Is honey better for the enviorment and animals than agave nectar? - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 05-01-2016, 08:58 PM
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Exclamation Is honey better for the enviorment and animals than agave nectar?

This post I stumbled upon is a year old (so I apologize if this has already been covered), but I was wondering what everyone's take on this is.

"Why vegans should use honey instead of agave nectar

Okay, so I might get a lot of hate for this, I might not. I don’t particularly care either way, as long as word gets out about this, because it’s extremely important to me.

As I’m sure most people know by now, bees are disappearing at alarming rates. Simply put, our entire species could not survive without them. This is due to a syndrome called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Many vegans opt to use agave nectar instead of honey, because agave nectar is plant based. But harvesting of agave nectar is threatening the existence of two other endangered species: Mexican long-nosed bats (who live strictly off of nectars - primarily agave nectar) and the Jaguarundi (a solitary feline who basically looks like a love child between a jungle cat and a ferret.) Approximately 113,126 acres of these animals’ habitat were destroyed from 1991 to 2000, and more has been destroyed since.

On the other hand, beekeepers are essential to increasing bee populations. They monitor the bees’ health and help protect them from dangerous parasites and pesticides that are suspected to cause CCD. In addition, well-kept bees never need to use the amount of honey they produce; Honey is made by the bees to consume only when there is not enough food for them outside the hive. In the care of a good beekeeper, this will only happen during the winter months, and the keeper will leave enough honey for the bees to thrive until it’s spring again.

It’s best to buy local, organic honey if at all possible. Local beekeepers will not use dangerous factory-farming methods, and it helps maintain your local bee population! If you want to help bees in a more active way than buying local honey, you can plant a bee garden or even become a small-scale beekeeper! (I don’t have a link for this, it’s best to check out local resources. Maybe even ask the person selling honey at your farmer’s market!)"

Source: http://itslittl3red.tumblr.com/post/...stead-of-agave

So, do you use honey, agave nectar, or is there another (better) alternative? I would love to hear your thoughts and learn what information you know about this.
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#2 Old 05-01-2016, 10:04 PM
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I use apple honee, which is distilled from Apple juice. It's really good, but a bit pricey. I also use agave, and as far as beekeepers and the environment: honey bees and others being exposed to pesticides and high stress conditions such as being moved from farm to farm are both contributing factors to hive collapse. There are more than just honey bees at stake here also. Making sure the agave is sustainably sourced is important, I get mine in bulk but know the person who does the orders for it, and the company sustainably sources.
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#3 Old 05-02-2016, 09:50 AM
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Wow, this is something new to me. I had no idea. I don't use much Agave but do use a little for dressing.
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#4 Old 05-02-2016, 09:53 AM
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I use sugar.
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#5 Old 05-02-2016, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LedBoots View Post
I use sugar.
Can you use sugar in recipes that claim to need honey/agave nectar? If so, I'm set.
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#6 Old 05-02-2016, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliakai View Post
I use apple honee, which is distilled from Apple juice. It's really good, but a bit pricey. I also use agave, and as far as beekeepers and the environment: honey bees and others being exposed to pesticides and high stress conditions such as being moved from farm to farm are both contributing factors to hive collapse. There are more than just honey bees at stake here also. Making sure the agave is sustainably sourced is important, I get mine in bulk but know the person who does the orders for it, and the company sustainably sources.
Thank you for all the helpful information (per usual), Aliakai. How do you find out if it's from a sustainable source? Do you just ask where it's ordered from and then look up the info yourself?
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#7 Old 05-02-2016, 12:23 PM
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Thank you for all the helpful information (per usual), Aliakai. How do you find out if it's from a sustainable source? Do you just ask where it's ordered from and then look up the info yourself?
This is the government's assessment of CCD: it lists some of the things being done about it, as well as theories on why it happens. Beekeepers are a major cause, as the bee stress issues are caused from moving the bees around from farm to farm for pollination, and increases the risk of exposure to parasitic mites.

There are a few things you can do. One is to try calling the manufacturer and ask about what their sustainability practices are: do they work with the farmers, or do they just order from collectives? This website lists some sustainable sources for agave. Most of the problem with agave is tequila and mezcal production, not necessarily people using it as a sweetener. If you're concerned about sustainability, avoiding alcohol is more the way to go.

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#8 Old 05-02-2016, 05:22 PM
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I've never liked honey, and the idea of where it comes from is pretty repulsive.
I do love bees and am choosing garden plantings with them in mind, as well as butterflies, birds, and whoever else needs a meal.

I've had a jug of maple syrup in my freezer for over a year now.
I do have a bottle of corn syrup which I'll use for granola bars now and then.
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#9 Old 05-02-2016, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Tues View Post
Can you use sugar in recipes that claim to need honey/agave nectar? If so, I'm set.
Try brown rice syrup or else Bee Free Honey. Both work beautifully in recipes that call for honey, such as granola.

I have rarely ever used agave nectar, maybe a half dozen times in the last five years. I have more commonly used locally made pure maple syrup, but more often than not I opt not to use any sugar and instead use fresh fruit or dried soaked dates. I also grow my own stevia plant and use that in the summer months. I just made a batch of white bean date bars for snacks for work and the dates work nicely as a sweetener.

I don't understand how taking and selling honey is going to help bees. Why not keep bees or grow crops that help them without taking their honey from them, which is their source of fuel? I am all for natural conservation of bees without exploiting them.

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#10 Old 05-02-2016, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tues View Post
Can you use sugar in recipes that claim to need honey/agave nectar? If so, I'm set.
I never liked the goopy sweeteners, except maple syrup. Here's a guide to using dry sugar instead of honey:

"When substituting a granulated for a liquid sweetener (e.g. using sucanat or coconut sugar when the recipe calls for maple syrup or honey), for every 1 cup of sweetener, add 1/4 cup of liquid from the recipe (that means also, for every 1/4 cup of honey, add 1 Tbsp of liquid)."
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#11 Old 05-03-2016, 02:46 AM
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I've never used agave nectar.
I use maple syrup; actually it is branded as 'maple syrup' but it's mainly carob syrup.
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#12 Old 05-09-2016, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by LedBoots View Post
I use sugar.
I use under 3 cups of organic sugar a year. Maybe a cup or two of maple syrup.

I don't eat that many sweets.....hence the surly attitude?
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#13 Old 05-09-2016, 03:33 PM
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i think honey is vegan, because keeping the bees alive is so critical and by having them produce honey we are keeping them around. i don't see it as cruelty when we take the honey (at least no one has proven it otherwise to me so far).

i didn't know that producing agave nectar was endangering other species...makes me rethink buying it next time
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#14 Old 05-09-2016, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by celinaemma View Post
i think honey is vegan, because keeping the bees alive is so critical and by having them produce honey we are keeping them around. i don't see it as cruelty when we take the honey (at least no one has proven it otherwise to me so far).

i didn't know that producing agave nectar was endangering other species...makes me rethink buying it next time
Honey is not considered vegan by the Vegan Society. https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vega...ition-veganism
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#15 Old 05-09-2016, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by celinaemma View Post
i think honey is vegan, because keeping the bees alive is so critical and by having them produce honey we are keeping them around. i don't see it as cruelty when we take the honey (at least no one has proven it otherwise to me so far).

i didn't know that producing agave nectar was endangering other species...makes me rethink buying it next time
The honey industry isn't interested in the future of bees, but their businesses future. It's the pesticides, the GMO crops, so many changes brought on by industrialization we don't understand that's causing the collapse of colonies.
Honey CAN be taken in small amounts from hives, but honey is marketed so strongly in as many products as gelatin. It has no magic properties, and we don't need it at all. Ethical bee keepers allow the bees their natural foods and take care in transporting them.
Kinda like wool. It doesn;t a sheep to have it's wool shorn for a sweater that can someone most of their life, but that isn't how wool is taken or used in the bigger picture.
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#16 Old 05-10-2016, 01:56 AM
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I prefer maple. agave tastes odd to me.

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#17 Old 05-10-2016, 04:01 AM
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Wow, the initial post was a real eye-opener for me regarding agave nectar. Thanks for sharing and stimulating some conversation on the topic!

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#18 Old 05-11-2016, 05:50 AM
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I've never tried agave nectar... I prefer maple syrup! And also sugar
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#19 Old 05-11-2016, 07:20 PM
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Personally, I choose agave nectar over honey. I don't know how much agave nectar you're using but I'd venture a guess that it's not much and whether you buy agave or honey isn't going to have a big impact. Probably more important to focus on the other major issues.

Also, I take issue with the link posted. it's BS

For one, the claims are not supported. The links are broken so there aren't sources for the claims of environmental damage caused by agave. Second, there are two products from agave: the nectar we use as a sweetener and also tequila. There are actually a variety of agave plants and some are better for tequila and some are better for sweet nectar. The one that's used most for tequila is called Agave tequilana and that's the one that is a bat habitat. Agave americana is the one that's usually used for nectar. This is the one you will see in Vegas all over the place as a decorative plant. I had one in my garden at my old house

OK, and the Jaguarundi is a feline. That means it's a meat-eater. A carnivore, totally and completely. It doesn't eat agave plants.
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#20 Old 05-12-2016, 09:32 PM
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Personally, I choose agave nectar over honey. I don't know how much agave nectar you're using but I'd venture a guess that it's not much and whether you buy agave or honey isn't going to have a big impact. Probably more important to focus on the other major issues.

Also, I take issue with the link posted. it's BS

For one, the claims are not supported. The links are broken so there aren't sources for the claims of environmental damage caused by agave. Second, there are two products from agave: the nectar we use as a sweetener and also tequila. There are actually a variety of agave plants and some are better for tequila and some are better for sweet nectar. The one that's used most for tequila is called Agave tequilana and that's the one that is a bat habitat. Agave americana is the one that's usually used for nectar. This is the one you will see in Vegas all over the place as a decorative plant. I had one in my garden at my old house

OK, and the Jaguarundi is a feline. That means it's a meat-eater. A carnivore, totally and completely. It doesn't eat agave plants.
Thank you for pointing out the sources in the original post I copied here are broken. They worked for me before on the ones I clicked, but I guess it has been so long that now they're not on hosted sites. Is there anyway I can make an edit in the original post noting that sadly the sources links are broken? Sorry, I'm new to this site and I'm not sure how all the functions work yet.

Oh, and I don't currently use either. I was really just interested on others' opinions, because I don't believe honey is vegan and maybe the people here knew of other replacements to use instead.

Also, I was actually wondering why a feline was mentioned in the first place, but assumed maybe she was just making a point about their natural habitat being changed. Who knows what she was intending?

Thanks again for pointing out the broken links.
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#21 Old 05-14-2016, 03:37 AM
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Honey is not vegan, it is cruel. Also unnecessary. My husband, son, and I have been vegan over a decade without needing, wanting, or missing honey or agave nectar.

"To prevent the queen bee from leaving the hive, honey producers sometimes cut off her wings. Often, queen bees are artificially inseminated. Large commercial operations sometimes take all the honey instead of leaving enough for the bees to get through the winter. The honey is then replaced with a cheap sugar substitute. Most beekeepers remove all the spring-season honey.In colder areas, some bee keepers will burn the beehives, killing all the bees inside, before the winter starts, to reduce cost. Bees are often killed or harmed by haphazard handling. http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_cruelty/honey.htm

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#22 Old 05-14-2016, 03:43 AM
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“Unique among all God’s creatures, only the honeybee improves the environment and preys not on any other species.”

~ Royden Brown

From the basil plant a strong hum sounds, soft wings vibrate the air, endlessly searching for nectar. To truly watch these amazing creatures plunder and absent-mindedly pollinate these tiny white flowers makes one wonder how such a small creature could make such a large difference in our lives.

Yet without the humble bee:

– The food on your table
– The flowers in your garden
– The clothes on your back

might just disappear.

Bees* pollinate nearly 80% of all fruit, vegetable and seed crops in the U.S. We may be able to spray noxious fertilizers and pesticides on plants to “rid” ourselves of some problems (and create new ones). But we have yet to create a chemical that can successfully pollinate large crops. Nonetheless, we have still created an agricultural system that is in danger of killing one of its strongest contributors, in the pursuit of easy pollination and honey.

*Although there are numerous species of bees that pollinate flowers/crops, this job has been disproportionately taken over by farmed honeybees.

We’ve been tricked into believing that honey is simply a byproduct of the essential pollination provided by farmed honeybees. Did you know though that the honeybee’s wild counterparts (such as bumblebees, carpenter and digger bees) are much better pollinators? They are also less likely than farmed honeybees to be affected by mites and Africanized bees. The issue is that these native bees can hibernate for up to 11 months out of the year and do not live in large colonies. Thus, they do not produce massive amounts of honey. Enter a $157 million dollar a year industry and three reasons you should stop eating honey today.

[http://gentleworld]
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#23 Old 05-14-2016, 03:45 AM
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This is the true story of how this “healthy sweetener” is produced:

The bees search for a source of nectar. When they find a suitable flower they dig in and swallow the nectar into their ‘crop’ (like a stomach for honey).

Not too bad so far… But wait.

The bees then chew the regurgitated nectar, mixing it with saliva to add enzymes.Then they swallow it again.Then they regurgitate it again.This process is repeated…many, many times.

If we could see this process in action, would we really want to slather this substance on our toast? While some people may shrug and say ‘so what?’, the fact is that honey is a mix of regurgitated food and spit.

Let me ask you this:

Is there any other food that you would willingly eat that has been swallowed, vomited, mixed with spit, re chewed, swallowed and then regurgitated again? I don’t care how sweet it is, or what the “health benefits” are, one of my rules for life is: Do not eat anything that came out of another animal’s stomach.

The lives of bees are complex: they feel pain, they dance to communicate and they view the world through Technicolor eyes. While they may not directly offer their help to us, we should be grateful for all they do willingly and ask no more.

I hope that next time you see a bee, you will watch more closely and show your appreciation for their work by planting a flower-rich garden and leaving the honey, wax and other bee products for those winged creatures that truly need them.

Even the smallest of creatures deserves the right to live their lives free from being part of a production line. http://gentleworld.org/3-reasons-not-to-eat-honey/

Last edited by LedBoots; 05-14-2016 at 03:48 AM.
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#24 Old 05-14-2016, 12:30 PM
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Thank you for posting all that updated and sourced information, LedBoots.
I knew I was right not to consider honey vegan, for both dietary and ethical reasons.

I feel so bad for the poor bees.

I really wish I was able to edit the original post to tell people to be sure to read your post or, better yet, move your posts to the top.
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