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Can vegans eat honey?

Is Honey Vegan?

More and more as we explore healthier ways of living and eating or more sustainable ways to source food, many people often turn to vegetarianism, which is the avoidance of meat. Some go the more strict veganism. Veganism is a way of living that aims to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty. Vegans avoid eating animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy, as well as foods made from them.

However, it is often and hotly debated whether this extends to foods made from insects, such as honey.

​​Why most vegans don’t eat honey

Honey is a somewhat controversial food among vegans. Unlike overt animal foods like meat, eggs, and dairy, foods from insects aren’t always grouped into the vegan category. In fact, some vegans who eat an otherwise entirely plant-based lifestyle may opt to include honey in their diet.

That said, for the majority of very strict vegans, it seems they view honey as non-vegan and avoid eating it for several reasons, mainly, vegans see honey as the product that is a result from the exploitation of bees

Many who subscribe to a vegan lifestyle see no difference between bee farming and other forms of animal farming. To optimize profits, many commercial bee farmers employ practices that are unethical by vegan standards.

These include clipping the wings of queen bees to prevent them from fleeing the hive, replacing harvested honey with nutritionally inferior sugar syrups, and killing entire colonies to prevent the spread of disease, instead of giving them medicine

Vegans opt to take a stand against these exploitative practices by avoiding honey and other bee products, including honeycomb, bee pollen, royal jelly, or propolis.

Why Vegans SHOULD consider eating honey

No matter what your views on eating or not eating meat are, there’s one animal product that I believe everyone should eat – honey. In modern farming, commercial honeybees are necessary to pollinate key crops because wild insects are not able to cope with the landscape we’ve created. Without honeybees, our fresh produce aisles would be bare and a vegan or vegetarian diet could be put under extreme stress.

If you eat avocados, almonds, kiwi fruit, squash, melons, and a whole host of other fruits and vegetables then your diet is directly reliant on the work of pollinators. Especially commercially-managed honeybees. If you eat these and are vegan, you are enjoying the results of the beekeeping industry and turning a blind eye to how they’re grown.

Beekeeping keeps food on all of our plates

There is no accurate data showing just how many wild colonies exist but there’s no doubt that populations are far lower than in the past. In the USA, wild honeybee colonies are almost non-existent. That means that wild bees cannot be relied on to pollinate our crops. In farming areas, other wild pollinators don’t exist in the numbers needed to pollinate crops either. The huge swathes of farmland and orchards that supply our supermarkets provide neither habitat nor diversity in food sources for wild pollinators to flourish.

For more information about beekeeping and honey, visit our website

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