Why Honey Is Considered NOT Vegan.
Why Honey Is Considered NOT Vegan.
Honey is a product made by animals that is frequently mistaken as a vegan-friendly product to use. Its a misconception to think that bees are producing honey for the sole benefit of human animals, which couldn't be further from the truth.
Bees produce honey for bees and it jeopardises the bees health when humans harvest the honey to use for themselves. The definition of veganism as given by the Vegan Society excludes not just cruelty but also exploitation.
Why bees produce honey.
Since honey is the only food source bees have, its used by them during bad weather circumstances and in the winter time.
Its a huge job for a honey bee ( which is the bee used in honey production ) to collect enough nectar from flowers to fill his stomach Did you know a single bee visits up to 1500 flowers just to get a belly full?
Honey bees possess a special, second stomach which hold enzymes that break down nectar into honey.
So when the bee comes back to his home (the hive) , he spits out (by regurgitation) the nectar so that the house bees ( the ones that live in the hive) can complete the honey making process.
Each bee only produces a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime and honey is fundamental for the well being of the hive.
DID YOU KNOW? 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.
The unethical practices in the honey industry
Its not true that collecting honey from the hives helps the honey bee population thrive.
The honey that gets removed from the hive by the honey farmer gets substituted with a sugar substitute which doesn't have even a part of the nutrients the honey has. Also it lacks the fats and vitamins of the honey.
The bees then have to wear themselves to the bone so to speak in order to replace the honey.
Also, honey bees are specifically bred for increased productivity. At times like this, when the honey bees are already endangered, selective breeding narrows the population gene pool and increases susceptibility to disease and large-scale die-offs.
Several lethal diseases are caused by importing different species of bees for use in hives, which is like bringing the Spanish flu to the Native Americans.
These imported diseases are then spread to the thousand of other pollinators we and other animals rely on, disputing the common myth that honey production is good for our environment.
Did you know that many hives are culled post-harvest to keep farmer costs down?
And did you know that beekeepers on many occasions prevent the queen bees from starting new colonies elsewhere by clipping their wings? If a queen bee leaves and starts a new colony elsewhere this would mean loss of production and gains for the beekeeper.
Do you see how much exploitation and abuse is involved in the hone business?
The honey industry just like any other industry is profit-driven and the welfare of the bees is secondary to commercial gain. Decidedly NOT vegan.
The environmental effects
Because of the mass breeding of honeybees , the populations of other competing nectar-foraging insects, including other bees gets affected.
Overwhelmed by the ever-inflating quantities of farmed bees, the numbers of native bumblebees and various bird species have declined.
Honey into the cooler parts of Europe leaves a huge footprint. Most of the European honey gets imported from Turkey.
Vegan alternatives to Honey
Humans can do without honey. Bees can't!
Here are the vegan alternatives for those of us vegans with a sweet tooth: maple syrup, molasses, butterscotch syrup, golden syrup (pictured: right) and agave nectar are all great options, whether you need a product for baking, cooking, as a sweetener for drinks, or to eat a spoon of out of the jar who you have a sugar craving.