In case you haven’t seen this: http://uniter.ca/view/7392/, I’m vegan. And as a vegan, I get asked all the time about why I don’t buy wool or eat honey. Besides the fact that by definition they are animal products, which vegans by definition do not consume, I dug up some facts to help explain to people the reasons why vegans take issue with these two seemingly harmless animal products, and why if you meet anyone who tells you they’re vegan but they still eat honey, you should call them on it, because they’re not really vegan. I hope this will answer those burning questions that I’m sure at least a few of you have had. So without further ado, I present:
Why Honey Is Not Vegan (and it’s not up for debate):
-Queen bees have their wings clipped so they can’t leave the hive and move the colony elsewhere.
-Queen bees have a natural lifespan of about 5 years but they are usually killed every year and replaced.
-Some beekeepers artificially inseminate the Queen using hooks and syringes. The semen is collected from male bees by crushing their heads and thoraxes, thus turning them inside out.
-After honey is taken from the hive in the spring, it is replaced with white sugar syrup, a poor substitute for the bees’ natural food supply.
-Often the colonies are simply starved or killed off to avoid having to maintain them during the winter.
-Farmed bees are more vulnerable to other insect attacks and diseases.
-Wild bees are also threatened by man-made changes to their environment. Colony Collapse Disorder is threatening bee populations everywhere, and some of the proposed causes are malnutrition, stress, disease, mites, pesticides, and migratory beekeeping.
-Every time honey is extracted from the hive, it results in bee deaths. The hive is smoked out, bees are crushed, and many die trying to sting the beekeeper.
-Like other factory-farmed animals, they are victim to stressful transportation, genetic manipulation, and unnatural living conditions.
Why Wool Is Not Vegan (and it’s not up for debate):
-The most commonly raised sheep for wool industry purposes is the Merino. Merinos have been bred to have wrinkly skin to produce more wool. Their coats are so thick that some die of heat exhaustion during hot months. Unlike wild sheep, Merinos cannot shed their fleece. Their wool will grow longer and longer while flies lay eggs in the moist folds of their skin. The hatched maggots can eat the sheep alive. To prevent this from happening, ranchers will perform an operation called mulesing. Without anesthesia large strips of flesh are cut from the backs of lambs and around their tails.
-Other procedures performed without anesthesia include punching a hole in the ears of lambs several weeks after birth, docking their tails and castrating the males.
-Because shearing too late in the year would mean a loss of wool, most sheep are sheared while it is still too cold. An estimated one million sheep die every year of exposure after premature shearing.
-Shearers are not paid by the hour, but by volume. They handle the animals very roughly and many sheep get injured.
-Sheep, like other farmed animals, are subject to factory farm living conditions such as overcrowding, confinement to tiny pens, no exercise, no sunlight and poor nutrition.
-When the wool production of sheep declines, they are sold for slaughter.