Vegans: To Bee or Not to Bee?

Debate over bee explotation risks deluting animal rights message
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 31, 2008 7:15 PM CDT
Vegans: To Bee or Not to Bee?
Kim Otto examines the bees at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. Hard-line vegans argue that honey production is on par with dairy farming as being cruel and exploitive.   (KRT Photos)

Although many vegans view buttered toast and milk as sacrilegious snack fare, a growing “flexitarian” attitude could loosen up the menu to include honey, writes Daniel Engber for Slate. Vegan hardliners argue consumption of the beekeeping byproduct amounts to supporting forced labor, while nectarous proponents counter that such logic is a recipe for an absurdly restrictive diet.

“To debate the question in public only makes the vegan movement seem silly and dogmatic,” writes Engber. The larger danger, however, could be the dilution of the movement’s focus on exploited animals, says one Vegan Outreach exec. “If we present veganism as being about the exploitation of honeybees, it makes it easier to ignore the real noncontroversial suffering.” (Read more vegan diet stories.)

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