die anyway...might as well live it up now!" Yes, we're going to die, and WE CANNOT BE PERFECT, but we can live longer and healthier, and can definitely abstain from buying/consuming honey, as well as chicken, fish.....and all such things. Rubber in tires and whatever in computer parts....is not quite relevant to the honey debate. We find alternatives when it is at all possible in this world.

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I had commented on this, but then took it out of my response.  Let's say that we're not doing the best we can because the shoes we wear contain animal-derived adhesives, even if they are canvas and rubber.  It doesn't follow that it becomes a free for all with honey.  The comparisons don't work for me.

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I had commented on this, but then took it out of my response.  Let's say that we're not doing the best we can because the shoes we wear contain animal-derived adhesives, even if they are canvas and rubber.  It doesn't follow that it becomes a free for all with honey.  The comparisons don't work for me.

Absolutely.  ;)b

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By the official definition, vegan= a strict vegetarian that consumes no animal products. It can also extend to not wearing animal products. All the rest, with amounts of with harm and such, is what someone else had decided veganism should be.

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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.

Agreed!  FTR, I am highly allergic to bees but I still won't eat honey or kill them.

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Agreed! FTR, I am highly allergic to bees but I still won't eat honey or kill them.

I'm on it!

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Agreed! FTR, I am highly allergic to bees but I still won't eat honey or kill them.

I'm on it!

:-D  I forgot about 'the record'.  :-D

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By the official definition, vegan= a strict vegetarian that consumes no animal products. It can also extend to not wearing animal products. All the rest, with amounts of with harm and such, is what someone else had decided veganism should be.

I went to The Vegan Society's website, since they're the folks who coined the term.

Question: What is a vegan?

Answer: A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals - no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.

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I never understand these arguments.

Can one eat honey? Sure!
Do vegans eat honey? No.
Can one be someone who doesn't eat animal products except honey? Sure!
But then why can't I call myself vegan? Because vegans don't eat honey.

You can have the same conversation but replace "honey" with "fish" and "vegan" with "vegetarian" (or hell leave it vegan if you like). I for one don't care what other people are eating and am not sure why honey is argued about so much. I'm just going to continue to live in my "really good vegetarian" bubble not worrying about what other people think.

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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. 

me too.  when i became vegan (in the middle of oklahoma!) i did not know any other vegans.  i barely knew any vegetarians that had been vegetarian for any substantial about of time.  i had no mentor to "show me the way" or to answer my questions.  

...actually, i did know one vegan.  i asked his friend, "what does he eat?  what does he feel about honey?" and his friend said, "he doesn't eat much of anything.  he's too into heroin."

and that was that.

so i made a "compromise" (since i honestly had no idea when it came to honey) that i would not add honey to anything i eat or eat it "as is" but if it was already in something i would eat it.
that is what i have done for the last eight years.

i was a vegetarian before that, so that makes a total of nineteen years of being vegetarian.
i feel that for my purposes of being vegan, i'm accomplishing my goals.  most vegans i know have only been a vegan/vegetarian for a short while and a lot of them don't last past that.  they tend to be the ones that might judge other vegans so harshly... but i feel that being a veg*n my whole life probably accomplishes a lot more than being a strict vegan for two years!

i just don't think that the very trivial amounts of honey that i might consume a couple of times a year are that catastrophic.

just like if someone spent a long time making me a vegan meal and then i found out that they used a little bit of honey, i'm not going to be all like, "yeah, it's cute that you made it and thought i would eat it, but no way!".  i would do it for the other non vegan things, but not with honey.  

i liked the analogy someone used about the dog licking the ice cream cone.  

i disagree with the comparison of honey to milk because when milk comes out of an animal, is is nothing like the hay, grass, etc that the animal ate.  honey, however, is the nectar that the bee collected but then with secretions added to it.  so... it's a plant product that an animal altered... making it (in my mind) a plant product AND an animal product.  quite similar to that analogy of a dog licking an ice cream cone.  it's still ice cream, but with saliva added.

*shrugs*  i'm not out for the title of "most impressive super vegan"... nor do i want to judge all of the others.

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;)b hh

In addition, I think this is a great passage from Being Vegan by J. Stepaniak (pg. 5):

There are no such entities as "part-time vegans," "partial vegans," or "dietary vegans." People who just have a plant-based diet are not vegans; they are total vegetarians (her emphasis). Until one's commitment extends beyond the scope of food, the word vegan does not apply....Unlike vegetarianism, being vegan does not entail simply what a person does or doesn't eat-it comprises who a person is.

............vegans do subscribe to a shared tenet that builds a collective awareness. It is this coalescence of consciousness that creates a bond among vegans and has the power to transcend cursory distinctions. In the final analysis, despite our diversity, there is only one type of vegan-a person who is committed to and practices reverence and respect for all life."

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what about the human aspect you guys?

i think everyone misunderstood my post regarding shoes and computers.

i was talking about things that were made from exploited humans who are also animals and were abused in the sense that they were forced to make things (for us) for little to no pay in bad working environments.

are you a true vegan if you contribute to this?  there are alternatives to these things, usually.

by the definitions that people are giving, i would say probably not.

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BTW:  I'm happy that the newer people to the debate have profiles.  Hi and welcome.

hi!  i've actually had vegweb for quite a while, i just haven't posted much.  mostly only in recipe reviews and i've posted a few recipes, although my last, like, five haven't posted yet.

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Yeah.  The recipes are hit and miss.  Sometimes they get on in a couple of weeks, sometimes a few months, and sometimes they're never seen again.  I think we need a thread on the Cooking board where we also post the recipes, as a "just in case" measure.

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In addition, I think this is a great passage from Being Vegan by J. Stepaniak (pg. 5):

Dude, AC, I was just about to look that passage up.  Read my mind!

i disagree with the comparison of honey to milk because when milk comes out of an animal, is is nothing like the hay, grass, etc that the animal ate.  honey, however, is the nectar that the bee collected but then with secretions added to it.  so... it's a plant product that an animal altered... making it (in my mind) a plant product AND an animal product.  quite similar to that analogy of a dog licking an ice cream cone.  it's still ice cream, but with saliva added.

I don't see what this has to do with it.  Anything that an animal makes comes from a plant.  I don't care if that animal digested the plant five times over and then excreted it, or whether they chewed it up and spit it out.  Harvesting honey requires that we capture bees and then strip their home of honey--and it's not as if they're like, "Hey humans, I'm making this honey for ya!"  That is not even remotely similar to my dog licking my ice cream cone before me. 

I agree, though, rainbowdust, that it is not vegan for us to buy things produced in sweatshops.  Yes, there are alternatives, so we should do our best to find those.  But like hh said, that doesn't give us license to throw honey out the window.  That doesn't make much sense to me.

I never understand these arguments.

Can one eat honey? Sure!
Do vegans eat honey? No.
Can one be someone who doesn't eat animal products except honey? Sure!
But then why can't I call myself vegan? Because vegans don't eat honey.

You've got mad brevity skills, RC!  Nicely put. 

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I don't care if that animal digested the plant five times over and then excreted it, or whether they chewed it up and spit it out. 

I just got vivid imagery of bottled camel spit. 

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I don't care if that animal digested the plant five times over and then excreted it, or whether they chewed it up and spit it out. 

I just got vivid imagery of bottled camel spit. 

;D

I sorta want a companion camel now!

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