Can Vegans Eat Honey?


Honey is one of the most controversial foods for vegans.  Many vegans who otherwise adhere to a strictly plant based diet choose to add honey to their diet as they believe it is in accordance with vegan practices. But are they right?

In a word, no. By definition vegans do not consume animals or any products produced by animals – no matter how ethically sourced. 

So, to answer the question: Honey is not vegan and if you want to be truly 100% vegan then you should not include honey in your diet.
However, many still choose to do so. But is it really that bad? Lets find out. 


Honey is natural, right?

The belief among many who do choose do eat honey is that Bee’s naturally produce honey, so indulging is perfectly natural. Of course, this is a direct contradiction to vegan principles as one could categorize cows milk in the same fashion and how many vegans do you know that drink cows milk?

The fact is commercial beekeeping is by no means natural just as commercial milking is not natural. Eating Honey by many Vegan standards is ethically questionable at best. 

The Problem With Beekeeping

Bee’s are highly intelligent and complex creatures with a unique societal hierarchy. Throughout Summer, Bees feed on pollen, but during the winter season, honey is their single source of food. 

In order to produce honey, bees will gather nectar from flowers, return to the hive and begin the process of regurgitating and chewing the nectar, a process which results in honey. 

Each bee produces just a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetime and every ounce of this is crucial to the survival of the hive. 

Commercial Bee Farmers commonly replace the honey they remove from a hive with a cheap sugar substitute, which is substantially worse for the bees’ health.  The replacement lacks the essential nutrients that regular honey provides.  This practices causes the bees to overwork themselves to compensate for the missing honey.

During the removal of the honey, many bees are killed either by crushing or from stinging the harvesters. 

The Queen Bee will often have her wings clipped to prevent her from leaving the hive and starting a new colony. 

Pesticides often kill or weaken the bees and in many cases entire colony’s are culled after the harvest in a bid to keep costs down. 


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