Confused about Insects (honey)
So, I've been vegan for a year. First, let me just say that I went vegetarian for the animals. I went vegan for health reasons.
Here is what I don't understand about being a vegan - why avoid honey? Insects and I get along ... sort of. As long as they stay outside, I leave them alone. But, once they come inside, they will die at my hand. I can't stand them. Especially roaches - those die a very quick death. Mosquitoes - I slap them. I don't slap any bees around because that just gets them agitated and they'll slap me, lol.
I'm in my last year of getting a masters in biology. So, I know that the nerve system of mammals and insects is VERY different. Namely, bugs don't have much of one. So, they don't feel a whole lot of pain. In fact, they lose a leg ... and keep on living with no problems. Unlike with mammals who feel physical pain and emotions, and would not casually walk off a chopped off leg, bugs work differently.
So, because of my attitude towards bugs (yuck) and because of what I know about them as a biology student, I eat honey. I also only buy organic honey. Although the honeybee population in non-organic honey is declining, this is not true for organic honeybees.
I guess that's my question - why avoid honey? And if you DO avoid honey, do you also avoid killing all bugs? Roaches in the house? Mosquitoes on your arm? That sort of thing.
Just curious. :)
I avoid honey because I try to avoid using ANY animal, for any reason.
As for killing bugs... mosquitos get swatted. And if it's in my house, I try to take it outdoors, though I'm not always so patient.
My understanding why some vegans avoid honey is because bees can be killed during the collection process and also it is considered explotation of an animal/insect. I think if you go to PETAs website they have a section about this.
I tend to feel how you do. I avoid commercial honey, but I think organic is mostly okay. I have a friend who keeps bees and absolutely loves to do it and she brings me a jar of honey every year. Delicious honey from happy bees (if bees can really be happy) that eat pollen from local flowers. It's SO cool hearing this lady talk about what different flower crops in each season affect the batches of honey.
This lady really loves her bees, and I think that if she can happily eat the honey they produce, well, who am I to wave my arms and protest?
But bees are not animals.
Kingdom: Metazoa (animals)
Series: Apiformes (bees)
I tried to find July 14th show of The Splendid Table on NPR. I found it, but the audio is in a single hour block. There was a segment about bee keeping. The small scale bee keepers collect the excess honey. The bees collect more than they need, so the woman in the interview collected the difference. She sounded like she thinks of her bees like some people think of their dogs or cats, so she probably takes really good care of them. The large corporate bee keepers replace the honey with sugar water, which isn't as good for the bees.
I studied bees in college and everytime I opened the hive, bees got smashed in the box when I closed it back up. There's really no way to avoid it. The half smashed bees definitely looked like they knew they were being smashed.
I don't use honey because there are so many other alternatives. There's agave syrup that's a bit thinner than honey. I also have Clearly Maple syrup, which has been reduced so it's thick like honey.
Sorry, I meant mammals. ;D
:D Got it! (I'm a biologist myself.)
I wasn't vegan when I was in school. How is it, being a vegan working on a biology masters?
A friend of mine was vegan while in a wildlife program, but it was hard for her. We took entomology together and I had to pin her beetles because they were so much thicker it grossed her out.
I've heard of honey harvest being called 'robbing' bees. To my mind, it's not terribly different to milking cows: taking the 'extra' food they produce, to feed ourselves. Of course, modern commercialised harvests aren't like this at all - I was thinking of an ideal world, where we only take what we need, if anything, from the animals. i.e. People would have their house cow, with its calf, and they'd have their beehive, with its population which would keep on living and giving year after year. *shrug* :-\
I too only buy small-farm, "kind" honey produced by the religious orders here or other small organic farms. Thanks for clearing up the "sugar element"--most commercially produced honey here tastes like sugarwater! It also says "product of the EEC" which means that they combine honey from all over Europe...and we won't go there. There are huge storage tanks in some facilities known as "the great European honey lake." This applies to the cheaper kinds of wine (the ones that come in cartons) as well.
My favourite locally produced honey tastes like orange blossom because that's what the bees feed on. Eucalyptus honey--not so much. It's touted as being "good for you" but I can't get past the taste! A friend from Oz had the same complaint, so it's not just me.
Plus, I eat organic honey so obviously I have no ethical issue with insects.
Ironically, everything that I've learned while getting my biology degree sometimes makes me TOO much of a scientist to understand certain aspects of veganism. For instance, bees. And, also, things like pearls and silk. It's hard for me to understand how someone can exploit an oyster by taking it's pearl. I doubt the oyster notices. Obviously, digging out the oysters can hurt the ecosystem and I am opposed to that. But, oyster farms - eh, they don't really bother me. Same with silk worms. The scientist in me says they have little more consciousness than a carrot or other vegetable. So, when I see "exploitation of oysters" anywhere ... I'm skeptical. The scientist in me rears its ugly head, lol.
Sometimes I think I need more emotion involved to really understand all the aspects of veganism. I can feel loads of emotion for mammals, birds, and fish. But, I can't feel any for some insects, worms, or oysters. And that comes from my biological background, what I've studied, and what I know about organisms.
so would you eat oysters or bugs? just curious.
Best solution is to buy local honey. ORganic is good, and usually is a good sign that the bees aren't killed, but the best way is to buy local honey.
Added benefit, it will help with allergies!
So, I know that the nerve system of mammals and insects is VERY different. Namely, bugs don't have much of one. So, they don't feel a whole lot of pain.
And, also, things like pearls and silk. It's hard for me to understand how someone can exploit an oyster by taking it's pearl. I doubt the oyster notices. Obviously, digging out the oysters can hurt the ecosystem and I am opposed to that. But, oyster farms - eh, they don't really bother me.
The thing about oysters is that they start secreting nacre, which makes the pearl, in the reaction to the discomfort of a sand or something getting into their soft tissue. Then, the pressense of the nacre covered sand granule bothers the oyster, so it tries to sooth itself by secreting more nacre. During harvest, the oysters are opened, thereby killing them.
Everyone makes their own decisions about what's vegan, tho'.
well, this is a very interesting discussion. I, personally, don't worry much about honey. I don't eat it much, but when it's in foods, I don't freak out - and I sometimes put it on toast when I'm craving something REALLY sweet. I'll definitely buy organic, compassionately made honey - locally.
yeah - I've also heard that if you eat local honey, you can build up a tolerance for area pollen, and it can clear allergies, or at least help with allergies. I don't know the exact science behind it, but it makes sense, doesn't it?
I'm not vegan, but I do avoid silk....It kinda grosses me out. The larvae are basically boiled to death in their cocoons before being unwrapped and discarded. It's baby bug murder on a massive scale.