Recently, I have gotten a lot of questions about my decision to not eat honey as a vegan. I found it a bit difficult to explain, as the cruelty in the honey industry is not as obvious as in the meat, dairy, and egg industries, so I decided to articulate my thoughts here.
Reasons why Honey is not Vegan:
1. It is a form of animal exploitation. Bees work hard to make their honey. When humans take it from them, bottle it, and sell it, they are making a profit off the bees’ natural body functions, just like the dairy and egg industries do. Bees are not our personal honey making machines. They exist for their own independent purposes. No animals should be exploited as a food source, including bees.
2. Bees need to keep their honey. Bees work hard to make their honey. A single worker bee may visit up to 10,000 flowers in one day, only to produce one teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. In addition, honey provides vital nutrients to the bees, especially during the wintertime. We have no right to take it from them just because we like how it tastes. The bees need and deserve their honey more than we do.
3. Taking honey from bees is stealing. We cannot ask for bees permission to use their honey. However, it is not difficult to deduce that bees do not want humans to take it from them. Why would they prefer to live in a box with a large human intermittently disrupting their hive to steal their hard-earned honey? We must respect that honey is the bees’ property, not ours.
4. Bee farming is often industrialized. Just like other forms of factory farming, industrialized bee farming forces bees into cramped and unnatural environments. With the large amount of honey made available cheaply, the bees inevitably suffer. They are often subjected to genetic manipulations and stressful transportation when their “hive,” reduced to a cabinet, is moved from place to place. Additionally, bees are frequently injured or killed in the honey-harvesting process.
When raised for honey, bees are forced to live here:
When they should be living here:
5. It is unnecessary for humans to take bees’ honey. There are plenty of plant-based sweeteners we can use in our food, such as maple syrup, agave, and a cool product called “Bee Free Honee,” which is made from apples. (Check it out here) With so many delicious alternatives, we may as well let the bees keep their honey. Forcing bees to make sweetener for us is simply unnecessary nowadays.
So this is why I choose to leave honey out of my diet. Honey can be a gray area for many vegans, as bees are not animals (they are insects). However, I extend my circle of compassion to include bees and give them the same respect and freedom as I give to other animals.
More Information about Honey: