Sunday, November 26, 2006

Is honey vegan? No.

This is a tough question. Even some vegans debate this amongst themselves. But, in the end, honey is an animal product and vegans believe that animals are not here for our use. We don't need their products to live and therefore we just don't use them. This includes honey.

Here is a link to a great article about whether honey is vegan or not. All quotes below are from this article.

According to the article above, most honey doesn't come from the backyard honeybee farmer that we all picture in our heads, but rather it comes from honeybee factory farms. Bees are killed. A lot of people think that bees are not killed by the process of humans collecting bee honey. Bees are often killed by being stepped on by the beekeeper or crushed by the frames while the beekeeper is taking the honey. Beekeepers control the hives and keep them from swarming so that they can't just leave if they are unhappy.

The hive dynamics are regulated by the beekeeper, not the bees themselves.

"A successor queen is selected by a human instead of the reigning queen--both of whom may have been "artificially inseminated." "Queens can live for as long as five years but most commercial beekeepers replace them every two years" (Shimanuki & Sheppard, 181) (and often yearly). Yes, "replace" is a euphemism for killing the old queen. Backyard beekeepers also regularly kill their queens. This is done for numerous reasons that all boil down to exerting control over the hive."

Queen Bees often die in transit:
"Queens come from commercial queen suppliers. The image is hundreds of queens with a few nursing bees in individual cages waiting to be flown around the country (Beekeeping). Travel can be rough on the queens; according to Eric Mussen, a UC Davis Extension Apiculturist, "Once at the post office or shipping depot, nearly anything can happen. Queens can be over heated, chilled, left out in the sun for hours (desiccated), banged around in baggage compartments, and exposed to insecticides. Often, the post office or shipping hub fails to contact the customer when the queens arrive and they may sit in storage for days. It is surprising that the queens come through as well as they do" (Mussen). Finally, colonies (hives) are routinely split in half according to what the keeper wants, not the queen."

So basically, when in doubt, leave it out.

Agave Nectar (easily found at Whole Foods or on the web)
Suzanne’s Specialities’ Just Like Honey Rice Nectar
Maple Syrup

Here are some other good articles to read on the subject:


  1. I like to get my honey from a little farm up the road :> I like to know where my food is coming from period.

    You know, LUSH is an awesome company because they label which of their products is vegan and which are not. Oh, I'm so biased, hehheh.

    Mmm I want that cuppycake book in your right column there. It's on my Xmas list.

  2. Oh p.s. I have also substituted Brown Rice Syrup successfully. It also makes a healthy maple syrup replacement.

  3. I thought about posting Brown Rice Syrup too. I don't know why I didn't. Thanks.

  4. I love the fact that Lush posts which products are vegan so I don't have to work so hard. I like their face toner and almond moisturizer.

    My favorite soap used to be the honey soap. I don't have a new fav yet.

  5. I haven't looked recently, but my favorites are Snowcake and Alkmaar. And the new mint one, Ice Blue or somethin' like that.

  6. It's not really a tough question. Honey comes from the bees, they are animals- vegans dont use animal products. If someone feels it's ok to eat honey and use other insect products- (or for that matter eat bacon)- they are free to do so- but they shouldnt call themselves vegan. They are ruining it for the rest of us ( I dont enjoy being served food with honey or cheese, because the waiter knows some vegans who eat this- this is why we have a clear definition of veganism ppl!) Yes there are some situations when it's impossible to avoid harm, after all we live in a non-vegan world, and no one is 100% pure vegan, but honey is ridiculously easy to avoid. And with so many alternatives, I dont understand why anyone makes such a big deal out of it! /peace

  7. I think agave nectar is way tastier than honey anyway. Less cloying and heavy and less aftertaste.