Thoughts on Honey and Beeswax

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The definition of vegan: (noun) a person who does not eat or use animal products. Those animals products include meat, dairy, eggs, leather, fur, honey/beeswax, wool, silk, and so on.

That's the technical definition of veganism... but I'm not entirely on board that vegan train. I think a vegan lifestyle is less about ingredient restriction, but more about ingredient mindfulness. Of course anything that would harm an animal in anyway does not align with my personal beliefs, which is why I would never even consider eating meat. With that being said, if I were to follow that technical definition of veganism just because I consider myself a vegan, do I cut out humanely sourced ingredients such as honey and wool? Just because that's what is expected of a vegan? I don't necessarily agree.

I've been vegan for about 10 years now, and as the years keep stacking up, I keep disagreeing more and more about how black and white a vegan lifestyle is portrayed. I've always considered my vegan lifestyle more about being knowledgeable and mindful about what I'm putting in my body, and less about cutting out certain ingredients in a righteous manner.

First off, why is honey inhumane?
In short, it's the mass production of those ingredients. Transporting honey bees around the world and taking all their honey in order to keep up with mass corporation's demands is not in anyway humanely sourced honey. I won't support big brand honey or unethically sourced beeswax, but what's wrong with small farm, local honey?

My uncle used to be a bee keeper, and he always told me that the way he harvested honey was in no way cruel towards the bees. Bees produce more honey than they would ever need in their lifetime. On average, honey bees live about 6 weeks during peak season, and in those six weeks, an individual worker bee would produce 0.8 grams of honey. There are about 60,000 worker bees per colony. In one colony, in an average of 6 weeks, worker bees produce 48,000 grams of honey. Thats 105 lbs. (source) In order for bees to survive the winter, the colony needs at least 80 lbs of honey left in their hive. (source) That's 20 lbs of excess honey.

What are the benefits of honey and beeswax?
Local honey is a natural allergy remedy.  I only ever considered finding humanely sourced honey for my own personal use for the seasonal allergy benefits. My seasonal allergies are horrendous. And drugstore allergy medication isn't at all a natural option. It's really deciding which option would be the least impactful towards the mistreatment of animals and/or humans.

Though I have a vegan lifestyle and I'm expected to follow the technical definition of veganism, I don't think humanely sourced ingredients should be blindly labeled as off-limits. To me, my lifestyle is more about being mindful when it comes to what I buy and consume. I'd rather be informed on ingredients and why I should or shouldn't support them and then make my own educated decision on whether or not they align with my ethics and beliefs. At this point and time, humanely sourced honey and beeswax is okay with me.

Now, deciding whether or not the beeswax used in skincare/beauty products is ethically and humanely sourced or not is a whole other story.

What are your thoughts?

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