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 Post subject: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:19 am 
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A few times recently I've had people being confused that I won't eat honey. I know one response could be something along the lines of 'vegans only eat plant products; honey is an animal product' but that sounds as though I'm following rules mindlessly. And I suppose I should understand why I'm doing it if I want to be sure of continuing.

My personal reasons for my diet aren't that I'm against the slaughter, and only a little because of not feeling we have a right to exploit other creatures. Mainly it is because I'm against the awful conditions the animals are kept in and because eating lower down the food chain is more efficient and environmentally friendly. And because dairy is gross and not supposed to be people-food!
So people have said 'well, isn't honey produced [by bees] anyway?' I don't think that's an argument for eating it (cows produce milk in the wild etc) but surely the bees are making it because they want to use it? But I know almost nothing about the honey industry.

Does anyone have any information or resources about honey production and what it's like for the bees involved?

Thanks in advance.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:46 am 
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I'm afraid I don't know enough about honey production and what it's like for the bees involved, but knowing that honey is something that bees vomit up is enough to keep me away from it.


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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:50 am 
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Yeah, I usually just say it's bee vomit/it comes from animals, I don't eat animal products, so I don't eat honey.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:54 am 
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http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm
and
http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-h ... honey.html

a googlesearch on this brings up a lot of horrible things (like a slate article, which is really kind of decent til it veers into "well since you can't be 100% totally vegan, why bother, pass the cheesesteak" territory)

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:55 am 
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I don't eat honey because I don't like the taste of it, so I avoid it as much as possible.

I can't say I agree with a lot of arguments against it that I see vegans make about it, though. First everyone acts like it's gross because it's bee vomit, but then say the bees make it so it's not ours to take. But like, if my dog voms, I'm not going to just leave it because it's his. And I'm as much against killing insects as the next vegan, but it confuses me to see vegans talking about you're-a-horrible-vegan-if-you-eat-honey and then a week later talking about not feeling bad about killing flies or whatever.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:00 pm 
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Yeah, but Chester isn't barfing so he can store that barf for food later. Hopefully.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:29 pm 
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True. I don't really know much about honey or bees and bees and their honey. What do bees do with honey after they've made it?

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:34 pm 
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I usually talk about this Michael Pollan article http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archi ... factories/

The second half talks about bees being used for pollination. This is what actually stopped me eating honey. I didn't really care about it much when I first became vegan, but this showed more about bees being really exploited.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:54 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
I usually talk about this Michael Pollan article http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archi ... factories/

The second half talks about bees being used for pollination. This is what actually stopped me eating honey. I didn't really care about it much when I first became vegan, but this showed more about bees being really exploited.

But the bees in the article aren't being used for honey production, but for almond production ("Pimping bees is the whole of the almond business for these beekeepers since almond honey is so bitter as to be worthless"), so wouldn't it make more sense to boycott almonds?

And to answer Fee's question, bees store the honey and use it as a food supply for the winter months.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:47 pm 
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yeah, I know, it's just an example of the exploitation of bees. I just use that to point out why I don't think it's ok to exploit bees for food production in general.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:47 pm 
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Honey is food for the bees.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:24 pm 
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I don't agree with the fact I've *watched* beekeeping, they terrorize the bees with smoke so they can STEAL their food. Something seems inherently wrong with terrorizing another living creature for something not even remotely necessary to living for us...

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:38 pm 
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torque wrote:
http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

I refer people to this website a lot. I've gotten good feedback, people find it very interesting and usually say that they never thought of bees like that before.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:34 am 
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hoveringdog™ wrote:
ijustdiedinside wrote:
I usually talk about this Michael Pollan article http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archi ... factories/

But the bees in the article aren't being used for honey production, but for almond production ("Pimping bees is the whole of the almond business for these beekeepers since almond honey is so bitter as to be worthless"), so wouldn't it make more sense to boycott almonds?


Honestly, I think this is one of the sticky wickets of veganism. Many, many insects have to be killed for vegetable production. Even organic food uses pesticides, just organic ones. I learned this in my own backyard garden, with cucumber beetles, squash vine borers, leaf miners, white flies, etc.

I still think there are some good arguments here for not eating honey. But it is sort of a reminder that as hard as we try, there's no way to avoid some kind of suffering/exploitation. Which makes me go off on an existential tangent and it is only 8:30 AM.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:34 pm 
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I only stopped eating honey when people would yell at me because honey isn't vegan. Honestly, I avoid subjects like honey and bone char when talking to non-vegans. So much more animal products go into the making of a mass produced vegetable, organic or not, (including animal bones) that the bone char thing starts bordering on ridiculous. I don't want veganism to start sounding ridiculous, and it doesn't matter to the animal whether or not thie biproducts were directly or indirectly involved in the making of a piece of food.

So I'll just say "Some vegans avoid honey because [any of the reasons listed here]." Personally, I think that the reasons for avoiding honey are just as valid a reason for avoiding almonds or oranges or apples, which I don't. But I also don't want to argue with vegans endlessly about veganism, so I don't eat it. And yes, sometimes these things do start seeming like mindless rules, but when I think about the overall issue and what is happening to animals every second, I don't mind following a few of them to keep the peace.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:04 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:08 pm 
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IsaChandra wrote:
I only stopped eating honey when people would yell at me because honey isn't vegan. Honestly, I avoid subjects like honey and bone char when talking to non-vegans. So much more animal products go into the making of a mass produced vegetable, organic or not, (including animal bones) that the bone char thing starts bordering on ridiculous. I don't want veganism to start sounding ridiculous, and it doesn't matter to the animal whether or not thie biproducts were directly or indirectly involved in the making of a piece of food.

So I'll just say "Some vegans avoid honey because [any of the reasons listed here]." Personally, I think that the reasons for avoiding honey are just as valid a reason for avoiding almonds or oranges or apples, which I don't. But I also don't want to argue with vegans endlessly about veganism, so I don't eat it. And yes, sometimes these things do start seeming like mindless rules, but when I think about the overall issue and what is happening to animals every second, I don't mind following a few of them to keep the peace.


+1. This for me with honey, bone char, beer, wine, and cereal/products with D3. And honestly, usually I'm crappy about watching out for wine and I never source my sugar. But I do honey, D3, and beer to "keep the peace" and better rep veganism as a whole. Also, agave and brown rice syrup are fine subs for honey that it ain't no thang, anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:15 pm 
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Off topic: What about food that's fried in the same oil? Like french fries in a restaurant that also has chicken fingers or whatever? My husband (who's omni anyway) always says that's not really vegan. I try to get good sugar, but sometimes I just have to have a cookie. And sometimes it's something with non-organic sugar (but otherwise veg, of course).

I'm glad the OP brought this up because it comes up a lot for me. I am lucky in that I don't really like honey anyway, so I say, "I don't really like it anyway." And people just accept that and the convo can drop. (Especially because it usually starts out with: I know some crazies/wackos/extremists don't even eat honey because it comes from animals--weird, right? And me responding, well actually...)

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:45 pm 
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I'm so glad to hear everyone's responses! I've been trying to make myself care about bees for a year and I just don't. Ha. I hate those little forkers. BUT I've not eaten honey for most of my life because I don't like it, so it works out.


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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:46 pm 
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ndpittman wrote:
Off topic: What about food that's fried in the same oil? Like french fries in a restaurant that also has chicken fingers or whatever?


That doesn't bother me, I don't think chicken particles are going to glom onto my fries. It seems to me like if you think that is a problem, you probably shouldn't eat at places that serve meat at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:53 pm 
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mrsbadmouth wrote:
ndpittman wrote:
Off topic: What about food that's fried in the same oil? Like french fries in a restaurant that also has chicken fingers or whatever?


That doesn't bother me, I don't think chicken particles are going to glom onto my fries. It seems to me like if you think that is a problem, you probably shouldn't eat at places that serve meat at all.


I just hate it when my husband says stuff like, "That's not really vegan." I'm I'll just grow a pair and tell him to shut the fork up. Sometimes I just really want some fries!

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:55 pm 
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I don't know how sentient bees are. I don't know how much suffering is involved in honey production. But it's so easy to avoid I don't see why I should not.

I also don't like talking about honey with omnivores. They already think we're weird enough as it is.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:38 pm 
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I don't eat honey because I'm saving it to rub on my cork.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:07 pm 
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just mumbles wrote:
I don't eat honey because I'm saving it to rub on my cork.


Hmm. This is a most interesting take on the whole thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Honey- how to explain to omnis why we don't eat it?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:17 pm 
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ndpittman wrote:
mrsbadmouth wrote:
ndpittman wrote:
Off topic: What about food that's fried in the same oil? Like french fries in a restaurant that also has chicken fingers or whatever?


That doesn't bother me, I don't think chicken particles are going to glom onto my fries. It seems to me like if you think that is a problem, you probably shouldn't eat at places that serve meat at all.


I just hate it when my husband says stuff like, "That's not really vegan." I'm I'll just grow a pair and tell him to shut the fork up. Sometimes I just really want some fries!

I'm concerned with animal suffering, not some dogmatic purity. I would much rather be able to eat at a variety of places and show that veganism isn't all that hard rather than only frequent vegan restaurants where I know the oil is pure.

Also, maybe tell your husband that if he's so worried about what is and isn't vegan maybe he should stop eating animal products.

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