When most people think of honey, they think of a delicious, sweet syrup, created by bees and flowers. The process is, of course, a little more complex than that, but it sure sounds like a lovely process. In fact, honey has a centuries-long tradition of being used as both a sweetener and a sacred medicinal fluid, and these traiditons deeply ingrained in most societies. That's most people are shocked to find out that to vegans, eating honey is considered wrong. There are many long-standing debates within the vegan community about whether or not eating honey ethical but the general consensus in most vegan communities is no!

Honey Jar(113056)Credit: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/content/knowhow/glossary/honey/Credit: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/content/knowhow/glossary/honey/

Vegans and Their Views on Honey

Vegans and people who follow a vegan diet are people who are strictly against the consumption of any animal product. Though vegetarians avoid consuming animal meat, they generally choose to eat of other animal products such as milk and eggs, and honey. The majority of vegan communities even avoid eating dairy products. It is important to note that there is a quite a range of different diets in the vegetarian/vegan spectrum - and each is subject to a variety of personal choices - so when it comes to honey, the opinions of many vegans also vary.

Those vegans who are completely against any kind of animal product consumption also believe that conumsing honey would be wrong, while those who are a more flexible with their diet may have no problem eating honey at all. Regardless, as mentioned above, because honey is an animal product, the majority of vegans choose not to eat honey.

Honey Bees(113055)Credit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081223091308.htmCredit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081223091308.htm

Why Vegans Don't Consume Honey - A Full Explanation

The most important reason by vegans do not eat honey is because it is an animal product. Since vegans are against consumption of any animal product, honey for them is no exception. Beyond that, the process of cultivating honey for human consumption is harmul to bees.

As most of us know, honey is prepared by honey bees with the nectar they collect from flowers. Bees convert the nectars in the combs of their hives. This process is very grueling for bees. In order to collect honey and culture it for consumption and selling, hives are set in special environments. In these environments, bees are feed with antibiotics and certain chemicals which stop them to defending their honey while it's being collected.

Below are some examples of how honey cultivation can exploit and be harmul to bees.

  • The chemicals and antibiotics sprayed in beehives during cultivation of honey are hazardous to bees and are a form of animal cruelty.
  • During cultivation, bees are exploited and forced to make honey in removable hexagonal trays, and making animals do anything against their will is wrong to vegans.
  • Bee hives are often split to facilitate greater honey production. This disruption is not normal bees.
  • Many manufactures control bees by blowing smoke in the hives to cover the smell of alarm their hormones release.
  • Many vegan communities argue that since bees produce honey for their own selves and not for us, taking what they make after such a long effort is wrong and unethical.
  • In order to control the hive, queen bees are routinely killed by beekeepers. 
  • Many bees dies unecessarily after stinging beekeepers in self-defence. 
  • Bees are known to experience pain, and are more likely to experience pain when humans are in control of their hives.
Agave NectarCredit: http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2010/01/25/the-great-agave-nectar-debate/Credit: http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2010/01/25/the-great-agave-nectar-debate/

Vegan Alternatives to Honey

If you ask most vegans, they will tell you that they don't miss honey in their diet. There are many delicicous, nutritional, sweet fluids that are used by vegans as alternatives to honey. These alternatives have a great taste, similar nutritional content, and eating them is considered to be more ethical. Following are a few alternatives to honey used by vegans: molasses, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, barley malt syrup, and liquid stevia. All these syrups are extracted from plants so vegans are comfortable eating them!