There is a debate among vegans concerning bee products. Most vegans do not want to promote any exploitation of animals, but hearing of the rapidly declining bee populations leaves us with the question “What can we do to help the bees and which stance do we take?”
It can be quite perplexing for a vegan who subsists primarily on food pollinated by bees.
- Strict Vegans do not use any animal product for consumption, clothing, or personal use. Honey, bee pollen, beeswax and propholis are products made by bees.
- Bees are killed in the process of harvesting honey.
- Vegans are committed to the protection of animals and bees which are exploited for profit.
- Commercial beekeepers kill thousands of bees by shipping them across the continent for the use of pollination which can stress the hives.
- Bees are fed sugar syrup or are fed on mono crops which compromises their immune systems, which causes malnourishment and makes them prone to diseases.
- Most local beekeepers will tell you that their beekeeping is not profitable. They consider it a financial investment in a passionate hobby – the love of bees.
- Local beekeepers wish to provide bees with a safe home and practice compassionate beekeeping with the intent to try to not harm the bees. They do all they can to not move their hives or do anything to stress the bees.
- They are concerned about the alarming decline in bee populations and know that they are helping increase their numbers in their community.
- They have seen first hand how our local gardens, orchards and farms are mostly dependent on the pollination of bees and how having a hive close by increases the production of fruits and vegetables.
That is a very simplified list of pros and cons. My question is regardless of which side you are on…what can we do to help the declining bee populations?
Recently Whole Foods in Rhode Island decided to make a point. They took all the products in their produce department that are directly pollinated by bees OFF their shelves. For all the stores customers, the impact was obvious. And that is just the products bees DIRECTLY pollinate. How about all the products that depend on indirect pollination. The statistic are scary.
I am hopeful that more people will get involved in their community to help the bees survive and thrive.