What’s wrong with eating honey?
Unfortunately, like factory farmers, many beekeepers take inhumane steps to ensure personal safety and reach production quotas. It’s not unusual for larger honey producers to cut off the queen bee’s wings so that she can’t leave the colony or to have her artificially inseminated on a bee-sized version of the factory farm “rape rack.” When the keeper wants to move a queen to a new colony, she is carried with “bodyguard” bees, all of whom—if they survive transport—will be killed by bees in the new colony. Large commercial operations may also take all the honey instead of leaving the 60 pounds or so that bees need to get through the winter. They replace the rich honey with a cheap sugar substitute that is not as fortifying. In colder areas, if the keepers consider it too costly to keep the bees alive through the winter, they destroy the hives using cyanide gas. Also, bees are often killed or have their wings and legs torn off by haphazard handling. According to the Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association, humans have been using honey since about 15,000 B.C., but it wasn’t until the 20th century that people turned bees into factory-farmed animals. Happily, many sweeteners are made without killing bees: Rice syrup, molasses, sorghum, Sucanat, barley malt, maple syrup, cane sugar, and dried fruit or fruit concentrates can replace honey in recipes. Using these will keep your diet bee-free.