By Kaylie-Ann Flannigan
Many people equate the term “vegan” with a way of eating. Vegans do not eat animal products (meat, eggs, cheese, etc.)
Many vegans embrace veganism as a full lifestyle change, therefore they do not purchase any animals products such as leather, wool, or products tested on animals.
Personally, I do my best to live a vegan lifestyle and eat a vegan diet.
Except for the occasional free item, I personally find a lot of satisfaction in knowing that my diet does not harm animals, the environment, or my body.
Many people ask how I can give up cheese or other animal products, since no animals are directly harmed in the process. The simple answer to this is that the person obviously does not know how these products are usually made in large factory farms.
A large number of people ask why those who practice veganism do not eat honey. There is a great debate in the vegan subculture concerning whether or not honey is vegan. Honeybees are often exploited for their honey. Bees create honey for themselves so that they can eat it, not for humans to take it away.
Many large-scale bee farms have to move hives and smoke out the bees, which kills bees in the process of gathering their product. This is a huge issue because the bee population is spiraling down, and obviously bees are important to everyone, since they pollinate flowers as well as the food that we grow to consume.
As for me, I do occasionally eat honey if it is a large component of something else that is mainly vegan because sometimes there are not other options to eat. If I purchase honey I will purchase local honey, where I know that the exploitation of bees is minimal. I think that the main issue is commodifying animals that are so crucial to our ecosystem, and hurting them further when they are already doing so poorly from other factors.
Vegans do not want to see animals suffer, and I do not think the general population does either, but if you choose to eat animal products, from meat to honey, please do your research and find out what is happening behind the scenes. I would also be happy to talk to anyone with questions or concerns about veganism and beyond.