In 1944, a group of British activists including Elsie Shrigley and Donald Watson created a faction from the Vegetarian Society called the Vegan Society. They coined the term by taking the first and last part of the word "vegetarian". As Watson has said, "Veganism starts with vegetarianism and takes it to its logical conclusion."
As defined by the Vegan Society, the definition of vegan means that one will not eat any animal products or animal byproducts including meat, fish, dairy products nor eggs. It also includes not eating honey.
Humans use byproducts of honeybees including honey, beeswax, bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis and venom. The process of acquiring these products means removing the honeycombs from the hive, which can injure or crush many bees. Bees who sting the beekeepers will also die. Peak production time for honey can mean taking honey from around 155 billion bees from almost 3 million colonies just to produce enough honey for the U.S. alone.
Queen honeybees also typically have a lifespan of five years but will sometimes be killed off every one to two years to keep the hive more prosperous in honey making. Beekeepers will also sometimes clip the Queen honeybee's wings to ensure that they won't fly away and take the hive with her.
Whether you happen to be a full vegan or you just care about the wellbeing of honeybees, you can use agave nectar as a great sugar and honey alternative from anything from your granola to your smoothies!
Photo: kthread on flickr