Honey is undeniably one of the most beneficial natural substances around. Aside from being sweet, honey itself is healthy and tasty. It may also be a good source of living, especially in the field of agriculture. Indeed, it is one of natures most wonderful treasures.
Honey, however, may not be welcome among some vegans. Veganism is a practice that does not allow the consumption of animal products. Currently, there are heated debates regarding the true nature of honeyif it is indeed purely vegan. Some would claim that honey is not vegan since honey is derived from nectar, and thus not from the bees themselves. To set things straight, here are some arguments that convincingly prove that honey is indeed not vegan.
1. Bees are animals.
This is probably the most important reason. Some may claim that ants are insects, and not animals. Honeybees belong to the phylum arthropoda, which is an undeniable component of the animal kingdom. Still, some might argue that it is not the honeybees that are being eaten, but the honey. So what if they are animals?
2. Veganism does not include the exploitation of animals.
Donald Watson, founder of the vegan society, clearly defined veganism as a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom. In fact, he emphasized that reverence for life is an essential part of veganism. That being said, we all know that honey is produced from the labour of the honeybees. They travel from flower to flower, sucking out all the nectar from them. After this, they pass it to other bees with the goal of releasing certain enzymes to pre-digest the nectar. Honey is then produced and stored in the honeycomb.
In a way, we are exploiting them by getting their food which they have worked so hard for. Honey may be derived from nectar, but it wouldnt be without the hardworking honeybees. Again, exploitation is a no-no in veganism.
3. Veganism excludes the consumption of honey.
Another clear supporting literature made by Donald Watson emphasized his definition of veganism once more, further stating that the following foods are excluded: flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives. By definition alone, it is very clear that honey is not vegan.
Most people think that eating honey is ok because the bees themselves feel no pain caused in the process and creation of honey. Sadly this is just not true as bees have a structured nervous system and do feel pain.
However there is an issue about if wild bees suffer more pain than “slaved” bees that are used in the production of honey. This would all depend on the methods utilized by the beekeeper. Many beekeepers try to keep the suffering of bees to a low level as otherwise the bees can just swarm to a new location. Economically it does not make sense to not keep the bees “happy.”
Overall its probably safe to assume that honey can not be defined as Vegan and therefore should not be served to guest who define themselves as vegans.
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