Given that honey may provide us many health benefits, let’s have a look on why most vegans exclude this popular sweetener alternative in their diet.
Veganism is all about the cruelty-free lifestyle, being against animal exploitation and all. But how about with insects? Does the ethical choice extend into them?
From a vegan perspective, bee farming and other forms of animal farming is just the same. Most bee farming practices are unethical by vegan standards. One great example of unethical bee farming practice is clipping the wings of queen bees to prevent them from fleeing the hive. Another heartbreaking practice is when there’s an outbreak of disease. Instead of giving them medicine, they kill the entire colony simply because it costs cheaper and more convenient.
The forced pollination process is also very crucial for bees. For bees to be able to pollinate crops; which are normally monocrops—they have to be transported year-round to pollinate them. This would be very stressful for the bees, and many die in the transportation process. It’s unnatural for them to be moving around from place to place all the time, which also increases their chances of disease. Aside from this stressful bee practice, many bees are dying with chemicals as well. Pesticides that are used on the crops make their immune system weak.
Honey provides bees with carbohydrates and other essential nutrients like amino acids, antioxidants, and natural antibiotics. During the winter months, when honey production is critical, bees store and consume it. It is their survival tool during cold weather, providing them with energy and helping them stay healthy. Since bee farming is centered to acquiring as much honey as they can, they are often replaced by sucrose or high fructose corn syrup. These sweeteners are harmful to the bees immune system and can cause genetic changes that reduce their defenses against pesticides.
Honey is not vegan. And these practices are the reasons why it’s way better off to use other alternatives like maple syrup, date syrup, brown rice syrup, and other plant-based sweeteners. It’s unfortunate though because of its many health benefits. For vegans, there are far more important reasons other than these benefits. And it’s to stand up for these unethical farming practices.