A couple of day ago, while enjoying a delicious vegan lunch with my friends, we stumbled upon an interesting conversation. As one of my friends ordered tea with honey, my other friend (vegan for 2 months now) asked a question that made me open Safari and search on Google.
I am not a big honey lover. As a matter of fact, I do not like any kind of sugary products and sweeteners. So, I’ve never really thought about whether or not honey is considered an animal product.
A quick Google search returned a quick answer. No, you are not vegan if you eat honey. Donald Watson said so. Therefore it is true. I mean, the man coined the term “vegan”. He also gave us a clear definition of what it means to be one. One of his quotes clearly states that veganism “applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion flesh, fish, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals”.
I mean, that answer was as straight forward as they come.
However, modern language and definitions are a bit different than they were in 1944. The vegan community seems to be torn apart when it comes to honey. The argument surrounds the fact that honey is made by bees, but it is made out of plants. Also, it is bees’ natural way of life. They make money regardless of human exploitation.
When the blooming season comes, honeybees leave their hives and fly around to find flowers and collect nectar. Sure, humans have managed to make a business out of it. Sure, humans have added this to their capitalistic machine of never-ending growth and monetary profit. However, this is what bees would have been doing regardless. Perhaps, on a smaller scale.
Once collected, the nectar is brought back home, to the honeycombs. There, the real magic happens. Everything is broken down into simple sugars and stored. During that process there is a constant fanning within the hive that instigates evaporation and creates liquid gold. Also known as honey.
Manuka honey, and all other kinds of honey are created the same way. This is, before they are placed into jars and mixed up with a bunch of chemicals, of course. As a matter of fact, there are some highly recommended manuka honey reviews that everyone should read, before they go out spending money on such products.
Back to the production line.
Human interference occurs in the form of beekeeping. Humane beekeepers make sure that their hives are not starving, and only remove the excessive honey. Because, surprise, surprise, bees also eat honey. Actually, this is all they eat.
Honeybees are considered arthropods, much like lobsters. This unquestionably makes them animals. However, honey comes from plants and honeycombs. In a way, bees grow and produce their honey the same way we (humans) grow our corn.
So, I will leave you with that. To me, it is a personal choice whether or not a vegan chooses to eat honey.