A Conversation on 'Why Honey is Not Vegan'

The "Why Honey is Not Vegan" site is the most popular and authoritative online resource for veganism and honey bees. The site is the first result on Google when searching for "vegan" and "honey," and has been sited in multiple books, including the American Dietetics Associations' book on sports nutrition. With the help of Kickstarter, a new fundraising website, a project has been started to save the "Why Honey is Not Vegan" site and give it a complete overhaul.

I first learned about the website in Spring 1999 when my new girlfriend at the time brought printouts of the site – printed out at her office on honey colored paper – to a weekly activist meeting. I later first contacted the author of the site in 2004 when I was doing research for an article that asked, "Is Honey Vegan?" – my first official assignment as the newly hired staff writer for a national nonprofit corporation. Two year later I meet the author, Noah Lewis, when he came to work for the same nonprofit. We have worked closely ever since – including leaving the nonprofit we worked for with in hours of each other because we had views regarding the role and importance of anti-racism that were not shared by management. We've since gone on to work together and separately on a number of projects on a range of social justice issues. To say that the "Why Honey is Not Vegan" site has had an influence on the last ten years of my life would be an understatement.

I sat down last night with Noah to discuss the site and what can be done to help keep it alive.

The Garden: A Model for Change

I highly recommend watching Scott Hamilton Kennedy's documentary The Garden. This film brilliantly illustrates the following concrete realities as they are experienced by oppressed communities within the United States:

  1. It shows how the existing power structure is poorly suited to serving the interests of oppressed peoples.
  2. It shows how the existing power structure works extremely well at serving the interests of the owning-class.
  3. It shows how the existing power structure is bolstered throughout by White supremacy. (Read more...)

Get Help or Get Lost

Yesterday, Breeze Harper posted on the Sistah Vegan blog about her frustration with White self-identified vegans who think race and racism isn't an issue. Breeze says:

I'm at the point that if I have friends who are not willing to engage in anti-racist activism and aren't questioning "whiteness as a pathology"( because it truly is part of the fabric of the USA foundational beliefs), I am going to start kicking them to the curb. Seriously, if you haven't noticed, your friend Breeze here is B-L-A-C-K! If my real lived experiences of racism STILL don't convince you that it's a problem in the USA ... I can no longer be your friend until you seek therapy for your pathology.

Luckily, there are several self-help resources available to assist those of us who are White in managing our individual, cultural and institutional racism. Read more...

The Renewed Vegan Ideal

I first started The Vegan Ideal as a personal blog, but this new website is best understood as the manifestation of over a decade and a half of writing, thinking and organizing around veganism as a social justice movement.

One of the first thing worth noting about this site is that I use the words "vegan" and "veganism" differently than they are widely (mis)understood – specifically, the superficial definition given in the dictionary, which says a "vegan" is "a person who does not eat or use animal products."

Here I use the broadest and most basic interpretation of veganism, as articulated from the movement's early beginnings. (Read more...)

Δυναμική Αβλάβεια: Πολύ παραπάνω από την απουσία βασάνου/πόνου

Όταν ο H. Jay Dinshah ίδρυσε την Αμερικανική Vegan Society το 1960, ερμήνευσε το vegan ιδανικό της μη-εκμετάλλευσης ως ahimsa, ή "Δυναμική Αβλάβεια." Αυτό παραλληλίζεται με αυτό που γράφουν η Barbara Smith και ο Keith Tudor, ότι δηλαδή "η μη εκμετάλλευση μπορεί να αντιμετωπισθεί ως μέρος της... δέσμευσης του να μην προκαλούμε καμία ζημιά ή κακό."

Η Δυναμική Αβλάβεια είναι κάτι περισσότερο από την "μείωση του πόνου/βασάνου," επειδή ο πόνος είναι μόνο ένα σύμπτωμα της βλάβης. Ένα παυσίπονο θα μειώσει τον πόνο, αλλά δεν θα ξαναφτιάξει ένα σπασμένο κόκκαλο, ούτε, το πιο σημαντικό, θα κάνει τίποτα για αυτό που ίσως προκαλεί τα σπασμένα κόκκαλα. (Διαβάστε περισσότερα ...)

An Equitable World for All: Veganism and Radical Simplicity

Veganism is based on an enlightened sense of the responsibility to other humans and animals ... who share this planet with us, as well as progressive outlook encouraging a healthy, fertile soil and plant kingdom, and a sensible and equitable use of the earth's materials.

Because there is a mutual relationship between inequity and exploitation, the vegan ideal of nonexploitation is only possible in an equitable world. The inequitable control of resources provides the means to exploit others. Thus equity works to prevent exploitation.

Moving Beyond 'Yes on Prop 2'

California's Proposition 2, titled the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, frames an agenda around the assumption that so-called "farm animals" (specifically three subgroups of pigs, calves, and hens) are inherently exploitable. Solely concerned with the "prevention of cruelty," this framework not only takes eliminating the exploitation of other animals off the agenda, it intentionally blocks abolition from coming anywhere near the agenda.

This "anti-cruelty" approach is extremely successful at one thing: making us forget and preventing us from understanding how all forms of exploitation are wrong and oppressive. (Read more...)

LOVE: Living Opposed to Violence and Exploitation

I'm really excited about Living Opposed to Violence and Exploitation, or LOVE, a collective of anti-speciesist, anti-oppression vegan advocates who just launched a brand new website ( and vegan blog. In addition to the name LOVE, which brilliantly emphasizes what is positive about anti-violence and anti-oppression advocacy work, the collective is summed up nicely in its "L.O.V.E. FAQ":

Mocking Oppression

The baker of the so-called "stuffed turkey loaf" received numerous comments of praise. There was only one comment that questioned what was so funny about mocking a dead bird, particularly when "millions of turkeys are being killed in order to be eaten." I, too, think it's a little hard to find the humor in all this. And until I read the PPK thread on the "stuffed turkey loaf" I hadn't realized to what extent "mock meats" actually ridicule, not just imitate and mimic, the oppression of other animals, which makes "mock" a surprisingly apt term.

Moving From Abstraction to Veganism: Advocating Alternatives to Exploitation, Not Alternative Exploitation

One of the biggest myths used to drum up support for advocating new methods for exploiting other animals is that new exploitation methods will reduce the suffering of other animals living right now. This myth is based on the abstraction of helping "existing" nonhuman animals. This is an abstraction because those other animals being exploited right now will not actually exist by the time any changeover to the new method of exploitation is instituted. (Read more...)