Once people discover that I’m vegan, they usually want to know what that means. I tell them that I do not consume anything that comes from an animal. I usually follow it up with a brief list of the things in which I choose not to take part: flesh, dairy, eggs, honey, silk, leather, wool, et cetera. After the inevitable “What about fish?” question (which is almost always answered with “Well, do you consider a fish to be a vegetable, or a mineral?”), the next query is likely, “Why don’t you eat honey?”.
The simple answer? It’s not mine.
While that’s really the bottom line, most people ignore the complexities of this colorful little creature. Today’s post will very briefly discuss the mini, mighty BEE!
(With help from VeganPeace.com)
“Bees have been producing honey for at least 150 million years. Bees create honey by repeatedly regurgitating and dehydrating nectar. They use this honey as food stores for the hive during the winter when little or no nectar is available to them.”
So who am I to trounce into their hive and snatch up a bunch of their honey just because it’s yummy in my tea? A vegan alternative, you ask? Why, YES! It’s called Agave Nectar and you can find it pretty much anywhere these days. Check it!
“While foraging for nectar and pollen, bees inadvertently transfer pollen from the male to the female components of flowers. This way they help the fertilization of many of our crop-bearing plants.”
Oh, cool, so let me just go ahead and screw up the whole process so I can enjoy this banana sammich.
“Honeybees fly 55,000 miles and visit 2 million flowers to produce one pound of honey. In one trip, a worker will visit between 50 and 100 flowers. She will return to the hive carrying over half her weight in pollen and nectar. One worker bee will produce about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in the course of her lifetime.”
Woah. So not only is their athletic ability far superior to mine, but I’d basically be shitting all over the work of TWELVE of these little dynamos for every dang teaspoon of honey I selfishly desire.
“Bumblebees don’t produce a lot of honey, just enough to feed their young.”
Man, I bet you’re feeling crappy about that toast you had this morning…
And for the inevitable, “Ok, suresure, but it’s not like any bees are KILLED in the process, you crazy vegan you.” TO YOU SIR I SAY THIS (thank you Friends of Animals):
“Honeybees, like other animals, have a complex central nervous system, which means they are able to experience pain and suffering. At peak honey-production time in 2003, an estimated 155 billion bees, from 2.59 million colonies, were exploited in the U.S. to produce honey for human consumption. Honey, beeswax, bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis and venom are taken from bees for human uses. In the process of acquiring these, beekeepers regularly disturb the bees’ homes by removing the honeycombs from the hive. When this is done some bees will inevitable be injured or crushed, and any bees who sting the beekeepers will also die.
Honey is usually taken from the hive in the spring and fall. In the fall, beekeepers replace honey with white sugar syrup — a poor substitute for the bees’ natural food supply — or kill off the colonies to avoid maintaining the hives throughout the winter.”
Long story short: You don’t need it. They do. Stop being an ass.