WHY HONEY ISN'T VEGAN



Photo: Dreamstime/Creative Commons Zero

There is a lot of controversy in the vegan community about whether honey is vegan or not and it’s difficult to get the facts straight since bees are sadly not the number one priority when discussing animal rights.

To put it short and sweet, honey is not vegan.

Going vegan doesn’t always mean there are strict rules as to what you can and can’t buy, I see it as a diet you can shape to be your own as to what fits you. But according to the definition of veganism, you shouldn’t support the cruelty towards animals.

Bees are still intelligent animals and they do still feel pain just like any other living thing on this planet. When producing honey, ethics are a second priority, after profit. 



Photo: Dreamstime/Creative Commons Zero

Bees are mistreated in many ways, similarly to factory farmed animals. The queen bees are the most effected:

• Artificially inseminated

• Killed after 2 years of their 5 year life span to prevent aggression in the hive and maximize honey production


• Supplied inhumanely to beekeepers - Exposed to dangers like overheating, chilling, desiccation (being left in the sun), rough handling in baggage and exposure to insecticides. They sit in storage without monitoring for days before being picked up by the customer. 


• Have their wings cut off so they cannot leave the colony by choice

The rest of the colony is also cruelly handled: 


• Hives are routinely split in half, distressing the bees

• Bees are smoked to calm them down, being forced to obsess over their honey

• Sometimes mouse guards are put over hive entrances which prevents the natural instinct for bees to drag out their deceased


• The bees travel around the country in trucks to increase honey production and profit


• When its too cold to efficiently keep the bees producing honey, they kill the hive with cyanide gas

• Wings and legs are torn off by unfriendly handling

• Some companies take all the honey from bees instead of leaving enough so they can survive through winter. They replace that honey with a sugar substitute that lacks essential vitamins, nutrients and fats

And it’s not only cruelty that’s an issue here, the environment and population of native bees are also at stake when supporting the honey industries. 


The bees are also selectively bred, which significantly narrows the populations gene pool meaning that they are more susceptible to disease and large scale die-offs.

Disease is also increased when different species of bees are imported and moved into the native hives. Because of the mass breeding of farmed bees, native bumblebees and bird species have significantly dropped in population.

In the USA alone, the amount of honey produced rose by 19% from 2013 to 2014. And in the UK, 90% of their honey is imported from either china or turkey. Importing honey increases our carbon footprint because of emissions caused by transport. 


Yes, there may be a small percentage of beekeeper companies that take into account the ethical side of producing honey, and you can research those to find them. But isn’t it better safe than sorry about where your money goes?

It’s quite difficult to tell when a brand is cruel to bees or not just by looking at a label on a jar, and even then, it doesn’t exclude the environmental issues with honey. 


I highly recommend supplementing honey in your diet these delicious bee friendly ‘honeys’:

• Molasses


• Coconut nectar

• Date paste

• Agave nectar

• Barley malt syrup

• Brown rice syrup

• Maple syrup

There is a lot of controversy in the vegan community about whether honey is vegan or not and it’s difficult to get the facts straight since bees are sadly not the number one priority when discussing animal rights.

To put it short and sweet, honey is not vegan.

Going vegan doesn’t always mean there are strict rules as to what you can and can’t buy, I see it as a diet you can shape to be your own as to what fits you. But according to the definition of veganism, you shouldn’t support the cruelty towards animals.

Bees are still intelligent animals and they do still feel pain just like any other living thing on this planet. When producing honey, ethics are a second priority, after profit. 


Bees are mistreated in many ways, similarly to factory farmed animals. The queen bees are the most effected:

Photo: Dreamstime

• Artificially inseminated

• Killed after 2 years of their 5 year life span to prevent aggression in the hive and maximize honey production


• Supplied inhumanely to beekeepers - Exposed to dangers like overheating, chilling, desiccation (being left in the sun), rough handling in baggage and exposure to insecticides. They sit in storage without monitoring for days before being picked up by the customer. 


• Have their wings cut off so they cannot leave the colony by choice

The rest of the colony is also cruelly handled: 


• Hives are routinely split in half, distressing the bees

• Bees are smoked to calm them down, being forced to obsess over their honey

• Sometimes mouse guards are put over hive entrances which prevents the natural instinct for bees to drag out their deceased


• The bees travel around the country in trucks to increase honey production and profit


• When its too cold to efficiently keep the bees producing honey, they kill the hive with cyanide gas

• Wings and legs are torn off by unfriendly handling

• Some companies take all the honey from bees instead of leaving enough so they can survive through winter. They replace that honey with a sugar substitute that lacks essential vitamins, nutrients and fats

And it’s not only cruelty that’s an issue here, the environment and population of native bees are also at stake when supporting the honey industries. 


The bees are also selectively bred, which significantly narrows the populations gene pool meaning that they are more susceptible to disease and large scale die-offs.

Disease is also increased when different species of bees are imported and moved into the native hives. Because of the mass breeding of farmed bees, native bumblebees and bird species have significantly dropped in population.

In the USA alone, the amount of honey produced rose by 19% from 2013 to 2014. And in the UK, 90% of their honey is imported from either china or turkey. Importing honey increases our carbon footprint because of emissions caused by transport. 


Yes, there may be a small percentage of beekeeper companies that take into account the ethical side of producing honey, and you can research those to find them. But isn’t it better safe than sorry about where your money goes?

It’s quite difficult to tell when a brand is cruel to bees or not just by looking at a label on a jar, and even then, it doesn’t exclude the environmental issues with honey. 


I highly recommend supplementing honey in your diet these delicious bee friendly ‘honeys’:

• Molasses


• Coconut nectar

• Date paste

• Agave nectar

• Barley malt syrup

• Brown rice syrup

• Maple syrup

Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

#vegan #honey #veganeating #ethics #bees

 

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