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honey

ok, i know that honey is definitely not considered vegan, but does it really bother you to eat it that much? I'm not trying to convince everyone to go out and buy one of those little bear bottles of honey and eat the whole thing, but, bees are just insects. i guess i can feel a lot more sympathy toward cows and pigs and stuff, but when it comes to bugs...well...
maybe i just don't know enough about honey and how it is made, but even if i did i don't think i could have much sympathy for bugs. i mean, yeast is technically a little animal, too, and i eat my bread and my nutritional yeast every day with no guilt. i tell people that i am a vegan because it is the easiest way to get across that i do not eat meat or eggs or milk, but occasionally, i don't mind eating something with honey in it, either. am i totally wrong?  ???

This is an excerpt I found from this site:

The life of a bee centres on the collection of honey as part of a complex society. Humans remove the honey and replace it with sugar and clip the queen bee's wings to prevent the natural swarming of the bees. With so many alternatives available, vegans choose to avoid this exploitation of the humble bee as well as that of larger animals with whom we can more readily identify.

Honey has been frequently linked with outbreaks of botulism and despite recent attempts to praise it as a source of antioxidants (only about a tenth as much per calorie as fruit) it is a poor source of nutrients, barely above white sugar.

In summary, vegans recognise that animal suffering and slaughter are closely entwined with the production of milk and eggs. The very principles that lead so many people to become vegetarian lead them, as confidence and understanding grows, to take the next step and become vegan. The experience of more than a million living vegans has shown that this involves no detrimental effect on either health or enjoyment of food. We invite you to join them and experience the special joy of knowing that no chicken, cow, goat, or even bee is being held in unnatural conditions and suffering or dying on your behalf.

http://www.vegansociety.com/phpws/index.php?module=faq&FAQ_op=view&FAQ_id=

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I think the basic idea of being vegan is to not rely on animals for sustenance, and fortunately there are so many alternatives (agave, maple syrup, molasses, etc) in today's world  that are readily available and healthier I think.  I think everyone is on their own personal journey and commitments to veg*nism and they're all different, so you don't have to be the 'vegan police' for yourself, but you may just read a little more about veg*nism and then realize one day you just don't have a taste for it anymore....Personally, there is a bread that I absolutely adore but one of the last ingredients is honey.... I only occasionally eat bread, so when I make a sandwich I  allow myself to eat this. Also, if a certain cereal that my family likes has a trace amount of honey, I'm not the vegan police and I let it through. For me, that's okay. We don't buy honey though, we use agave, maple syrup, molasses and other sweeteners.
Hope this is helpful to you  ;)

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The simplest reason I can give about why I choose not to eat honey is that I dislike the idea of any animal (big, small, cute, ugly...) to be messed about with in any way. But I wasn't sure about the facts, so I did some quick research and these are just a few of the things that I learned (which of course is just scratching the surface):

- Bees can be injured or killed during the honeycomb removal process.
- After the honey is taken, it is either replaced with an unnatural substitute (white sugar syrup), or the beekeepers kill off the whole colony completely.
- They also inseminate the queen and then kill her after about one to two years.
- Bee populations are on the decline, though the cause seems to be unknown. This has repercussions on the planet as a whole (due to the decrease in plant pollination).

These facts alone could easily sway me not to eat honey. But to be honest, even if the bees weren't injured or killed, I still don't like the idea of exploiting any animal (much less to make a buck). Just as I do not kill spiders in my home (I transport them safely outdoors) or avoid stepping on a bug if I can actually help it. Call me crazy, but today I ducked under a spider web (with the spider present) that stretched across the trail, so as not to destroy the web (some of the web was torn--and I felt kind of bad about it--maybe I'm just loony).

Of course, innumerable levels of choices seem to exist, to the point where a person could go batty thinking about them. It sort of comes with the vegan territory. Every choice you make when it comes to being a vegan must be made with your own heart. Take the time to research it, and then examine it honestly. For me, I believe that if I act upon that in which I am truly honest with myself, than I will inevitably make the right choice. Caveat--I hope I'm making at least a little sense, because right now, I'm really quite tired (insomnia strikes again).

BTW--I may be wrong about this, but I don't think nutritional yeast is or consists of an organism that is alive. Someone might correct me on that, though.

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So I do ingest small amounts of honey (notably in graham wafer crumbs), though I use other syrups for sweetening things that are made in my kitchen. As far as bees being 'just bugs', they have a central nervous system and feel pain. Whereas honey will be the last 'nonvegan' thing I take out of my diet, I totally agree with the compassion for all living animals and insects are animals.

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http://www.veganmeat.com/honey.html

I buy products containing honey... though there are probably very few in our house...
I am really up in the air about the entire thing though.
I use pure honey for one purpose only, it's natural decongestant properties. 1 T honey juice of 1/2 lemon and tap of cayenne in hot water.
I prefer this to chemical therflu and meds etc BUT if I found a natural alternative (with the same decongestatnt props) I'd surely try it.

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I just want to clarify about the nutritional yeast. Yeast is a fungus. Fungi are a class in and of themselves, they are neither plants nor animals.  ;)

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http://www.veganmeat.com/honey.html

On a side note, this link you gave is great! The guy cracks me up! I think I may have to recommend this to my omni boyfriend so he doesn't feel like he's the only non-vegan dating/married to a vegan. Thanks!

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http://www.veganmeat.com/honey.html

On a side note, this link you gave is great! The guy cracks me up! I think I may have to recommend this to my omni boyfriend so he doesn't feel like he's the only non-vegan dating/married to a vegan. Thanks!

I think this part of the commentary is key:
"If you can go to bed feeling good about yourself after having something with some honey in it, then that's all that really matters."

Though I might rephrase it:
"After empowering yourself with the real facts about beekeeping, if you can go to bed feeling good about yourself after having something with some honey in it, then that's all that really matters."

I'm not being sarcastic here. I actually think that what the person says is right. I just think that one should examine the facts first, and then make a decision. After that, if you can eat honey and eat sleep peacefully about it, well then you've made the decision that is right for you.

According to my quick research, bees are harmed (killed) during the beekeeping process (not just inconvenienced, as the Great Honey Debate writer says). I don't know about organic honey methods. I'd have to look that up.

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"bugs"=my favorite animal group.  They're just like cows/chickens in everyway!  They have legs, and they buzz around gathering food and socializing (some bugs that is).  They have an adgenda, and they do want they need to do. And they're so Small!  I mean, something that little just going about its everyday business enthralls me.

Bees are AMAZING: they building stuff, care for young, have a complicated social system, communicate through dancing,and they fly around.  I dunno about anyone else, but anything that can FLY is automatically badass.

http://www.durhamsbeefarm.com/images/honey_bee_with_pollen.jpg

The death/exploitation of any organism should weigh equally.  Think about it with races of humans.  Would it be ok to slave/exploit black people, but not white people...because they're "cuter"? or they have smaller ears?  (<<<these are just stupid descriptors to make a point, not real)

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Wow, after rereading my comment earlier I see that I have reservations about buying honey. I will be finding alternatives to my graham wafers.

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I totally agree with Ashley, bees are amazing!! And so cool!
I attempt to not downgrade them as animals becuz they are 'only bugs'... and yes, animals are animals no matter how cute or not.
Yet, I see collecting honey (organic, not factory farmed honey!!) in the same way as I see collecting manure (of a free roaming cow not planned for consumption or dairy use) to use as a fertilizer. Why is this different? Because possibly bees die in the process?? Yes that's bad... but the death of the bee(s) was not intentional, nor is it's death necessary to harvest the honey... maybe the goal should be safer, more caring, bee keeping, not boycott of honey. Would you use honey if you cared for your own bees and were able to, to the best of your ability, insure the least amount of damage to the little guys? I would!!
I'm not sure where I read it (maybe it was the honey debate link?), but what about the bugs you kill with your car when driving? Do vegans not drive ever? Or not use the agave nectar that was shipped in a truck, since the driver must have killed X number of bees/bugs delivering the agave to the store?
Like I said, I'm really just not sure about this issue. I don't feel guilty using honey, but if I saw it as intentional animal abuse/explotation I'd try to find an alternative.
DO any bee lovers ;) out there know of a natural decongestant alternative?? I'd totally try it!

I should also mention that I didn't link to the honey debate because I agree with everything that the guy wrote, I just did it to show that there is a debate.

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Jennifer, you are right in that there are so, so many levels of human impact on animals, from the deliberate to the accidental kinds. That's why, I believe, all these things are personal choices. I drive a car and kill many, many bugs while doing so. Yet, I will save the odd spider that comes into my house. Is that ironic? Hypocritical? Weird? Stupid? Maybe so (sometimes even I think I'm nutty :D). But it's my prerogative, and I feel good about it (saving the spider). Just as I know using organic honey is your prerogative.

My *personal* philosophy/goal at the current moment is to try to lessen the impact as much as possible (within the range of my awareness, ability, and general level of sanity ;D). Everybody has their own philosophy, and we're all evolving and learning from each other as we go along on this crazy journey. Next year at this time, you may feel completely different about honey. Or you may not. I may even feel differently about honey.

I know that I am changing my views ALL THE TIME. And vegweb has a lot to do with this. People here (including you!) have seriously opened my eyes to a lot of things. And I pretty much adore vegwebbers for doing it. I try to stay open to the things people say (okay, well maybe I didn't in that one "hunting thread" a while back, but apart from that... ;)) because I learn a lot by doing so. 

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I know that I am changing my views ALL THE TIME. And vegweb has a lot to do with this. People here (including you!) have seriously opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I did?!!?
Wow, cool.
I also adore vegwebbers. I'd think I'd be lost without you guys. I change my views as well, how stale we'd be as people if we didn't! Actually, for the majority of us, if we never changed our views we'd be omnis!

Well this conversation has inspired me to read up more on organic honey and bees and exactly what happens. I feel very uninformed about the whole thing and it hasn't been a priority to find out about lately but I will now add bee research to the to-do list.

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I know that I am changing my views ALL THE TIME. And vegweb has a lot to do with this. People here (including you!) have seriously opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I did?!!?
Wow, cool.

Of course I learn a lot from you. In the other thread on "transitioning all the way," I learned that there are some people who become vegan for dietary reasons, but are still just as vegan as the rest of us. Reading your last post I noticed there were ways in which you were more vegan than me. You say you only use animal-free products and cleaners, and I am still transitioning to that! And by the way, we still have a leather couch, too. We've replaced it with a microfiber couch (so soft!). So we moved the leather couch to the other room, where no one sits on it really. I wanted to get rid of the leather couch and give it to a friend, but the hubby still wants to keep it. Which goes onto a whole other subject of juggling/compromising your beliefs with those of your significant other. There is honey in my pantry because my husband still uses it, even though I never do. It's kind of like what you were saying in your other post--does it make me unvegan because I've got the honey in the pantry? My husband's a big boy now, and I let him make his own choices. I'm not using the honey myself, but at the same time I'm not going to throw it out if he's using it.

This is a small thing, but I also learned from you the other day that I shouldn't place potatoes with onions.

But I think the biggest thing I've learned from you is that....

Scooby Doo Cupcake Liners are really cool!!! ;D ;D ;D 
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=16044.0

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I find honey to be a bit of a tricky topic. You see, I call myself an almost-vegan, and I do this for two reasons.
1) The only animal by-product that I (knowingly) consume is honey.
2) I only follow a vegan diet. I still use leather and wool, and probably will for some time. But I'm a vegan for health primarily. That's not to say I won't eventually transition to total veganism, but for now my student budget won't allow it. (...tangent...)
Anyway, my point here is that I consume honey in one certain product (which I'm trying to elimiate from my diet). I don't scarf it down by the jarful or anything of that nature. And I was under the impression that bees were killed during the honey harvesting process until I talked to a friend of mine who used to work for a park. She convinced me that bees aren't always killed for their honey.

I also agree with jenniferhughes on her point about farming your own honey. If I had the resources, or knew someone who did, I would definitely eat it!

The main goal of veganism, at least for me, is to promote health, and by doing so, lessen animal cruelty and help our ailing environment. If that means no animal products except honey, then that's fine by me.

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Interesting thread. Yes, I do consume honey but then I'm not vegan. I am of Welsh/Danish blood, and bees have always occupied a very important place in their symbolism. Bees were always treated as being important, wise beings who must be treated with respect and reverence. They were considered almost as guardian spirits, who must be placated and appeased. Therefore, "telling the bees" became an important thing...whenever anything important happened to a family who kept them, say a marriage, birth, death, or financial disaster, someone (usually a child) was sent to tell the bees. At a death, the hives were "put in mourning" with strips of crape and when the head of a household died, at the removal of the body the hives were gently lifted and turned a quarter-turn to the west, as a mark of respect and because--as a symbol of the human soul--it was thought that at sunset the bees would guide the departed toward the West, where Eternity was. A person who was unaffected by beestings was considered "special", and in some parts of Wales it was believed that a good singing voice or facility as a bard poet was a gift of the bees--probably something to do with wisdom and sweetness.
As for killing an entire colony to harvest the honey--it would be just asking for disaster. Killing a bee was considered the worst possible bad luck, and silver coins were placed near the hive as a "price" for each dead bee.
I know that many religious orders here in Spain and in France keep bees, and harvest the honey, but they do it mindful that the bees are the ones that do the work that provides for them. The hives are never emptied of their full supply, and the bees are treated with respect and all possible gentleness.

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And by the way, we still have a leather couch, too. We've replaced it with a microfiber couch (so soft!). So we moved the leather couch to the other room, where no one sits on it really. I wanted to get rid of the leather couch and give it to a friend, but the hubby still wants to keep it.

Off topic from honey--After reading all the posts in another thread about keeping leather couches until they're worn out, I feel compelled (I don't know why) to say that we didn't just run out and buy a couch to replace our old one. That old leather couch we were using in the living room was the first couch my husband and I ever bought, and we'd had it for at least ten years. It was ready to go. I never liked it to begin with, to be honest, and ten years was enough. Personally, I'd like to give it to a friend, or donate it, since it is just sort of sitting there doing nothing, but alas....

This is sort of the wrong post to mention it (forgive my quick digression), but I, too, advocate holding onto animal items until they are well worn, and then donating them. I'm currently wearing out a belt, hiking boots, running shoes, other shoes, and probably a few other things I can't remember. I don't how in the hell I'm going to eventually replace the hiking boots and running shoes, yet. I need to do some research on where I can buy vegan versions of them.

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I'm pretty sure most, if not all, New Balance running shoes are vegan.  Correct me if I'm wrong, though!

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When I was shopping for shoes, I called some of the manufacturers.  According to the manufacturer, no Inov-8 running shoes contain animal products.

Honey - I don't use it.  Agave syrup is sometimes not viscous enough, so when I want to use something closer to honey, I use Clearly Maple.  Shady Maple Farms (www.shadymaple.ca)  makes it.  It's organic.  I couldn't find it on their website, so here's another site:  www.organicmall.com/directory.php?search=maple+syrup.

Insects rock!  I love bees - all kinds - especially bumble bees.  I call them gentle giants.

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Apstaats & Humbolt Honey--Thanks for the tips on vegan running shoes! I've had a preference for Sauconys for a long time, but I'm betting that they don't have any animal-free shoes at all. I don't know why I think maybe Montrails might be animal free, but I may be wrong about that--just thought I read it somewhere. When I get all of my research done, I'll post the info and share it.

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Salomon might have some also.

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