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Honey

Eating honey is not vegan.

Discuss.

I know this has been talked about many a time on VW, but I would like to be involved in the discussion. If you aren't interested in debating if/why/etc. eating honey is not/is vegan, then don't post!

So... you're saying agave nectar is NOT delicious?! I thought the above was a pretty accurate statement!

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I didn't hear anyone say it wasn't delicious

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But I don't think it's a  sustainable position to say that honey consumption is equivalent to meat/ dairy/ etc. It's overall impact is clearly not the same.

Ethical decisions aren't always black and white... Earth Balance uses palm oil, which causes rain forest destruction to the point of endangering several species within the last few years-- so is it still vegan? How much nonrenewable fossil fuel was used to get my vegan sugar processed & brought a thousand miles to me, vs. organic honey from the individually-owned farm down the block? Production of non-organic fruit & veg uses heavy pesticides and GMOs that have a negative impact on all the animals in the farms' whole ecosystems, for miles & miles around; so, if you're not buying organic-only, are you still vegan?!

I have a hard time understanding logic like this.  Well, I understand, but I don't buy it.  

My thing is this:  vegan and sustainable are not the same thing.  Being vegan doesn't imply being sustainable, necessarily.  No one said that purpose of veganism was to be the most sustainable diet possible.  The point of being vegan is to live in a way that exploits animals for food/products to the smallest extent possible.

The fact that GMO's and non-organics have a negative impact on animals (which they do) doesn't have anything to do with eating honey.  The fact that there are larger injustices in the world doesn't mean that fighting a smaller injustice on one front is senseless.  Omni's tend to use that logic ALL THE TIME--"I care about animals, but I care about people more, so I'm not veg*n."  It's not an either/or situation!  It's an "all of the above" statement.  

Also, vegan and ethical aren't equivalent all the time.  We can do unethical vegan things, or ethical non-vegan things.  Again, that doesn't mean that, since some vegan actions are unethical, we should eat honey.  Where is the logic in that?

Honey is the easiest thing to avoid.  Really.  If you can avoid milk, it is 1000 times easier to avoid honey.  And yet people make all these loopholes for honey.  Why?  Sure, there are lots of greater injustices out there, but why give in to eating honey?

Also, the palm oil used in Earth Balance apparently comes from a sustainable source.  I know I doubted this, but I looked into it further and was convinced.  I can find links if you want.

But again, what does palm oil have to do with honey?  Nothing.  Saying you might as well eat honey because palm oil is worse is like saying you might as well eat chicken because veal is worse.  Yeahhhh, not really buying it.

eta: I don't really think eating honey is a small injustice, I actually think it's quite a big deal, but I'm borrowing that mindset from others for argument's sake.

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Why do people come onto a vegan site and talk about eating honey?  It's rude.

I hear where you are coming from.  It's like coming on here and talking about eating eggs or something.  Like, fine, do it, but you don't have to tell all of us about it.  It's like when omni's say, "Well, I'm ok with eating meat.  I'm having meat for dinner.  Mmmmmm."  Um, ok?  Good for you?  I'm not sure the response they're expecting.  

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Glad to know, about Earth Balance... thanks! I was going by info on veganbaking.net-- kudos to EB for not participating in unsustainable practices.

My points above weren't intended to rationalize eating honey; and I don't call myself vegan, because sometimes I occasionally make choices based on sustainability that a purely vegan eater wouldn't make. I DO have a problem with human-caused insect deaths; but if the lesser-harm situation were local honey (for me, right now, it isn't-- no local producers I'm comfortable with) vs conventional sugar-cane production (high pesticides= tons of insect deaths, plus problems for birds etc. that eat the insects), then I might go with the honey. And I stand by my position that, from the combined effect of environmental issues and health impact, local organic honey is not as negative a food as meat or dairy... That said, I don't remember the last time I ate any.  I just think the goal should be to do the least harm possible to other living things-- and people have to determine what that means, within their own personal ethics/ spiritual system of figuring out the world. If that task is approached selfishly, with conclusions reached ahead of time, I guess it could be used to rationalize eating whatever you want to eat; but if approached honestly it's just an ongoing process of thinking things through, in order to make the most positive decisions you can. Palm oil and honey are related because choosing to eat them can  impact a lot of other living things... I don't want to assume either is the 'least-harm' choice without looking carefully at all the facts and choices available.

I just think sometimes there are some 'big picture' more harm/ less harm decisions that aren't always black & white, and for me honey falls in this category. Since the thread started as 'why would people who care about animals eat honey' (paraphrasing), I thought I'd share a slightly different viewpoint than most here... I respect your views very much, & bet we agree on more than we don't.

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i think some people feel the disconnect between bugs and animals imo... i realize eating honey is not vegan so since it is very easy to avoid i don't consume it because i want to follow a vegan diet... though it is hard for me to grasp how these bees are abused, mistreated, etc...i know their honey is not mine to take i understand that argument... if anyone has a good link about this i would love to read it!

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i think some people feel the disconnect between bugs and animals imo... i realize eating honey is not vegan so since it is very easy to avoid i don't consume it because i want to follow a vegan diet... though it is hard for me to grasp how these bees are abused, mistreated, etc...i know their honey is not mine to take i understand that argument... if anyone has a good link about this i would love to read it!

http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

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thank u AC more links r welcome i would love to no more about this!

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Why do people come onto a vegan site and talk about eating honey?  It's rude.

I was under the assumption this site was not only for vegans, but for vegetarians as well.

I think a discussion about honey fit this site rather well. It helps people discuss something that is important to them, that they may not be able to express elsewhere. Food Fight was intended for this, right? Sometimes it is fun to play devil's advocate, and  I think some people need that person whether they want to admit it or not. Being vegan is not a competition.

Honey is an animal product and we all know that, but not all sources of honey come from large operations which harm their bees. In my area honey is one of the only means of income for certain families, and this is something I care about. Although I do not buy it(because I don't eat it), I couldn't see arguing against it with one of these family members. I would feel a little foolish, to say the least.It is easy to demonize it on an internet forum, but when you are talking to someone who produces honey face to face, it is a little more difficult to turn this person into a villain.This is the message I think certain people are trying to point out.No one is saying it is vegan to eat honey. I think it was just a discussion.  right? :o

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actually, I think some people are saying it is vegan, or trying to justify it as a vegan. 

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In my area honey is one of the only means of income for certain families, and this is something I care about. Although I do not buy it(because I don't eat it), I couldn't see arguing against it with one of these family members.

Dairy is the main source of income for some people.  Meat is for others.  That doesn't mean I think these industries should exist.  I don't really care, in the big picture, if an industry fades out of existence.  That happens all the time.  Lots of people's livelihoods used to depend on, say, blacksmithing.  Now, not so much.  Industries change, and jobs change.

I'm not going to argue with or disrespect a dairy farmer face-to-face, either, but that doesn't mean I support his industry.  I don't.   Same with honey.  It's not about villainizing beekeepers, it's about disagreeing with the crux of what an industry is about.

And yes, people on here have tried to say it's somehow exempt from being excluded in a "vegan" diet.  

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Why do people come onto a vegan site and talk about eating honey?  It's rude.

Ok, just gonna voice a few quick things, before moving on to new horizons of debate & discussion...

a) This thread was started by a *vegan* specifically to invite comment, presumably from folks with differing points of view... so, was it rude to start the topic? or just rude to respond?
b) Forum discussions are very, very boring if all participants have identical ideas and opinions; would it be less offensive if every posting, for 27 pages & counting, said, "Yeah, me too?"
c) If you're offended when people present ideas not just like yours, I dunno, maybe "Food Fight" isn't the best place to hang out!  lol

I think the deal with honey is the same deal as with all other foods: educate yourself & eat it or not, based on your own ethical convictions...

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PS- I think now I'd like to debate a topic a little less incendiary & volatile... religion or politics, anyone?

;)

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hh is just speaking with the history of the thread in mind.  AC started the thread when the topic came up in other threads of people who identify as vegan still eating honey.  AC started the topic due to other people's rudeness getting kind of out of hand (I don't recall what the original thread was but I remember the instance).  She made it BECAUSE people in other threads kept saying eating honey was vegan and it was getting very tiring.

It's like this: people don't come on vegweb and talk about how they think it's so great to support the dairy industry.  Likewise for honey.  

I know hh isn't easily offended by other viewpoints.  If that were the case she would have left like 4 years ago......the whole "honey is vegan" or "I rationalize eating honey by..."  thing just gets tired and it's kind of a smack in the face to the spirit of the site.

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yeah, the topic is so old.  If you want to eat honey, fine, just don't ask us to agree with you.

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Ok- full disclosure: food ethics are very important to me, but I may define this term differently than most here... only about 95% vegan, so maybe take this with a grain of garlic sea-salt, so to speak!...

...my point is that the important thing is to make the best decisions you can, to do the least harm you can do...

I certainly respect the position of "no animal anything"..... there are lots of yummy things that are not honey, so I'm not a frequent consumer, and am not saying that everyone should go out & eat some honey right away. If someone's goal is veganism, honey clearly doesn't fit...

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I forgot that I started this thread. I do remember being like ohhhhhhhhmeeeeegod...the honey thing. Still.

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I'll just leave this here..

Quote:
Any vegans making exceptions for honey?

Personally, I love all life. Honeybees are an important part of life, as they pollinate. Less pollination = less vegan-friendly foods. So, if I can help save a dying species, which so important to the survival of my own, it seems like an obligation.. Out of respect.

Purchasing honey products helps fund research to save the dying honeybee population.

This has been on my mind quite a bit lately as my vegan status has been called into question over it. I consume only one animal product: Honey.

Honey has B12 that I need in my diet. And if not for the honeybees, I might only be eating one meal per day.. Thoughts?

Going over opinions of the past. Seems like I'm definitely on the epic fail side of this debate.

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To my knowledge, honey doesn't contain any B12. B12 is made by an enteric bacteria, but I guess there might be honey out there fortified with B12. In which case, taking a supplement is going to be about the same.

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I don't eat honey, although I do see why some vegan would eat it: the bees make the honey, not the same way that cows 'make' milk. Humans get the milk out of the cow and humans don't actually squash a bee to get honey.
From my point of view I still think that it's cruel to have 'a bee farm' in which bees are 'slaves'.

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