Whether honey is meant to be consumed by vegan or not is a frequently asked question. Is Honey Vegan? This is a widely discussed controversy as well. Vegans abstain themselves from consuming any sort of animals or animal originated products. That’s why eggs and even dairy products are also a big no for them. There is a popular misconception about honey. Many of us strongly believe that bees produce honey for humans. This is absolutely wrong. They produce honey for their own uses.
It’s time to enlighten ourselves and take a proper decision. First, it’s important to know about the exact definition of honey.
Honey is the basic source of food for bees. Bees visit flowering plants and collect nectar from them. Instead, they help the flowers in the pollination process. The collected nectar is further processed by enzymes present in the bees to produce honey. Further processing of honey occurs once the bees are back in their hives. During winter, bees receive required essential nutrients from honey. The hive assures adequate honey for every member.
Beekeepers collect the excess honey from the hives and process them for consumer purposes.
Is it right for Vegans to have Honey?
As per vegan ethics, it is preferable to stay away from honey. Again the choice is yours. But you must know about some unethical sides of honey harvesting.
• Burning Down Bee Hives
Certain contagious diseases have proved to be fatal for the honey bees. A very common practice to prevent the spread of such diseases is burning down the affected hives containing the sick bees. This is surely a cruel act as per vegan theory. Beekeepers can control such disease through rigid monitoring as well.
• Clipping the Wings of Queen Bee
Yes, you read it rightly. Sometimes the wings of queen bee are clipped so that she is unable to fly. This will prevent her from setting up a new hive and also for population control.
• Alternatives for Honey
Many beekeepers place the fructose-rich syrup in the hives as a common substitute of honey. But research has proved honey has the necessary elements that make bees healthy. So in the absence of honey-based diet, they are prone to be affected by diseases that may cause complete destruction of colonies.
• Use of Pesticides
Application of certain pesticides to protect the hives from the attacks of mites have proved to be detrimental for the health of bees. This resulted in a complete collapse of certain colonies.
Substitutes of Honey for Vegan
Here are a few suitable alternatives of honey for all the vegans.
The dark brown textured syrup is prepared by the processing of sugarcane. This can be a good alternative for baking purposes.
It is made from the sap of the maple seeds. It bears a resemblance with honey as per the consistency. But flavour-wise, maple syrup is more intense. This plays the role of an ideal sweetener as it is rich in antioxidants.