Do vegans eat honey – quora electricity generation by source by country


Most vegans would not regard honey as being a product suitable for vegans. This is certainly the Abolitionist vegan position. The reason why some vegans will consider honey to be a vegan product is simply because there is no officially sanctioned definition of what veganism is. Most vegans would follow the Vegan Society (UK) definition, as that was where the term vegan was first introduced, but there is no overriding vegan sanctioning authority.

An Abolitionist vegan would be against the exploitation of all animals; honey production would be seen as animal exploitation. There are however a small minority of vegans who argue that honey production can encourage the development and nurturing of bee colonies and so is seen as “a good thing” and to be encouraged.

Of course bees ( amongst other insects) would be used to pollinate plants; but the rationale behind accepting plant pollination by insects as being acceptable is that the insects are free to pollinate or not pollinate; it is not a forced relationship where animals are in a master-slave relationship, and nothing is “stolen” from the insects in this relationship; unlike with honey.

First, honey is a product made by bees for their own use. The production of very small amounts of honey comes at the expense of great effort on the part of the bee. They fly very very far and collect great quantities of pollen in order to produce tiny amounts of the substance (the honey) intended to serve as sustenance for their hive. I don’t know whether or not there have been any efforts to speculate on the toll it takes on the body of a bee to produce their honey, but I imagine if I were forced to repeatedly internally process and regurgitate a substance, I might not be too thrilled at the prospect of it being stolen from me and my community.

Secondly, there is harm in the human manipulation of the natural hive and in the stealing of the honey — even in so-called ‘backyard’ operations. Queens are often assassinated. Smoke, which at the least annoys and disorients the bees (think of the reasoning behind the ubiquitous image of the ‘beekeeper’ in the suit entirely covering the human body head to fingertip to toe), is often used to control the behaviour of the bees. Sadly, even the tiny bee is not safe from the forced insemination so prevalent in ‘animal agriculture’. The constructs of rectangular boxes they are commonly made to reside in are counter to their natural domed hive design, which is better suited to their habitational needs. There are other harmful aspects involved in this unfair situation, and I encourage everyone to do some diligent research into the harsh and cruel realities of the honey trade.

In all honesty, you can call yourself what you want. My personal way of looking at it is if you believe that you are making every effort to avoid cruelty to sentient beings then you are true to the spirit of veganism, if not the letter of veganism.

Now, this means that if a person really, genuinely believed that pigs are not at all sentient – or that they live a life of bliss, and the moment of slaughter is a lovely experience for them – they might believe they’re doing all they can to avoid cruelty and call themselves vegan, even if they ate pigs. Honestly, I would think that they were completely wrong, but there you go.

Or, a more realistic example: I do not believe that farming and eating bivalves (oysters, mussels) causes harm because they have no brain or CNS and there seems to be no reason to believe that they are sentient, despite technically being animals. I still call myself vegan, but many would disagree with me and claim that I’m not even vegetarian if I eat oysters. That’s fine, I won’t push the point; the term “vegan” is just an easy way of letting people know my approximate stance – it’s much easier to say vegan in a restaurant than explain all the ins and outs of my moral stance.

So, if you have decided to become vegan to avoid cruelty and suffering, and you genuinely believe that you are true to that while buying honey, then sure, why not? But I would it recommend gathering as much information as you can and learning all about honey and bee farming, so that you know you’ve made an informed decision here.

EDIT: just a note to say, please don’t go into a restaurant and say “I’m vegan” then order honey (or oysters, or anything non-vegan), whatever you call yourself in day-to-day life. This is just really frustrating for people who come after you and find that the servers are confused about what vegans do and don’t eat.