It isn’t killing bees, so isn’t honey vegan?

Honey, you are the most confusing thing I know!

Most of us grew up on this tasty delicacy. Our moms served us honey on toast as breakfast every morning and we drank a hot cup of tea with honey as a fix for good health. Even in the Bible, honey was referred to 61 times as a sign of abundance, ease and prosperity. Most believe that it is okay to eat because we don’t need to hurt bees to glean honey out of hives.

This brings us to two most common questions, which even most vegans have – is honey vegan? Aren’t bees happy to make honey for us?

Honey is not vegan by any means, it is an animal by-product, and, by definition, any animal by-product cannot be vegan. In fact, bees make honey for themselves, not for human consumption and when you take their honey from the hive you’re actually stealing from them even if you extract it in the most ethical way. Elena Orde of The Vegan Society explains, “Honey is made by bees for bees, and their health is sacrificed when it is harvested by humans.”

Bees are incredibly intelligent beings, and their carefully choreographed “waggle dance” that incorporates vector calculus instructs the rest of the hive where to find a food source is proof of their inteeligence. Unfortunately, just like other factory farmed animals (whether it is pigs, cows or chickens), bees are also treated inhumanely by bee farmers {who consider them not more than products}. Bees are often injured, killed and forced to live in cramped conditions in the process of producing honey. Cutting off the wings of queen bee is a common practice in the bee farming industry.

Is Honey Vegan - Truth About Beesfarming includes Cruelty & Inhumane Treatment(Image via

The effect of commercial honey production on bees is causing honeybees to decline in numbers. The huge decline of honeybees worldwide has been making headlines for quite some time. Some are blaming viruses, pesticides, and parasites as the causes for bees being literally wiped out.  Farmers are also the cause of this. They use cyanide gas to destroy the hives, therefore killing the bees if they no longer desire the hive.

Bees are in serious risk right now and this will directly affect our food production as bees are the primary pollinators for fruits and vegetables. In a nutshell, we should all be concerned about the decline of bees worldwide as it will have a long-lasting impact on us as well.


The good news for all honey lovers is that you don’t have to sacrifice your love for honey nor compromise your ethics. There are amazing vegan alternatives for honey available in the market to pour in your morning smoothie bowl. The most common and healthy honey replacement is a plant-based sweetener made from organic apples. Bee Free Honee is a honey-like product available in four flavors nationwide. Other options include Just Like Honey Gluten-Free Rice Nectar that mimics the real taste and look of honey made from bees.

In addition, you can substitute honey with sorghum syrup (it is closest in terms of honey in taste, sweetness and consistency), agave nectar (not one of the healthiest options but it mimics honey perfectly), maple syrup (different flavor than honey but is great alternative), and brown rice  syrup (less sweet than honey but it’s a good thing for health enthusiasts), which can be easily found at superstores! Instead of eating honey, we need to be more concerned with helping bees. They are dying at an alarming rate and by choosing alternative sweeteners you are helping to save bee colonies!

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One thought on “It isn’t killing bees, so isn’t honey vegan?

    Alastair says

    Its really hard to explain people why honey isn’t vegan and crueltyfree. will share this piece whenever I have a naysayer who argues. don’t understand the people’s obsession with honey, milk even though they love animals and wanna be cruelt free

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