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Old 03-19-2013, 07:33 AM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
25,906 posts, read 36,334,219 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattknap View Post
I'm eat a completely plant based diet and I do consume honey. It is nutritious and delicious - love it a little in my herb tea once in a while.
I went to a beekeeping farm to see the process in action. The only thing that seems like it might be cruel (at least at this farm) is that the queen spends her whole life inside the beehive box. The drones can get in to fertilize her, but she can't get out. In the wild, I believe the queen leaves the hive to be fertilized but afterward she stays inside the hive, constantly laying eggs.
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Idaho/Wyoming
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Most honey (or beeswax, royal jelly, pollen, propolis) does not come from a nice little farm, where someone keeps a few hives in a lovely shaded grove. It's from factory operations. Bees are selectively bred to produce excess honey. They are doused with chemicals to prevent mites. The queen is selected by the beekeepers, not the hive, and she's usually killed and replaced every year or two so the beekeeper can keep control of the colony and prevent swarming. Sometimes her wings are removed. Smokers are used to sedate the bees and block their natural warning pheromones, because we wouldn't want them to act naturally aggressive and try to defend their hive when we go in to steal their food. Many are crushed as the honey is removed. They are greatly manipulated solely to satisfy human wants. Many beekeepers, even some small scale ones, kill all the bees in the late fall so they don't have the expense of feeding them over the winter (since they've stolen the bees' winter food supply and would have to feed them sugar water or corn syrup, it's cheaper to just kill them off). Many large operations travel to chase pollen and spread disease as they do so.

As with honey, I guess most people, including a lot of vegetarians, don't see anything wrong with consuming dairy, or wearing wool or silk, or sleeping under a down comforter, or eating fruit or candy that's been coated in animal or insect derived wax. Vegans do, and because alternatives are so easy to come by, there are absolutely no extreme measures required to avoid those products. If people don't understand that, and most people don't because they are more concerned with convenience or habits or instant gratification, then it may seem like it would take too much effort. But to call it extreme simply because of a lack of understanding it is not correct.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:31 PM
 
2,575 posts, read 4,691,430 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJulia View Post
I went to a beekeeping farm to see the process in action. The only thing that seems like it might be cruel (at least at this farm) is that the queen spends her whole life inside the beehive box. The drones can get in to fertilize her, but she can't get out. In the wild, I believe the queen leaves the hive to be fertilized but afterward she stays inside the hive, constantly laying eggs.
My degrees are actually in entomology, and I took several beekeeping courses in college and grad school. The drones don't fertilize a queen in the hive. They form DCAs (Drone Congregation Areas) fairly high off the ground, and a queen naturally raised in a hive makes a maiden flight where she's fertilized by one or more drones.

The queens you obtain from beekeeping supply houses are force-mated with drones under a microscope.

I'm not sure where people are getting the idea that beekeepers kill off their hives over the winter. That is economically unsound as you never take all the honey out of a hive; you leave some for the bees. With the ongoing problems with colony collapse disorder, it makes no sense to kill off a productive hive, either. And if colonies weren't fumigated for mites, there would be even fewer honey bees than there are now. Remember, honey bees are not native to this country; they are Eurasian and were introduced here, which is one reason they have pest problems. In Kamchatka, where our honeybees originated, they are much more resistant to certain mites, and the USDA Bee Biology in Baton Rouge had a program once of importing some bees from there to breed with American stocks to try to breed some resistance into them. I don't know how successful that was since my field of work has shifted to virology since then and I haven't followed the story.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Idaho/Wyoming
584 posts, read 475,579 times
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Malcom Sanford, an Extension Apiculturist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida and Roger Hoopingarner, a Professor in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State explain why some beekeepers choose to kill off their colonies in the fall rather than care for them over the winter:
The other option is to kill colonies in the fall, extract and sell most of the honey that would have been consumed during the winter months and start with package bees the following spring. This appears practical since the 60 or so pounds of honey that would have been consumed by an over-wintering colony more than offset the cost of the package of bees. The labor savings seen also support the conclusion that using package bees has advantages. When analyzed more completely, however, the cost savings from selling honey that would have been used in winter may be offset by the reduced success rate of colonies started from packages. Package bee colonies may also have reduced value in pollination and honey production as compared to an overwintered colony (Sanford & Hoopingarrner, 748).
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:41 PM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,288 posts, read 17,960,936 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susannah18 View Post
Most honey (or beeswax, royal jelly, pollen, propolis) does not come from a nice little farm, where someone keeps a few hives in a lovely shaded grove. It's from factory operations. Bees are selectively bred to produce excess honey. They are doused with chemicals to prevent mites. The queen is selected by the beekeepers, not the hive, and she's usually killed and replaced every year or two so the beekeeper can keep control of the colony and prevent swarming. Sometimes her wings are removed. Smokers are used to sedate the bees and block their natural warning pheromones, because we wouldn't want them to act naturally aggressive and try to defend their hive when we go in to steal their food. Many are crushed as the honey is removed. They are greatly manipulated solely to satisfy human wants. Many beekeepers, even some small scale ones, kill all the bees in the late fall so they don't have the expense of feeding them over the winter (since they've stolen the bees' winter food supply and would have to feed them sugar water or corn syrup, it's cheaper to just kill them off). Many large operations travel to chase pollen and spread disease as they do so.

As with honey, I guess most people, including a lot of vegetarians, don't see anything wrong with consuming dairy, or wearing wool or silk, or sleeping under a down comforter, or eating fruit or candy that's been coated in animal or insect derived wax. Vegans do, and because alternatives are so easy to come by, there are absolutely no extreme measures required to avoid those products. If people don't understand that, and most people don't because they are more concerned with convenience or habits or instant gratification, then it may seem like it would take too much effort. But to call it extreme simply beause of a lack of understanding it is not correct.
What you have stated is not true for all. I live in a state where beekeepers abound. I buy from a gentleman whose bees are kept at a local organic farm where no chemical pesticides are used. I have several friends who are beekeepers.....theconditions you describe are foreign to them.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Idaho/Wyoming
584 posts, read 475,579 times
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A gentleman keeping bees on an organic farm probably doesn't fall into the category of factory operation. What I stated absolutely does occur. If not at the farms where you choose to purchase honey, well, that's great.

Don't believe me? You can find lots of information here Beesource.com - Beekeeping resources for beekeepers since 1997! about mail order bees, replacing queens to control your colony, deciding whether it makes financial sense to kill the bees before winter, etc. It's a resource for beekeepers, not vegans, so no one can claim it's biased against honey production.

I'm done discussing honey. Bee products are not vegan and as a vegan I don't use them. If others want to use those products, I don't make them defend that decision (although I hope it's an informed one), so I shouldn't have to defend my decision not to use them, especially not on a vegetarian/vegan forum.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Volcano
12,971 posts, read 23,620,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susannah18 View Post
But to call it extreme simply because of a lack of understanding it is not correct.
Partly it's considered extreme because it is so rare in our culture. According to a survey commissioned by Vegetarian Times Magazine, only about 1/2 of 1% of Americans are vegans, and according to my personal experience I'd guess more than half of them use honey and wear leather shoes. So maybe 2 or 3 out of a thousand people make choices similar to yours. I call that rare, others call it extreme.

The most extreme form of veganism is the one some Jains practice as part of their commitment to ahimsa, or non-violence to liviving beings, in which they do not eat root vegetables, such as potatoes and onions, because tiny organisms are injured when the plant is pulled out of the ground. They also will not kill a mosquito that is biting them, and many wear thin cotton masks over their nose and mouth to avoid accidentally inhaling any small insects. To me, that is the extreme. And yet, I do not criticize any of it, I merely choose not to share those practices.

Quote:
If others want to use those products, I don't make them defend that decision (although I hope it's an informed one), so I shouldn't have to defend my decision not to use them, especially not on a vegetarian/vegan forum.
No, I don't think you should have to defend anything about your personal choices. They are your choices. But when you share information that is debatable, then you should expect to be challenged on the truth of that information.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,288 posts, read 17,960,936 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susannah18 View Post
A gentleman keeping bees on an organic farm probably doesn't fall into the category of factory operation. What I stated absolutely does occur. If not at the farms where you choose to purchase honey, well, that's great.

Don't believe me? You can find lots of information here Beesource.com - Beekeeping resources for beekeepers since 1997! about mail order bees, replacing queens to control your colony, deciding whether it makes financial sense to kill the bees before winter, etc. It's a resource for beekeepers, not vegans, so no one can claim it's biased against honey production.

I'm done discussing honey. Bee products are not vegan and as a vegan I don't use them. If others want to use those products, I don't make them defend that decision (although I hope it's an informed one), so I shouldn't have to defend my decision not to use them, especially not on a vegetarian/vegan forum.
I respect your opinion Susannah. I understand your thinking and reasoning in not supporting the big commercial honey producers....I will continue to buy from sources that I know respect their bees and treat them humanely. One thing I do know about some bee keepers - they take all the honey from the hives in order to sell it and give their bees a sugar-based substitute - which results in inferior health in the bees. I'm careful to make sure that the honey I buy is from bee keepers who do not do this.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:36 AM
 
7,112 posts, read 9,347,648 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukiyo-e View Post
My degrees are actually in entomology, and I took several beekeeping courses in college and grad school. The drones don't fertilize a queen in the hive. They form DCAs (Drone Congregation Areas) fairly high off the ground, and a queen naturally raised in a hive makes a maiden flight where she's fertilized by one or more drones...
Thanks for clearing up that mating flight issue, ukiyo-e; I could not imagine how any beekeeper could overcome the honeybee's instincts to the extent of depriving all parties of the necessary mating flight.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:37 PM
 
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Do some vegans, then, advocate not killing mosquitoes, flies, bedbugs, black widows, etc.? Just wondering if it goes to that extreme.
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