Is Honey Vegan?

Written On: by Theo The Beekeeper

Whether honey is vegan is a commonly asked question that many people wonder about, no matter if they are vegan themselves or not. Veganism has a somewhat flexible definition, making it a little difficult to determine whether some foods can be considered vegan or not. Some vegans entirely avoid eating foods that are produced by animals, which includes bees. However, some vegans simply avoid foods that harm animals in their production, which does not typically include honey because bees are not harmed in the extraction of honey as long as it is performed properly.

Honey falls into something of a gray area when it comes to veganism, as the ethical collection of honey typically does not kill or harm the bees that are making the honey. However, some vegans do not eat honey because they consider the collection of honey to be a form of animal exploitation.

Whether honey is vegan really depends on the particular vegan person at hand, and the choices that they prefer to make. Some vegans are willing to eat honey because the production of honey does not really harm bees, while others like to avoid animal products altogether and do not eat honey. It depends on the person.

What is Veganism?

A vegan meal in a bowl
A vegan meal in a bowl.

Veganism is generally considered to be a practice of selecting and eating only foods that do not require animal exploitation for their production. The definition of veganism can vary, as can the foods that vegans are willing to eat. But typically, vegan people do their best to consume only foods that have not been created by harming animals.

There are some fairly obvious common choices that vegans make, such as not eating meat. Most vegans do not eat meat because the production of meat as food requires the killing of animals, something that most vegans believe is unethical. However, there are some vegans who will eat fish or meat if they can be sure that the animals were treated well during their lifetimes.

Typically, vegans are people who do not eat animal products at all. This includes meat, cheese, eggs, milk, insects, and sometimes honey. Vegans are people who focus their lifestyle on their compassion for animals, and on reducing the suffering that humans cause to animals by consuming products created by animals.

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Vegans also typically are careful not to use cosmetic products that are tested on animals, and often do not wear leather or fur that comes from animals. They may even avoid wool or silk because these products also come from animals. Essentially, any product that may have caused harm to an animal in its creation will typically be avoided by vegans.

However, veganism is more about self-identification as a vegan than it is about the foods one eats or the products that one uses. Veganism is a way to reduce the harm that we cause to animals as humans who consume animal products in food, cosmetics, and other products. People do this in a variety of ways, and veganism is a very individual choice that varies by person.

Some vegans are focused more on harm to animals than avoiding animal products entirely. For example, someone might avoid eating dairy that is purchased from a large supermarket because they do not know how the animals that produced the commodities were treated. However, the same person might be willing to eat a piece of cheese if they know that it came from a small, nearby farm that treats its animals ethically.

Veganism is a very diverse set of choices that people can make in order to reduce the harm they cause to animals. While the typical definition of veganism is fairly strict and requires that people do not use animal products at all, there are people who consider themselves vegan but sometimes consume animal products if they know that the products were created with the ethical treatment of animals in mind. It really depends on what the particular vegan is comfortable with.

Why Do People Go Vegan?

People go vegan for a variety of reasons, but the most common is simply that they want to cause less harm to animals. Veganism is usually an ethical or environmental choice that people make in order to reduce their negative impact on ecosystems. However, some vegans practice this choice because they feel healthier when they do not consume animal products, or because they are allergic to many animal products.

Many vegans are particularly focused on the unethical practices that take place in large-scale agriculture, such as keeping animals in small, confined spaces, and feeding them diets that are designed to make them produce large amounts of meat or milk rather than to keep them healthy. Vegans typically believe that animals deserve the same respect that humans do, and that an animal’s needs should be fully met when a human is caring for an animal.

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Some vegans are simply not comfortable eating or using animal products at all, and consider the collection of animal products to be exploitation. These vegans tend to be stricter with their diets and consumption of other animal products. People like this often believe that animals should not be farmed or used for the production of commodities, and rather kept simply to exist and live, or not be kept by humans at all.

How to Go Vegan

Going vegan can be difficult, as many people rely on animal products to meet their daily nutritional needs. Meat, dairy, and eggs are often a large part of a person’s diet, and it can be challenging to replace the nutrients that we get from these commodities. However, the protein and vitamins supplied by animal products can be replaced with plant-based products and dietary supplements.

The easiest way to go vegan is to ease into it gently, and remove one animal product from your diet at a time. For example, you might remove meat from your diet for the first month, and then remove dairy in the next month, eggs in the following month, and so forth. It’s very important to ensure that your health does not suffer as a result of going vegan, so finding good vitamin supplements and using protein powder or other plant-based sources of protein is a good way to adjust to going vegan.

It’s also important to remember that sometimes vegans make exceptions or slip up and that it is okay when this happens. The goal here is to be as ethical as possible, and sometimes there are mistakes or accidents that happen. It’s important not to beat yourself up when these things happen, as they happen to everyone and they do not destroy the positive impact that your choices have.

Why Do Some Vegans Not Eat Honey?

Bees at work on honeycomb
Bees at work on honeycomb.

Some vegans do not eat honey simply because it is technically an animal product because bees make it. Other vegans are concerned specifically about the practices present in large-scale apiaries and are willing to use honey if they know that it comes from an ethical, small farm.

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Most vegans who do not eat honey are concerned that the farming of bees is unethical and harms bees. While it is absolutely possible to extract honey without harming bees, there are some practices that are used, especially in large-scale apiaries, that actually do harm bees in the process of honey and wax extraction.

Sometimes, large-scale apiaries will extract all of the honey from a hive in order to increase their product, leaving no honey for the bees to feed on during the winter. While they typically replace the honey that they take with sugar water or other food for the bees, this food is not as good for the bees as honey is, and this can take a toll on their health.

Additionally, some large-scale apiaries extract honey more often than recommended, leaving beehives disrupted and dysregulated. Some apiaries also simply neglect their bees, not treating or checking for mites or diseases. Vegans tend to be concerned about these practices because it harms the animals.

Most vegans who do not eat honey are trying to avoid supporting harmful practices financially, as well as keeping their consumption of food and other products ethical.

So Is Honey Vegan or Not?

Technically, honey is probably not vegan. However, it really depends on the individual vegan at hand. Some vegans are willing to eat honey because the extraction of honey causes relatively little harm to bees, while other vegans do not use honey at all because it is a product derived by animals.

If you are vegan and you are trying to decide whether you are allowed to eat honey or not, the answer is that it is really up to you. If you are trying to align with a vegan lifestyle, it is probably best not to eat honey at all, or to use only honey that comes from smaller apiaries that practice ethical beekeeping. Ultimately, the choice is yours.


Theo The Beekeeper

When I was a kid, my dad used to keep bees around the small farm we had, and I absolutely loved helping him. In the past few years, we’ve picked up the hobby again, and I’ve been doing a lot more research. This website is the accumulation of things I’ve learned along the way! You can learn more about my journey and the resources I’ve developed on my about page.

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