Backyard Beekeepers Still Harm and Exploit.
I just realized something that I can’t believe I never realized before.
So I grew up in a rather upscale area where a lot of people were retired and kept hobbies such as gardening and beekeeping. A few years ago, long before I really knew anything about veganism, my friend’s mom bought a few backyard bee hives so she could sell the honey and beeswax at the local farmers market to make some money. Now it was pretty obvious, looking back, that my friend’s mom not only knew very little about keeping bees, but only kept them in order to make some extra bucks off them.
Back then, I loved to come over and visit the bee boxes and got quite a bit of free honey out of it too. Seriously. There were pounds upon pounds of honey in the fridge, two or three large vats of the stuff, and a LOT of beeswax (which by the way takes a lot more time and effort for bees to produce than honey does) so it was obvious they were taking quite a lot from the bees. I didn’t think about how this effected the bees at the time as I figured they knew what they were doing.
They kept the bees for maybe a little under a year (spring through fall) and sold a lot of honey and beeswax candles in that short amount of time. I remember coming back the next spring, and seeing that there were no more bees in the bee boxes. I asked my friend where they went and she simply said “Oh, they all died off in the winter. But my mom doesn’t need them anymore anyway, because she has a new job and doesn’t need to sell honey anymore.”
And just like that, the bees were literally boiled down to a commodity, and once they were of no more value, in a gross display of exploitation and neglect, my friend’s mom simply stopped caring for them and let them die, probably because they had no food left and were not even provided fake food (like sugar water) to sustain them during the winter.
So yeah, three colonies of bees kept a live for under a mere year, and then all left to perish in the winter.
These are the backyard beekeepers that everyone is raving and ranting about, and telling people to support. These are the so-called “cruelty-free” beekeeper. This could very well be where your “organic, local, cruelty-free honey” comes from.
Local backyard bee keeping doesn’t mean cruelty-free and is by no mean a good way to “save the bees”, it just means you are blind to what goes down in people’s backyards. And from stories I have heard from many others who have personally known backyard beekeepers, it is not uncommon for them to be ignorant and neglectful, over-exploiting their bee colonies until they die from the stress.
But hey, they’re just insects right? Who fucking cares if they are exploited and neglected for their bodily secretions that are literally turned into a fucking condiment for humans to spread on a piece of bread. Am I right?