Honey is Not Vegan…
…it is the partially digested and regurgitated nectar of flowers. In simpler words, it’s bee product meant to provide food for bees through the winter. There are plenty of health and ethical reasons to avoid honey, whether you’re vegan or not:
1. Most honey comes from mass-scale producers who treat their hives with antibiotics.
2. Beekeepers often burn hives afflicted with disease in response to disease outbreaks.
3. Migratory Beekeeping means that bees consume mono-cultured crops and are more prone to contamination with pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, etc.
4. While taking honey from hives, some bees get crushed and die.
5. Once honey has been taken from hives, it is substituted with corn syrup, which isn’t as nutritious for the bees.
6. Honey is the third most adulterated food globally- following milk and olive oil.
Migratory Beekeeping is Unethical for Bees
There are arguments over how ‘vegan’ crops like avocados, almonds, and many other crops are since they are pollinated by migratory beekeeping. According to a Washington Post article, migratory beekeeping is essential for farmers, enabling pollination of 1/3 of total crops produced. However, it also means that bees end up in portable hives that are trucked from one farm to another, with only one variety of crops to collect nectar and pollen from. This is harmful to bees since natural habitats would otherwise have more diverse food sources for bees. It also means that when the bloom season for the crop is over, there is nothing to eat, meaning the bees experience swings of food gluts and scarceness of food.
PETA has acknowledged that migratory beekeeping is exploitive and harmful to bees. Still, since the practice is so widespread, it is nigh impossible to avoid eating produce pollinated using the technique. Instead, they advocate avoiding using honey, royal jelly, beeswax, propolis, and other products from honey bees since this is a much easier purchasing decision. Ultimately, veganism should strive to make positive changes whenever reasonably possible.
Vegan Honey Substitutes
What are some solid plant-based alternatives?
1. DIY White or Brown Sugar Syrup (5 parts sugar to 1 part water)
2. Light Corn Syrup
3. Dark Corn Syrup
4. Stevia/Liquid Stevia
4. Maple Syrup
5. Molasses (not blackstrap)
6. Agave Nectar
7. Date Paste
8. Coconut Nectar/Sugar
9. Barley Malt Syrup