Can Vegans Eat Honey? The Question Is, Why Would We?
This one throws those who don't understand what honey is, so to answer the question Can Vegans Eat Honey, we must first take a look at what it is and how it's made. Honey is a sweet, viscous (not vicious) food substance made by and for, the miraculous honeybee. Worker bees collect nectar from nearby flowers, using their tongues to suck up the nectar and they store the nectar in their stomachs. When the bee returns to the hive, it regurgitates (yes, it vomits up) the nectar into the mouths of other worker bees. This process adds enzymes to the goop, making it more concentrated. They then place the 'produce' (bee vomit) into the honeycomb cells, use their wings to fan the combs dry and seal them off with wax to protect the honey. Why do they go through all of this? Because they use the end product as their food source, especially during their hibernation period.
Vegans choose not to eat honey for several reasons, but fundamentally, Bees cannot survive winter without their honey, so to consume it is to partake in their suffering.
Due to the popularity of honey, it's usually made on a commercial scale and this causes a number of issues for the Bees. Commercial beekeepers often use pesticides to control pests and diseases and these pesticides inevitably cause harm to the bees. They also transport the bees over long distances, causing them stress which has been shown to make the bees more susceptible to disease. Commercial beekeepers then kill the bees that are no longer productive to them. Essentially, commercial beekeeping is just another business where profits trump everything else.
It's not just the bees that are impacted though. We depend on bees for global pollination. In fact, without bees, many plants would not be able to reproduce and the knock-on effect of this would be devastating on the environment and our global food supply. Bee populations are drastically declining worldwide due to a number of factors, so it is important to protect bees and their habitats in order to ensure adequate pollination. Honey is not a necessary food for humans, so to continue on this path of destruction simply for taste pleasure is frankly, irresponsible.
There are many reasons why vegans choose not to eat honey, but ultimately, honey is a product of animal exploitation, it harms bees, and it is not a necessary food for humans. There are many other sweeteners available that do not involve killing bees, so why not try one of these next time you want something sweet?
Vegan alternatives to honey:
Brown rice syrup