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Vegans please explain why honey is wrong

(67 Posts)
annodomini Sun 17-Jan-21 12:39:25

My son is a committed vegan and I have argued with him about the exclusion of honey from the vegan diet. I can't imagine that the bees feel hard done by for supplying humans with their honey. I know very little of the process of beekeeping, but I would argue that beekeepers are doing the environment a favour in that if bees were not around to pollinate crops, we would have (and perhaps will have) serious food shortages.
I feel the same way about eggs. I abhor industrial egg production, but what's wrong with eating eggs that are produced by humanely treated hens?

GagaJo Sun 17-Jan-21 12:44:30

I have a vague notion of this, but look forward to reading from someone with real knowledge.

Hollyhock1 Sun 17-Jan-21 12:46:21

I thought the bees would eat the honey as their winter food supply, if the bee keeper hadn't removed it? As I understand, not all their honey is removed? Obviously I'm no expert!! As for eggs, not too sure on that one, esp. if the hens are free range living happily.

Peasblossom Sun 17-Jan-21 12:53:36

Commercial beekeepers often kill the bees to get the honey.

Many vegans believe that we should not exploited any animal for our own use.

I’m not vegan, never will be, but if he doesn’t want to eat honey what’s the problem! His choice.

Septimia Sun 17-Jan-21 12:54:34

No-one eating honey, no bees - simple. Of course there would be wild bees, but in much smaller numbers so insufficient for the pollination of food crops to feed vegans. Beekeepers make sure their bees have enough food for the winter, otherwise they'd all die off.

Similarly, if no-one ate eggs there'd be no chickens (assuming the meat isn't being eaten). The eggs we eat aren't fertilised, so we're not 'killing' chicks.

If we didn't drink milk or eat meat, there'd be no cows, sheep or pigs. The system wouldn't be balanced and sustainable.

But food production should be as kind as possible to both the environment and animals.

Septimia Sun 17-Jan-21 12:57:28

Peasblossom I've never heard of commercial bees being killed for the honey. It defeats the object because if you've killed them you don't have any to produce next year's honey.

It's like saying sheep are killed for their fleeces when they only get a haircut.

lemsip Sun 17-Jan-21 12:57:42

googled this. plenty on there

'For some vegans, this extends to honey, because it is produced from the labor of bees. ... Honey-avoiding vegans believe that exploiting the labor of bees and then harvesting their energy source is immoral — and they point out that large-scale beekeeping operations can harm or kill bees'

Well I never is all I can say!

Callistemon Sun 17-Jan-21 12:58:14

I'm not vegan but I think that irresponsible honey production is wrong and could be causing diseases in the bee populations of the world.
Removing all their honey, with its nutrients, and giving them sugar substitutes surely can't be good for their health longterm?
However, I see nothing wrong and much that is beneficial in responsible honey production as long as the honey bees are cared for properly too.
People have been doing this for thousands of years.

Honey bees are only a tiny part of the bee population; there are about 250 species of bees in the UK and 20,000 different types in the world.

If you want to rescue a tired bee that has been trapped indoors you can give it white sugar in a teaspoon of water.

We do need to care for our bees.

HurdyGurdy Sun 17-Jan-21 13:08:46

I had quite the discussion with a vegan colleague of mine, who kept rescued chickens. She used to bring the eggs into work for us, and I couldn't understand why she wouldn't eat them herself. The chickens were then living a charmed life, were doing what comes naturally to chickens, so no exploitation involved, so why not eat the eggs. She couldn't explain, just saying that as a vegan she wouldn't eat or use any animal product or by product.

Witzend Sun 17-Jan-21 13:13:07

A veggie dd and family recently acquired 3 ex battery hens, which were truly pitiful to look at at first, but their feathers have now largely re-grown and they’re so much stronger and more active, and are laying well.

I did ask her previously what on earth was wrong with free range eggs - her reply was that free range or not, the newly hatched male chicks are seen as useless and so are slaughtered.

A sister in law who had ex battery hens for years, told me that the producers only keep them for a year, after which they go to slaughter. Yet some of hers lived for 7 or 8 years.

BlueBelle Sun 17-Jan-21 13:21:55

I think it’s such a small amount of vegans that don’t eat honey that I see no reason why we are questioning them it’s their choices surely perhaps there doesn’t have to be a solid reason the fact that they are uncomfortable with it should be enough The same with eggs

Peasblossom Sun 17-Jan-21 13:27:48

For big honey factories it’s more commercially viable to kill off the bees at the end of the honey season and buy in new stock at the beginning of the year from bee breeders.

Even for small caring producers there’s some ‘collateral damage’ in getting the honey which is why it has to be filtered to remove wax, debris and bits of bee.

I don’t much like honey but when I buy, I buy from a local keeper just up the road who has skeps in her garden.

Sparklefizz Sun 17-Jan-21 13:40:36

I don’t much like honey but when I buy, I buy from a local keeper just up the road who has skeps in her garden.

Bet it tastes amazing too, Peasblossom

Marmight Sun 17-Jan-21 13:45:37

There’s a bit about bees 🐝 here. I’m surprised vegans eat anything at this rate! DD tried it for a few months but decided life was too short and returned to vegetarianism.

Septimia Sun 17-Jan-21 13:49:09

When it comes down to it, any of us should eat and drink the things we like and not criticise or be criticised.

So vegetarians and vegans shouldn't complain about meat-eaters and vice versa, even if they don't agree with their choices

annodomini Sun 17-Jan-21 13:53:17

DS also informs me that vegans won't eat figs because each fruit has a dead wasp at its centre. I don't know if this is a myth, but if a wasp has decided to commit suicide, I can't imagine why it should be wrong to eat the fig! I don't like figs anyway, but I thought this might be interesting.

Peasblossom Sun 17-Jan-21 13:59:03

That sent me scurrying off to Wicki.

He’s quite right. The female wasp lays her eggs and dies snide the fig.

Kittye Sun 17-Jan-21 13:59:15

I’m not sure how the COVID-19 vaccine is produced but is it acceptable in veganism ?

Peasblossom Sun 17-Jan-21 13:59:31

Inside. Snide. Honestly, I ask you!

Chardy Sun 17-Jan-21 14:16:36

On the subject of milk, it isn't natural for cows to be continually lactating. While a cow's life span could be 20 years, their milking prowess drops off after about 7 years, and they're usually then sold for slaughter

EllanVannin Sun 17-Jan-21 14:22:41

Saving forests is more important !

Chardy Sun 17-Jan-21 14:23:11

There are thousands of species of bees that pollinate many different plants. There are only seven recognised species of honey bee, and they only pollinate specific crops.

GillT57 Sun 17-Jan-21 14:29:12

EV Interestingly enough, it is the destruction of forests, specifically rain forests in places such as Brazil, to create grazing land for cattle for human consumption, that is the reason cited by many vegans for their decision.

GreyKnitter Sun 17-Jan-21 14:31:06

My husband is a bee keeper and works with a local bee farmer. They def don’t kill off their bees! Vegans are opposed to bee products including honey because the bee keeps/ farmers take their honey and wax which they consider to be inhumane and upsetting the cycle of nature. Without bee keepers there would be a lot less bees and therefore pollinations levels would be much lower. We need bees and bee keepers! Ps. I’m not a great fan of honey but use it my cooking and I’m allergic to bee stings but wouldn’t let my husband get rid of his hives when he offered. I love having them in the garden.

GreyKnitter Sun 17-Jan-21 14:31:56

Ps. Having honey bees in the garden also attracts other species of bees.