A question for strict vegans...

On an episode of “Chopped” tonight, they were including vegetarian only ingredients. One of the chefs was a strict vegan. But in the dessert round, one of the ingredients was honey. The vegan chef almost refused to use it. Do you, as a strict vegan, consider honey an animal product that you would not use?

Yes.

However, it does not rely as most meats do upon the suffering of animals, but on their exploitation. As I adored honey when young I could make an exception, but another side of my character is repulsed by the baby grubs for whom the honey is naturally purposed.

I have a friend who’s a strict vegan. Honey is a no-no to her for the reason Claverhouse mentioned. She uses agave syrup in place of it.

My fiercely vegan friends don’t touch any product that has been harvested from an animal or relies on us farming or cultivating them. So no honey, no wool, no eggs, no nuthin.

A friend of mine used to refer to honey as “bee vomit.” That kind of cured me of wanting it. Actual, I’ve never cared for the taste. To me, agave syrup has a brighter flavor.

I wonder of vegans realize that many fruits and vegetables are pollinated with slave labor, i.e bee hives?

Yes.

People decide on the acceptable-to-them limits of their morality and ability to help/sacrifice every day, whether on the topic of diet or suffering in their community/around the world or what have you. For that particular person, eating or using honey was unacceptable.

(Sorry. Ovo-lacto vegetarian here, and it gets old when people try to play “gotcha!” on the topic of my moral and ethical beliefs, especially since I don’t inflict them on others typically. I buy and cook meat for others, so feel free to get all judgey if you like.)

In addition to **Ferret Herder’s **excellent summation, I would point out that insects will carry out pollination whether or not they are instructed to.

True. Though US agriculture relies very very heavily on beekeeping in order to have enough bees to pollinate crops.

To be fair to humans, the bees do get a benefit, “selling” the humans extra honey, in exchange for being transported to their food sources.

Serious question: Are the bees free to leave? Obviously, the beekeeper wouldn’t like it, but bees do swarm. If they decided to up and leave, could the beekeeper prevent it?

From what I recall, those vegans who do eat honey do so for essentially this reason; that agricultural methods make it impossible to avoid the products of bee labor anyway. Presumably those that don’t do so see their choice as minimizing that labor, even if it cannot bee eliminated.

The recent news articles about “colony collapse disorder” have raised as one possible cause the high casualties associated with recent commercial beekeeping practices – specifically, using trucks to transport bees between farms (large-scale commercial transport is apparently relatively new, according to these articles). Some colonies have taken as much as 70% loss during transport.

Exactly why these bees die was not known in the articles I read; there was suspicion of stress, overheating/ventilation, and disorientation.

At such casualty rates, “transported to food sources” seems to be of questionable value to the bees themselves.

If that’s truly the cause, beekeepers will stop doing it. Presumably, up until recently, whatever method they used to use to transport the bees didn’t have that problem, and the bees did get a benefit.

Actually, it’s gotten to the point that some beekeepers almost consider bees disposable. The losses are so high in some places, it’s not worth trying to sustain a hive after pollination. The beekeepers allow the bees to die and buy new bees from breeders. I’ve heard of some beekeepers doing this, but I don’t think it’s the industry standard. It would have been unthinkable not long ago, however.

(Of course, even longer ago, it was standard. Those old-fashioned hives like you see on the Utah state seal meant that you had to completely destroy the colony of bees in order to harvest the honey.)