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Do vegans eat honey?

by Bryony Harrison (follow)
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Do vegans eat honey?

It is produced by bees, but it does not come from a bee in the same way as eggs do from chickens and milk does from cows.

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By definition, a vegan diet means eating no animal products at all, and honey is an animal product, so no, they don't. Vegan is a lifestyle though, not just the diet, so vegans don't use animal products for other things either (so they don't wear or use leather, silk or wool etc.).

What do you mean it doesn't come from a bee in the same way? It's a secretion from the bee's body, like milk is from a cow. You don't just squeeze it out of the bee, but most people don't drink milk right of of the cow or eat eggs right out of the chicken either. I'm not sure why you view it as different.
Just from the Wikipedia, though obviously you can find better sources if you want to go looking:
"Vegans do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fowl, game or seafood, eggs, dairy or any other animal products, such as gelatin. Dietary vegans might use animal products in clothing (as leather, wool and silk), toiletries and similar.[93] Ethical veganism extends not only to matters of food but also to the wearing or using of animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodification of animals.[94] The British Vegan Society will certify a product only if it is free of animal involvement as far as possible and practical, including animal testing.[95]"

Someone who eats no meat, eggs or dairy but eats honey is technically a vegetarian.
Since people were asking why not, it's because the honey isn't produced for humans to use, and doesn't belong to us, and some of the bees die when it is harvested. You could argue that that's fine because they're only bees and eat honey if you want, that just makes you not a vegan. We're lucky if we get to choose what do or don't want to eat. We have more choice here in Australia than most people ever have in the history of the world, so more ethical decisions to make.
Thank you, Jennifer, that's very helpful. I was asking because I have only heard it commented about meat, fish, eggs, and dairy before I never thought about honey until just now, so it made me wonder.

What I meant by different is that bees collect the raw materials (pollen) in order to produce honey (like humans collect raw materials to make things out of them). Cows and chickens etc, don't collect raw materials as such.
I see. It's kind of the same though. Milk is made (more or less) from blood. Cows eat grass and grains, that's the raw materials they use to process and make milk to feed their young (though humans steal it and kill most of the male calves, that's where veal comes from). Similarly chickens use food and shell grit (laying hens need extra calcium to keep up with laying so many eggs, far more than they would have done in the wild) to make eggs. I guess the honey is more processed than actually made from scratch by the bees. I hadn't thought of it like that before. They do make it at great expense though (it takes them a lot of energy) and need it for their hive to survive.

I'm not really morally opposed to beekeeping. I think it's a really interesting subject, though I don't know too much about it never having kept bees myself. I've seen videos online of a type of bee hive that allows excess honey to drain without disturbing the bees. That seems better, though I know some vegans don't like that either because it's still stealing from the bees. I've also heard of people keeping bees and not harvesting the honey at all, just because they want to help the bees survive since they are essential to pollination.
'Airing your knowledge' somewhat, Jennifer!
by donjo
I think I read or watched a documentary at some point that said bee keeps only harvest the excess honey made by the bees because they make more than is actually needed, but I'm a bit foggy on the details now, so I can't be sure how accurate that is. I think beer keeping is good idea given how endangered they are becoming. The more beekeeper a there are, the more bees.
That might be true about only being extra, Bryony, I don't know. Would be interesting to find out. I think the threat of bees dying out has been exaggerated a bit in the media (there's some weird stuff going on with environmental lobbying, hard to know who to believe with some of it) but more bees seems like a good thing.

Yep, donjo, knowledge is for sharing. Though that was more just laying out the thought process and trying to follow Bryony's line of thinking.
One would think 'maybe' they do eat honey, after all it is produced in a different form.

I know some vegans that do....and hey! why not, it is an amazing food source.
Thanks, Jonaj.
you're very welcome :)

by jonaja
Better question: WHY are there vegans anyway?
A most unhealthy life choice, & very peculiar to boot.
I'm a casual Vegan.....so I stay away from most meats, but there are a tiny few I will eat.
by jonaja
Jonaj if you eat any meat at all you're not a vegan or a vegetarian. It might be more accurate to say you eat mostly plant foods. And while I'm sure Donjo is just fishing, it's not an unhealthy diet. There are plenty of healthy vegans out there. There are unhealthy ones too, just as there are unhealthy omnivores. It's more a matter of common sense than anything, just making sure you get enough of what your body needs, which is perfectly possible with a plant based diet.
Typical wacky reply from you Jennifer, & you're WRONG again, as to my reason!
I don't believe vegan IS healthy, that's my choice, & I would never partake. They look very unhealthy, & sallow any I've met. IMO, humans' just can't live on plants alone.
by donjo
Humans can and do live on just plants. Some take supplements, some don't. However, I didn't say you should become vegan. I'm not either. Eat what you like, and I hope it makes you happy.
Oh dear! You & I must speak different forms of English, Jennifer, because no where in my reply did I state that I thought you asked me to become vegan!

And yes, I WILL eat what I want, & it happens to be well-balanced meals, of various foods, in moderation. This I've done all my life.
by donjo
I was responding to your stressing that it was your choice and you would never partake. No need to get annoyed.
Am not annoyed, & you could've just ended at your first sentence just then, but no, you had to have a go at me, & this is what you do in all your replies.
Can't understand why you had to write FOUR huge diatribes above, as you say you're not vegan.
by donjo
Jennifer you have the patience of a saint dealing so well with these comments.
by norma
Butting in, yet again, with unwarranted, & unwanted useless comment, aren't you, norma?
You're like a little yapping dog, unable to make your own life, just annoying everyone else.
by donjo
Thanks Norma, never mind Donjo, she's just doing what she does here. We're probably all used to it by now. This is a topic that interests me because I eat a lot of vegan food (I don't eat meat or dairy, so a lot of stuff I eat is vegan by default) and have some vegan friends who find it annoying when people don't understand the whole "no animal products" thing and offer them fish or chicken. There seems to be a lot of myths and wrong information out there about vegans. Sometimes I try to correct those when they come up.
Jennifer, PLEASE at least have the courtesy, & interest, to write my name, as I write it, with a small 'd', especially if you want to berate me.
Bad mannered all round, actually, which is the usual abruptness for you, in your comments.
You certainly get 'involved' if it's a subject you THINK you have much knowledge.

by donjo
It's usually customary to captialise names, and regarded as disrespectful not to, so I didn't know that would be an issue here. Not to mention that "donjo" is presmably a pseudonym as most people use on this site, and people are not usually too hung up about those. Since it bothers you, "donjo" it is (unless it's at the beginning of a sentence). I don't want to "berate" you. When I said you were fishing I was referring to your comment that vegans were "peculiar", which isn't the first time you've said something like that about vegans or vegetarians on this site, because it sounded like you were looking for an argument with that comment. I won't argue with you about it because because it's an opinion and therefore subjective and you're entitled to think whatever you want about other people's diets (though I'm a little puzzled why they seem to bother you. Maybe they don't, you have just mentioned it a few times so it sounds that way). However, I commented on the "unhealthy" part because I strongly believe it to be untrue, and I think it's reasonable for there to be a bit of back and forth with disagreements of opinions as long as we are not insulting to each other. I don't make any claims to be an expert on veganism. I just know what I have personally experienced, and observed. For example, there are vegan Olympic athletes, who display great strength and endurance so that would seem to indicate that it is possible to be vegan and healthy.

I don't need to be an expert just to know about, or look up, the definition of the term. It's not of vital importance to me, but it can be an annoyance and I have sometimes in the past accidentally been part of the problem since I ate mostly vegetarian food, but sometimes fish (making me not truly vegetarian), which confused people, so it's almost like I have ground to make up there in a way. Vegan is a term that's misused a lot and that leads to confusion at times, which can mean that it's not enough to order something "vegan", I might need to ask whether it has dairy etc. So the more people who know what it means, the easier it is for people who want to really eat vegan food. By saying this I'm not making fun of anybody for not knowing what it meant. There are so many different diets out there (though being vegan isn't just a diet you know what I mean) and so many terms and some crossover between the things people on them can and can't eat (like for example lots of vegan food is organic, so sometimes people think vegan must be organic, or organic must be vegan when they don't really have anything to do with each other).

When you say you are not annoyed, I think maybe you don't realise that is how you come across at times. I think that is probably to do with using lots of exclamation marks and words in all caps, which sounds (so to speak) as though you are shouting. I'm not saying you can't do that, obviously you can if you feel like it, but you might want to be aware of how it comes across. Though obviously you must know it comes across as rude if you call people yapping dogs or say they are inferior to you. Conversely, the tone I am shooting for is chatty, looking to discuss the ins and outs of questions in a way that's respectful but fun, and hopefully learn things sometimes. I wouldn't call what I've posted here "diatribes" because I think that implies angry ranting, and that's not what I'm doing. I'm not sure which part of it came across that way.

Bryony brought up a point of view about honey that I'd never thought of before so I found that interesting, so I have learned something (that there is another way of thinking of it I hadn't thought of). I must be off, hope you are enjoying the site. Have a lovely day.
Jennifer, I do NOT, at anytime, write something to make an argument. I write what I think, & feel about anything. I'm a very 'straight down the line' person, & don't, under any circumstance, 'suffer fools' of people, which they're some on this site.

I consider the 'sharing of knowledge' a very good thing, but in less verbose language. My career involved sending telexes, so one learned how to write very succinctly, as every letter of the Alphabet cost money to telex.

As my 'name' was allocated by this site, there was NO choice of way it's written, but I stil prefer small 'd', as is.
Your understanding appreciated.
by donjo
Abrupt or verbose? Lol. I hope someday you find the perfect Goldilocks comment.
by donjo
I don't see why not. It is produced naturally.
Honey is a animal by-product. Theoritically, Vegans should not eat, but then there is so much of honey supplementation in foods and drinks.
Vegans are very silent on the topic, because they'll starve to death
Dr harold
What food and drinks have honey supplementation in? I don't actively avoid honey, but i would have thought that would be pretty easy to do if you wanted to. It's not in most premade juices, soft drinks, baked goods or ready meals and cooking without it is very simple (if you have a recipe that calls for honey you can use maple syrup or agave instead).
Well I want to know what the bees do with the honey ? Do they eat it or live in it or bath in it or what ?
Hi Fran

Bees use honey as food source.
Thanks Bryony, I didn't realise that. I didn't know what bees ate. I think I may have thought about something like flowers or something along those lines. Just goes to show, you are never too old to learn.
by fran.
Bees eat royal jelly, pollen, and honey. The larvae all start off on royal jelly, but as they get older all but the queen are weened off it and given solely honey and pollen. They make the honey because it can be stored over the seasons, unlike flowers, which will die at the end of the season - which would mean they have no food.
Well if the older bees eat honey as their main food source, and we are taking it to spread on our toast etc., the bees are probably feeling a little bit dark on us, and a little bit hungry because of us.
by fran.
Who knows! Vegans have their own rules so each one is different.
by Finy
I think you'd have to ask a vegan...
by Vee
Still waiting for a vegan to answer.
Come to think of it, I don't think I know any vegans. I imagine it would be a difficult lifestyle to lead.
by Vee
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