I've just been told that vegans don't eat honey. Is this true and if so, why?

(112 Posts)
Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 21:56:09

That's it really.

I'd always thought that vegans don't eat animal products that have been produced by causing pain or exploitation. Does honey fit with this? I'd have thought that bees can, well...buzz off ...if they don't like where they are.

Carmenere Fri 09-May-08 21:58:00

I dunno probably something to do with disturbing the bees natural environment, I suppose honeycomb is where they live.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:01:12

OK. I suppose that fits.

How about eating vegetables grown using animal manure produced from a farmed diet? Or am I just being silly now? grin

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 22:02:11

See here for a full explanation.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:07:42

Ah! OK. That explains it.

Do vegans use animal manure to grow vegetables?

Miggsie Fri 09-May-08 22:08:08

I have a good friend who is vegan, and no honey!
If you really want to wind a vegan up start talking about YEAST!

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:10:31

Yeast! Help!! I'm making pizzas with some children next week (including one who is vegan) and I'd planned to make dough using, er...yeast.

Is that a no-no?

StopSpyingYouFreak Fri 09-May-08 22:11:18

Because it is stolen from bees

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:12:34

How about yeast?

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:13:48

A fungi. Nowt to worry about, I hope.

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 22:19:01

This is about the use of manure as a fertilizer.

RIELOVESBACARDI Fri 09-May-08 22:20:31


WigWamBam Fri 09-May-08 22:20:55

Ah, but yeast is also a living organism. Vegan friend of mine used to get her knickers in a knot because of that ... she was a bit intense and prone to over-thinking these things though! Most vegans are OK with it given that it is not animal in origin.

Do be aware, though, that some dried yeasts contain emulsifiers, which can be of animal origin - fresh yeast is OK, but read the label of any dried you use and check it states that it's suitable for vegans.

Blandmum Fri 09-May-08 22:23:40

Well, plants are living organisms too. smile

5 kingdoms of living things
Protoctista (eveything they can fit into the other 4 basically)

If vegans are only interested in Animals, then Yeast is fair game, at least as fair as mushrooms.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:25:29

So human manure is OK but only if it comes from a vegan?

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 22:27:45

Don't ask me, I only did the link!

WigWamBam Fri 09-May-08 22:29:34

Oh, I know, MB.

My friend's argument was that yeast differs from mushrooms because it continues to live and multiply until it is killed by the action of baking it ... but as I said, she was a bit intense about these things!

Blandmum Fri 09-May-08 22:29:59

You have to be very careful if using Human manure. Or you can spread disease. You have to make sure that any composting has been done very well and the composts has gor high enough to kill off the bacteria.

A 1/3/ to a half of the mass of human faeces is bacteria....most will be dead, but not all, and obviously there is the resk of contamination

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:30:33

grin Thanks, CL.

I can understand the not eating animal products but the manure thing sounds a step too far in my (un-vegan) opinion.

Blandmum Fri 09-May-08 22:31:44

WWB, well, point our that her veg is still busy respiring until it is cooked or eaten.....that is why veg and fruit produce water that you see inside a plastic bag.

Or I see in a plastic bag, if she is that intense she probably spurns plastic ! smile

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:34:13

I definitely couldn't fancy a carrot grown in human manure.

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 22:34:35

The site suggests urine which is pretty much sterile. I know that they mean people should collect it in a bucket or something, but now I've got the image of vegans squatting in their vegetable patches stuck in my head.

wannaBe Fri 09-May-08 22:34:59

I can sort of understand vegy but imo vegan is barking.

How do they know the plants don't suffer?
wtf is wrong with eggs?
and manure? I mean an animal has to crap, it will do so regardless of whether said crap is going to be spread over the plants, no?

WigWamBam Fri 09-May-08 22:36:16

Even non-vegan organic gardeners pee on their compost heaps. It's good stuff, is pee.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:36:17

Does baby poo have less bacteria? As in, less bacteria in the gut at a young age?

I can see a sideline to the children's daycare business opening up. grin

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:37:37

wannabe. I imagine wild animal poo is OK. But not intensively farmed and fed poo?

FluffyMummy123 Fri 09-May-08 22:38:12

Message withdrawn

wannaBe Fri 09-May-08 22:38:32

yes, you could open up a nursery in both senses of the word. at the back you could have the children's nursery, at the front you could have the plant nursery, with the plants all being cultivated using the "manure" obtained from the former. grin

Blandmum Fri 09-May-08 22:38:48

Urine is a good source of ammonia, but you tend to let it 'mature' before you add it to the soil! smile

You also need to be sure that your soil has the right balance of decomposer and nitrifying bacteria present in it, or it will simply not break down.

and if only the first part of the process happens you are left with soil rich in ammonia, which is not nice, and can be toxic at high levels.

Just pissing on your carrots wouldn't cut it ! grin

wannaBe Fri 09-May-08 22:40:09

I used to work with someone who was vegan. she was one of the unhealthiest people I have ever met.

and she used to take her 1 yo baby to animal rights protests. shock

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:40:10

Yes. Somehow a carrot grown in baby poo would be less offensive.

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 22:40:24

I'm not vegan, but the egg thing does bother me. To have eggs, you need chickens (whichever came first) and so you end up with vast numbers of unwanted male chicks which are gassed on an industrial scale.

I'm soppy and sentimental I know, but I did cry when I saw footage of them being dropped from a shute onto a conveyor belt (alive)like grain, piled on top of each other, to be 'processed'.

WigWamBam Fri 09-May-08 22:40:54

Eggs are potential chickens, wannabe. Plus the exploitation of the laying hens, their slaughter at an early age, the killing of day-old cock chicks because they are of no use to the egg farmer. That's why vegans don't eat eggs in any form.

wannaBe Fri 09-May-08 22:41:45

hmmm not sure about that one.

I mean shit is shit at the end of the day. I stil wouldn't wish to partake. grin

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 22:42:08

Thank you MB. I can stop peering into the neighbours' gardens now on the off chance wink.

expatinscotland Fri 09-May-08 22:42:38

but what if they buy a chicken or two.

could they not eat the eggs then?

Blandmum Fri 09-May-08 22:43:02

Lots of countries use night soil extensivly for fertilizers. But they tend to have a lot of experience in handling it !

wannaBe Fri 09-May-08 22:44:15

all chickens lay infertile eggs though.

And the day old chicks are sold to the pet trade, you know those freezers in the pet shops? wink.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:46:09

wannabe. That's the problem, they often don't lay infertile eggs. There was a news thing recently about a boy who had hatched three chicks from supermarket eggs.

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 22:47:41

I know WannaBe, there was just something about seeing it on such a scale.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:47:42

Free range hens are especially prone. Any passing....er....wild cock, can get at them.

expatinscotland Fri 09-May-08 22:50:05

but what about if they're in your garden and not around a cockrel?

do they need to be round a cockrel to lay?

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 22:50:51

This is about Waitrose duck eggs being hatched.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:52:08

I'm no chicken expert but I think they lay anyway. I imagine in the same way that humans release an egg or sometimes more each month whether it will be fertilised or not.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:55:53

So I don't really think that eating unfertilised eggs can be seen as exploitation or stealing eggs from hens. What would happen to the eggs if they weren't collected and eaten?

expatinscotland Fri 09-May-08 22:56:00

k, then, would a vegan who kept chickens eat their eggs, seeing as they're not round a cockrel?

the waitrose article says the hen will still lay if she's not round a cockrel, but she will lay infertile eggs.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 22:58:15

I have more questions!

Are farmed chickens given hormones or something to stimulate egg production?

RustyBear Fri 09-May-08 22:58:19

My mum had a friend whose daughter would only eat the parts of plants that the plants 'discarded' - mostly fruit - the idea being that the plant meant the fruit to be eaten so that the seeds were dispersed, though when you start talking about what a plant means to happen I think you probably need a reality check....

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:02:53

I can understand vegans not eating unfertilised eggs, frequently laid as a result of giving chickens the chicken equivalent of Clomid.

But I can't understand why eggs produced infrequently by a celibate chicken as part of it's natural cycle are out of bounds.

Someone responded earlier that honey isn't eaten by vegans as the honey has been stolen from the bees. But what use does a chicken have for an unfertilised egg?

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:05:28

Rusty. That is extreme.

No cups of tea as the leaves hadn't 'agreed' to be picked?

wannaBe Fri 09-May-08 23:05:32

none. chickens need to produce eggs or they become egg-bound and can die.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:07:58

I'll be up to speed when I meet the vegan mum again next week, anyway.

Last time I met her she was wearing a 'Go Vegan' T shirt, so I suspect she's evangelical.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:08:33

I'll try out the egg theories on her.

puffling Fri 09-May-08 23:08:50

I once innocently asked where the honey was in the Unicorn Grocery in Manchester. I got the most chilling look in response. You might have imagined I was proposing to kill and eat bee meat, by the look I got.

pinkyminky Fri 09-May-08 23:09:36

RE Honey- a friend of mine asked at Unicorn, a local lentil-weaving store, where the honey was- she was told quite curtly that they don't sell any animal exploitative products. I think it's run by Jain Monks.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:13:36

puffling grin

I'm picturing a bee kebab.

pinkyminky Fri 09-May-08 23:14:10

Oh wow puffling- jinx. It's not you, my friend, BTW. She has do intention of being a mum!

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:16:36

The Jain religion originates in India.

Mr Bubble (theology grad) has just told me that the Jains would go to war with and kill neighbouring humans but would wear mouth covers so that they didn't inadvertently swallow and therefore kill insects.

RustyBear Fri 09-May-08 23:17:00

bubble - maybe tea is ok if you only use leaves that have already fallen off the plant....

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 23:18:32

Has anyone seen the episode of Black Books where Manny ends up drinking absinthe and grilling bees (dead ones) over a candle?

ib Fri 09-May-08 23:19:38

My vegan sister would say she is against the keeping of chickens at all, and therefore will eat no eggs.

pinkyminky Fri 09-May-08 23:23:31

That was my pun, Bubble! Thanks for explaining it. I don't think there are actually many Jain monks in Chorlton, but it wouldn't be that suprising.grin

combustible- I loved black books- but had the bees died of natural causes?

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 23:23:33

Just me then...

Janni Fri 09-May-08 23:24:59

I have never forgotten the moment when, at a Steiner parent and toddler group I heard a very thin, earnest mum telling another that she didn't eat honey because it was like a bee's breastmilk.

I really didn't know where to go with that.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:25:28

Then I suppose your sister is making a stand and not even eating ethically produced ie. wild chicken (can chickens be wild? hmm) eggs.

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 23:27:03

Yeah. grin Pinkyminky, yes. It was the episode where the new security system locked Manny in, and he used an SAS survival manual. The absinthe was 'keep your fluids up', the bees for food (found dead on the window ledge) and 'maintain radio contact' was listening to Radio 4.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:28:07

<huge generalisation alert>

Vegans do tend to be very earnest, don't they? And thin and pale, IME.

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 23:30:44

But they don't wee on their carrots. Oh no.

pinkyminky Fri 09-May-08 23:31:41

If they were wild, would there be more chance of them being fertilised?
MY brain is beginning to hurt.

lol bees breastmilk. Little breastfeeding bees. Bees are extremely brutal animals, if we are anthropomorphising for a mo. The drones get their wings bitten off and are starved to death by the workers.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:31:54

Newborn breastfed baby poo would be alright, though?

pinkyminky Fri 09-May-08 23:33:29

Rofl Combustible grin

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:34:28

Nut milk.

Says it all, really.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:37:47

Nut milk.

In Rotherham.

The dirty honey-shunning vegan bastards.

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 23:38:23

You can have wild or at least feral chickens Bubble. here

pinkyminky Fri 09-May-08 23:39:15

Bubble,as a student I shared house with a hunt sab for a time. I was a vegetarian, long term, but he was soo earnest. He'd eat the same strange pan of goop all week, then I'd end up throwing the pan (mine) away as it was ruined form the seven days of reheating this goop. Not sure what the environmental impact of going through so many pans was. I've known other vegans who were less earnest, but yes, I know exactly what you mean.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:43:53

I love the 'person specification' for the job of chicken-catcher. grin

pinkyminky. Did he wear ratty old jumpers and complain of feeling cold all the time?
I can picture his wan face.

CombustibleLemon Fri 09-May-08 23:46:55

Don't wear this when you see her.

pinkyminky Fri 09-May-08 23:48:43

You knew him, too? You kind of felt your life ebbing away as he spoke. Another house mate used to get into ethical debates with him just to see how many knots he could tie himself up in.Very cruel.(but very funny)

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:52:30


She seems quite meek but the 'Go Vegan' T shirt seemed very 'notice me.' I think we (the other parents) were supposed to ask questions but no one did.

We'll be making vegetarian pizzas and she's bringing vegan cheese. As long as she doesn't question my mozzarella I'm sure we'll be fine.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:54:04

pinkyminky. He's probably a steak eating banker by now.

Bubble99 Fri 09-May-08 23:55:26

Are you still a vegetarian, pinky?

pinkyminky Fri 09-May-08 23:55:45

Quite possibly!

pinkyminky Sat 10-May-08 00:00:03

Oh cross post there. No I'm not. I've had trouble with anaemia all my life (before being veggie) and when I got pg they discovered my body doesn't retain iron very well at all, so I eat meat now, along with taking iron supplements. I always liked meat, but wasn't keen on animals husbandry methods in factory farming, but I drew the line at bees. They are fair game, IMO.

Bubble99 Sat 10-May-08 00:01:06

Ah! Just re-read. You were a long time veggie.

I can understand vegetarianism but not veganism.

It just seems like such hard work.

Bubble99 Sat 10-May-08 00:03:30

Must be easier to be OK with eating meat now with better farming standards?

We only eat organic, free range which is expensive so we eat less of it. Which is healthier anyway.

pinkyminky Sat 10-May-08 00:04:17

I agree. And you get into the whole bee, even jainism type thing- which is fine if you want to be a monk, but not terribly compatible with normal everyday living. Where does it end? Do we humans actually have a right to exist?

Bubble99 Sat 10-May-08 00:05:36

Anyway. I must go to bed now. Wake-up call is about 5.30am here. sad

It's been really good and funny talking to you.

Wish me luck with my evil mozzarella pizza session.

pinkyminky Sat 10-May-08 00:05:39

Yep. We eat a small amount of organic, free range meat.

pinkyminky Sat 10-May-08 00:06:15

Good luck!

StopSpyingYouFreak Sat 10-May-08 00:24:17

Neil from The Young ONes. That's all I think of.

ib Sat 10-May-08 12:59:02

lol at this thread. Yes, my sister is an ethical vegan. Very earnest, but neither thin nor pale. She's a huge foodie, as well. And much healthier since she's gone vegan (previously had cholesterol issues).

TooTicky Sat 10-May-08 13:18:38

Picking up on an earlier point, chicks are frequently gassed or minced alive.

And as for vegans keeping chickens, if you look at the bigger picture, where do they get the chickens from? Probably somewhere that discards the male chicks...

And then there are the poor dairy cows....

If everybody went vegan, there would be more than enough food to feed the world.

Tooticky is right. I got my two organic reared chickens from a farmer who probably disposed of the male chicks at some point in the process. So, 5 years ago in the same batch as my two girls was born some male chicks would have been killed.

Obviously they don't need a cockerel to lay as I have eggs every day. Obviously we are not vegan, though dh is veggie.

I think it is very difficult to have any type of farming where some animal at some point has not suffered in the process and that's why we just do the best we can without being insane about it. Applies for us to environmental issues, we have to have a car but we just drive as little as possible.

RustyBear Sat 10-May-08 16:38:43

Does anyone else find it ironic that there's an ad for bacon at the top of this thread?

sarah293 Sun 11-May-08 21:09:27

I'm vegan and not thin or pale. Don't eat honey cos it yucky but we do have 2 rescued hens that produce infertile eggs. Its either throw them away or eat them.
I think the stereotyped ideas of vegans in this thread is pretty funny grin

branflake81 Mon 12-May-08 16:39:23

I am shocked that vegans don't eat yeast.

It's not "alive" in the sense that we are alive or a cat is alive....

that's just taking things too far.

But then my dinner of choice is a big fat bleeding steak straight from the cow. So I'm perhaps not best placed to understand.

Blandmum Mon 12-May-08 16:42:09

Yeast is alive, but then so are plants and bacteria.

Nighbynight Mon 12-May-08 17:12:02

I am pmsl at bubble spotting a new business development.

sarah293 Mon 12-May-08 17:24:33

I eat yeast. Never met a vegan who didn't. Some people just go too far!!!

julienoshoes Tue 13-May-08 07:21:34

Vegans = thin and pale, IME.


I am definitely not thin-not even 'thinninsh'- much more 'fattish' if I am honest and not pale either-quite dark skinned with rosey cheeks.
I know quite a few vegans now-no skinny ones amongst them. Lots of healthy well informed people though.

Have been meat eater all my life until the last few years-become vegan as I was dairy free for health reasons.
Hubby became ill with gall bladder/pancreas problems and couldn't have surgery because of another medical problem, so he had a very low fat diet and couldn't tolerate any meat without severe pain.
Already had one veggie daughter and one vegan one.
SO cooking separate meals for one veggie, one vegan, one dairy free and one low fat diet PLUS the worlds biggest meat eater, my ds was simply not possible.
Vegan food was the one thing we could all tolerate/accept so that's what i cooked.
vegan food -with meat on the side for son.

Have found the food to be lovely, have become a more adventurous cook. Not difficult when you have the internet, just Google vegan recipes and you come up with all sorts of information.

Don't miss meat at all.
Don't eat honey, do eat yeast.

I was astounded to read the UN report 'Livestock's' Long Shadow' states that;

10 Hectares of land = meat for 2 people, or maize for 10 people, grain for 24 people or soya for 61.


Water is interesting also - 1 kg wheat uses 1000 liters of water whilst 1 kg of beef needs 100,000 liters.

I do think each person has to make their own judgements of what is right for them/how far they take this.
My children have a condition that will need treatment at some point. The choices are having human derived substances-and risk infection from various diseases such as HIV etc or use GM animal derived products.
The best I can do is give the girls information about the facts and they can make their own choices (they are both now committed vegans). They both recognise that the choices they would make now, are likely to change when potentially a child's life is concerned -for they will both need treatment if/when they get pregnant.

Hallgerda Tue 13-May-08 07:44:29

On the bee meat steak point, it used to be possible to buy chocolate coated bumble bees in the Seventies.

sarah293 Tue 13-May-08 08:16:55

don't commercial bee keepers kill the bees at the end of each year?

When i was first vegan 20 odd years ago there wasn't a great deal of choice. Now there's vegan everything, and often organic too. Vegan organic junk food! How fab is that!
Kids were raised as vegans. 2 of them chose to eat cheese at some point, maybe 6, one remains vegan. One decided to eat meat at 13 (influnece of friends/teenage rebellion) but didn't eat it in the house. I don't let meat in doors. Yuck. That one is now vegan again (influence of friends, teenage rebellion grin)

As Juliethingy says, land use is way more efficient for vegan diet than a meat based one and given the whole food shortgage/oil crisis thiing changing over to a plant based diet is the only way to avoid mass starvation and famine. Its cheaper too (if you avoid the vegan junk food)
And feeding grain to cars makes me angry

Sputnik Fri 16-May-08 15:15:43

I used to be a commercial beekeeper, bees are certainly NOT killed at the end of each year.

Actually you could kind of argue bees "like" being kept, as beekeepers give them extra space for the colony to grow and to produce a surplus (which is what is harvested, you always leave the bees enough for winter).

Some beekeepers will eat the drone larvae, apparently they're quite tasty.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 16-May-08 15:32:31

I remember reading in the Times a couple of months ago (in the 'sex' questions section) a question from a Vegan who was concerned if she , ahem, swallowed when performing oral sex she was contravening the rules of vegan living.

How the hours must fly by at their house, I thought.

Sorry to lower the tone blush

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 16-May-08 15:32:31

I remember reading in the Times a couple of months ago (in the 'sex' questions section) a question from a Vegan who was concerned if she , ahem, swallowed when performing oral sex she was contravening the rules of vegan living.

How the hours must fly by at their house, I thought.

Sorry to lower the tone blush

bratnav Fri 16-May-08 16:39:12


Although on the same lines, when we were in our late teens a friend of mine asked if it was ok to give her bf oral sex as she was veggie...

Bubble may I join in your nursery poo co-operative ??????

PMSL- I just had a surreal thought of explaining THAT one to OFSTED...........grin

iMum Fri 16-May-08 20:58:52

May I just remind you all that no matter how sweet, honey is bee sick.


I was vegan for years and much healthier for it, had to go back to being veggie as my thyroid meds were nulled by the soya i was eating.

But not a day goes by really when i dont lament my vegan days, i really was so much healthier. not at all thin and pale (i wish-exgoth you see)

Being just a veggie now i do have honey in the house and can eat it but only until i remeber thousands of tiny little bees puking their guts up for my jar of honey.

Sputnik Fri 16-May-08 21:23:12

honey really is not bee sick.
They have a thing called a honey sac where honey is made from nectar, separate from the stomach.

Honey made (by bees) from honeydew is, however, aphid crap grin

iMum Fri 16-May-08 22:07:27

Yeah you see, im not sure thats any better!@

Sputnik Fri 16-May-08 22:38:02

Yeah, 2 insects being exploited there

alphadaydreamer Thu 20-Nov-08 21:17:17

Wannabe have you looked at factory farmed hens....that will probably answer your question.

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