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Old 08-09-2014, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Question question for vegans about honey

I recently became vegan-ish for ethical reasons. However, I really don't feel deep in my intuitive guts that bees are suffering at all when they're used for honey and wax. My mom was a beekeeper and I've seen it up close and I just never got that feeling in my gut as I do when I think about what goes on in the dairy and meat industries. I am open if anyone can convince me I should stop using honey and products with beeswax, but otherwise I use bee products with no bad conscience whatsoever. Anyone else feel this way and would be fully vegan if it weren't for bee products?

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Old 08-09-2014, 07:35 AM
 
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I'm not vegan, so take this for what it's worth.

I do not have ethical concerns about honey.

I DO have ethical concerns about labor practices involved in the production of sugar, coffee, chocolate, cotton, cheap finished clothes, electronics, and vanilla.

Obviously, I'm using at least some of those things anyway. But I think I'm on FAR more comfortable ethical territory putting honey in my tea than I am ordering a soy vanilla mocha at Starbucks.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:40 PM
 
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I say I'm vegan, but I suppose the vegan police would strip me of that title for the fact that I consume honey. I agree with MeepyCat, part of the reason for being vegan is ethical and environmental, and there's something to be said for local sustainable honey over the use of sugar (I still use sugar, too though; but I try to get fair trade organic). I have been vegan (or beegan??) since 2003, and over the years I've come to see that far too many vegans are far to purist and holier-than-thou about the vegan lifestyle. Meanwhile their Earth Balance margarine is killing orangutans (unless you are naive enough to believe in the oxymoron "sustainable palm oil"), or their plastic/polyester wool alternatives will sit in landfills not biodegrading for who knows how long. To me the spirit of veganism is to be empathic to Mother Earth and all the living things on it and optimize for the least amount of suffering of either. This is why I have compromised on honey and ethically harvested wool diapering products; but this is also why I make my own margarine that does not use palm oil. If vegans poo-poo my honey consumption, I can just as easily poo-poo their palm oil consumption. The point is, do what feels right in your heart--you don't have to conform to labels or someone else's proscriptive definition.

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Old 08-12-2014, 10:48 PM
 
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I am vegan/vegetarian for health reasons and raw honey is so beneficial. I think of being vegan as not eating meat protein... but, that's just me. I don't know if that helps, just my 2 cents.

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Old 08-14-2014, 12:33 PM
 
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I think it depends on how the bees are raised. I belive some bees have all their honey taken from them in the winter and are given HFCS, which is obviously lesser nutrition. Beyond that I don't worry about honey. I'm not a vegan. We have our own chickens for eggs and we eat a small amount of cheese. I'd like to get off the cheese, but my husband and son are against it.

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Old 08-19-2014, 03:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the thoughtful replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mum2sarah View Post
far too many vegans are far to purist and holier-than-thou about the vegan lifestyle.
I think this is really the issue here, and you raise excellent points about the environmental impacts of some vegan products. I think I fear people getting offended or turning their nose up at me because I'm not a purist, but I eat 98% vegan and do sometimes use that word even though I'm technically not 100% pure-as-the-driven-snow vegan at all times. I like the term veganish because it gives some wiggle room for things like honey and wool. I just know that as a vegetarian it would bother me if someone calls themself vegetarian but actually eats fish once a month. I would really rather hear that person say "I'm mostly vegetarian" because that's more accurate. OTOH, it's none of my business and if someone wants to identify as vegetarian who occasionally eats meat or fish, it doesn't hurt me so why should I care?

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Originally Posted by mum2sarah View Post
I make my own margarine that does not use palm oil.
I would love the recipe if you feel inclined to share I have been getting really into making my own vegan cheese and spreads and nut milks, and would love to add margarine to this list as store-bought just seems unhealthy, on top of the palm oil issue ~there are brands here in Germany that use olive and other oils but still they just seem unhealthy and over-processed and I'd love to make my own.

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Old 09-07-2014, 04:16 AM
 
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I felt the same way when I first started going Vegan. honey was the last animal product that I gave up but it's really hard 2 ignore the fact that colony collapse disorder is a big problem. taking the bees' honey and replacing it with sugar water is not helping! It has less nutrients and its not their optimal food. is not helping them to deal with the pesticides. its not helping them to deal with them mites. we need bees not honey
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Old 09-07-2014, 04:18 AM
 
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Also honey is in flaming and good organic sugar dies not have all the allergies pollen etc that honey does. Most people don't eat raw honey but it can contain botulism
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveDiva View Post
I felt the same way when I first started going Vegan. honey was the last animal product that I gave up but it's really hard 2 ignore the fact that colony collapse disorder is a big problem. taking the bees' honey and replacing it with sugar water is not helping! It has less nutrients and its not their optimal food. is not helping them to deal with the pesticides. its not helping them to deal with them mites. we need bees not honey
Yeah but if the world went vegan overnight and there was no need for anymore honey production, wouldn't there then be far far FAR fewer bees on the planet?

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Old 09-23-2014, 09:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post
Yeah but if the world went vegan overnight and there was no need for anymore honey production, wouldn't there then be far far FAR fewer bees on the planet?
It's not clear to me how much bees have benefitted from human cultivation, and to what extent they now rely on humans, but we don't really have the option to stop cultivating bees. Cultivated bees make for much more reliable fruit crops. I'm not convinced that failing to harvest honey makes sense, as long as you have to have bees around.

Traditional (as opposed to high-quantity commercial) beekeepers replace a portion of the bees' own honey back in the hive, to sustain the hive over the winter. IIRC, pesticide residues in high-fructose corn syrup have been identified as the cause of colony collapse disorder, so more commercial beekeepers are returning to feeding bees honey. Because honey is produced in all regions, it's not hard to find a local producer and get information about their methods.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
It's not clear to me how much bees have benefitted from human cultivation, and to what extent they now rely on humans, but we don't really have the option to stop cultivating bees. Cultivated bees make for much more reliable fruit crops. I'm not convinced that failing to harvest honey makes sense, as long as you have to have bees around.
That's exactly what I meant. Vegans may think honey is ethically wrong, but realistically speaking, would it even be possible and wouldn't it even be disruptive at this point to stop producing honey?

As I said, I consider myself veganish and for me one of the lines I draw is honey. It just doesn't strike me as worthy of avoiding.

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