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By Jane Watkinson
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Buying honey products funds exploitation and environmental problems…

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We won it for the bees“, Avaaz announced, when Europe banned pesticides. So what’s my problem with this you may ask. Well, as a vegan and related anti-capitalist, banning pesticides misses the underlying source of the problem. That isn’t to say I am all for pesticides; banning them will just not address the real reasons for the demise of bees and why increasingly our food sources are at risk.

So the connection between capitalism and honey bees? Well, it comes down to the connection between profit, exploitation and false needs. We don’t need to eat honey – it is a false need. We trap and exploit honey bees in order to produce endless supply of money, restricting their freedom of movement and even interfering with their living arrangements to increase ‘productivity’ and thus profit, often involving full-time factory based production.

Freedom? Interfering? How? Well, one example is how Queens, despite being able to live for up to 5 years, are ‘replaced’ every 1-2 years by commercial beekeepers in order to “prevent swarming, aggression, mite infestation, and to keep honey production at a maximum“. This relates to commercial suppliers of bees transporting the bees around the world in disgusting conditions. Such travel also spreads diseases, threatening bees. Queen bees, once bought, often have their wings ripped off so they don’t fly away.

Some bees are even killed before the winter to increase profits, with colonies killed “in the fall, to extract and sell most of the honey that would have been consumed during the winter months and start with package bees the following spring.” Also, “commercial beekeepers frequently extract [steal] all fall-season honey and then feed colonies either sugar syrup or corn syrup in quantities great enough to provide all the winter food the bees would need.”

Importantly, and this is the key point in terms of ignoring the underlying source of the problems:

Additionally, more on this important point about there being better natural pollinators than honeybees:

So again it comes down to money that the beekeepers make. A classic example of exploitation and the problems when animal interests and human interests, especially false needs and money, cross each other and the consequentially devastating effect this has had on the environment, pollinators and the bee population. The whole process is only undermining natural processes that ensure efficient pollination of food sources that are now in danger. However, as shown by sound bites such as “inspired by the beekeepers“, by Avaaz, the cause of the problems for the bee population and food sources in general have been ignored through a fantastic bit of PR.

Whilst the problems we have got are going to take more than not eating honey, stopping funding such exploitation that is threatening better pollinators is key to us helping tackle such abuse and environmental damage. Banning pesticides will not stop these practices that are based around making more money and profit. Stopping eating and consuming honey is essentially an anti-capitalist practice. If you are against exploitation, false needs and environmental damage you should not eat honey. Honey bees have been truly used and abused, with the ongoing environmental damage, despite the pesticides ban, potentially catastrophic.


It’s all about making money. Don’t help fund this exploitation and the destruction of the environment.



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