WHATEVER WEDNESDAYS- IS HONEY VEGAN?
Welcome to this edition of Whatever Wednesdays! Today's topic is honey. Are you able to consume honey if you are vegan? I have heard a lot of debates on this topic over the years and as I have been considering alternative sweeteners lately, I decided to delve a little more into this topic.
Below are some tidbits I found about honey consumption.
First, let's look at how honey is made:
Honey is made by bees using the nectar from flowers. By a process of regurgitation, honey bees form nectar into honey and store it as a food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive. Beekeeping encourages overproduction of honey so that the excess can be taken without endangering the bee colony.
Honey is created by bees as a food source. In cold weather or when fresh food sources are minimal, bees use stored honey as their source of energy. By contriving for bee swarms to nest in artificial hives, people have been able to semi-domesticate the insects, and harvest excess honey.
Now, as to whether or not honey is considered vegan, here is what vegan.org says about it:
"It depends on one's definition of vegan. Insects are animals, and so insect products, such as honey and silk, are not traditionally considered vegan. Many vegans, however, are not opposed to using insect products, because they do not believe insects are conscious of pain. Moreover, even if insects were conscious of pain, it's not clear that the production of honey involves any more pain for insects than the production of most vegetables, since the harvesting and transportation of all vegetables involves many 'collateral' insect deaths. The question remains a matter of scientific debate and personal choice. However, when cooking or labeling food for vegans —particularly vegans you don't know— it's best to be on the safe side and not include honey."
Most other articles I pulled up on the topic, seem to echo pretty much the same sentiments. There are many vegans that oppose the use or consumption of all forms of animal products which apparently includes insects. Therefore, honey would be off limits, since it is produced by bees.
So, I believe the subject of consuming honey would be a strictly personal choice. It really depends on what side of the coin you are on as it pertains to how far into veganism you choose to go. So, I say, sweeten with honey at your own discretion!
Sources: vegan.com, veganmeat.com, wikipedia.org