Benign Neglect and the Vegan abandonment of the honey bees
As a 3 times Guinness record holder who is listed for speaking on the subjects “the history of herbs in maintaining physical fitness” 1986 & 87 Guinness Book and “Vegetarian Athletic Nutrition” 1989 Guinness Book, I assumed that all of my peers within the plant based community would be very interested in my research that would allow me to achieve these records decades before many of them were practicing plant based nutrition or for that matter born. For the record (pun intended), all three of my speeches were based upon my books on plant based nutrition, which makes those books Guinness records as well as Guinness Archives.
A few years back, I reached out to a vegan periodical regarding an interview. Initially, the editor was very excited about the interview, a few weeks later after not hearing back from him, I followed up with him via email. He responded that his publisher stated that since I used Bee nutrition they couldn’t write about me.
PDN Vegetarianism was developed by me in 1977 through my copy written work titled The Philosophy of Divine Nutrition. The two basic principles behind the diet is that every religious text (Bible, Koran, Torah, Vedas, etc), all have principles of diet, health and longevity as well as extol the products of the Beehive and the value of the bees to humanity. The second is based upon the theories of sports nutrition as outlined in the late Bruce Lee’s Tao of Jeet June Do. In this work he outlines the Mental Cultivation of JKD as well as a diet. The Mental Cultivation consists of the thoughts of J. Krishnamurti, Zen and Taoism. The diet he proposed was buildup/breakdown (adipose tissue) and muscular diet.
In my doctoral thesis, I postulated the idea that if your mental cultivation is based upon the thoughts of Krishnamurti, Zen and Taoism, the chances that you would develop a high protein meat/drug diet would be very slim.
PDN Vegetarianism encompasses the entire world of whole food plant based nutrition. You could consider it to be the world’s largest salad bar. Historically lacto-ovo vegetarianism was one of the first forms of plant based nutrition to be practiced and while I am not an advocate of either, I respect and acknowledge all of those who came before me who were advocating whole food plant based nutrition who started out as lacto-ovo vegetarians. I especially acknowledge the athletes that many within the plant based community point to as examples of plant based champions.
All people who consume a plant based diet are dependent upon pollinators for a third or more of what they eat. Bees are one of the principle pollinators on Earth. That some within the vegan community do not consume the products of the Bee Hive does not mean that they are not benefiting from the pollination work that bees do. Where there are vegans who consider Bee farming and the collecting of the products of the beehive to be exploitation of the bees, then those vegans should not consume any plant foods that were depended upon bees for their pollination. Just as slave labor and stealing are crimes, so is knowingly receiving stolen property.
Mutualism-Mutualistic interactions are mutually beneficial species interactions. Plant-pollinator mutualisms are particularly important, and involve nearly 170,000 plant and 200,000 animal species. Plant-pollinator interactions are good examples of mutualistic interactions because nearly three-quarters of all existing flowering plants receive pollination services from animals (National Research Council 2007). Animal pollination is considered the ancestral form of pollination in flowering plants (Hu et al. 2008), and the rapid diversification of flowering plants that occurred 90–130 million years ago has been attributed, in part, to pollination mutualisms (Crepet 2008). The majority of animal pollinators are insects; bees, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, and beetles are the most common insect pollinators (National Research Council 2007). Most pollinators receive food in the form of pollen or nectar, but bees also use waxes and resins from flowers to build their hives (Michener 2007).
According to Roffet-Salque et al., Indigenous people have been historically cultivating bees all around the world, which in time lead to the domestication of a select few honey bee species. In 2015, they examined the importance of the honey bee in agricultural societies throughout history. They found that people were harvesting bees for their honey and beeswax as far back as the time of Neolithic communities during the very beginnings of farming and agriculture.
The Honeybee Conservancy
You never have to kill any bees in the harvesting of honey, wax or royal jelly. Though many commercial bee keepers have a tendency to harm, stress or kill the bees to make their collection it is not necessary and more and more bee keepers are becoming more responsible with their practices, especially since the onset of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Some of the irresponsible things that have crept into the industrial bee keeping business are- shipping queens and package bees from the southern states, rather than working with local genetics. Feeding refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup rather than letting them keep and eat their own honey. Making the bees live in a toxic environment. Moving the bees around the country for pollination. Placing the bees in a thin box rather than their more natural hollow log environment.
You cannot fully embrace a plant based life style, without recognizing the symbiotic relationship bees have with plant life and human nutrition.
A 2014 press release from the United States White House outlined the threat to pollinators and the potential impact on domestic food production. The release reported that honeybees are responsible for pollinating 90 commercially grown products in North America, while 35 percent of global crops depend on insects for cross-pollination.
Without the honey bee as well as other insects the following foods would not exist or their yields would be greatly reduced-allspice, apples, avocado, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, caraway, cardamom, cantaloupe, cashews, celery, chestnuts, cherries, coconut, coffee, coriander, cucumbers, fennel, guava, kiwis, limes, lemons, macadamia nuts, mangoes, okra, onions, peaches, pears, squash, strawberries, turnips and watermelons.
While all animals are sacred, I would maintain that there is no greater animal in relation to human survival than the bees. I would ask all committed to animal rights and protections to include the plight of the bees within their scope of concerns for animal welfare.
Every religious text that humanity holds sacred gives acknowledgment to the bees and their products.
The Kalahari Desert's San people tell of a bee that carried a mantis across a river. The exhausted bee left the mantis on a floating flower but planted a seed in the mantis's body before it died. The seed grew to become the first human.
In ancient Egypt, the bee was seen to symbolize the lands of Lower Egypt, with the pharaoh being referred to as “He of Sedge and Bee” (the sedge representing Upper Egypt). Honeybees were the tears of the sun god Ra. Their religious significance extended to an association with the goddess Neith, whose temple in the delta town of Sais in Lower Egypt was known as per-bit, meaning “the house of the bee.”
Honey was regarded as a symbol of resurrection and also thought to give protection against evil spirits. In Norse legend, the tears of Freya were said to be made of bees of gold. It was the golden honey of the bee which brought the ancient drink of mead to humanity. Mead is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world. Made from honey, water, malt, and yeast, it has been brewed for at least 6000 years. It played a central part in the old religious traditions of Europe, bringing the gift of prophesy and song from the Goddess and God.
The sixteenth chapter (Sura) of the Holy Quran is “Al Nahl” (The Bee). In describing the activities of the honeybee, the Quran uses the feminine gender.
Bhramari is a Hindu Goddess. She is an incarnation of the Goddess Shakti. Bhramari means 'the Goddess of bees' or 'the Goddess of black bees'. There is a traditional blessing of a newborn baby in India which says: “I give thee this honey food so that the Gods may protect thee and that thou mayest live a hundred autumns in this world.”
According to legend, just before the Buddha's enlightenment, a young woman named Sujàtà offered him a bowl of milk rice and honey, a meal that gave him the strength for his final struggle. It is written that the Buddha's first meal after his enlightenment was barley gruel and honey balls.
There are many who contend that in the Holy Bible, while the word “bee” is used only 4 times, the word “honey” is used sixty-four times. But the complete translation is not merely honey but “products of the beehive.” https://honeybeehobbyist.com/bees-in-the-bible/
Several decades ago, a senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was asked “what should we do about the Black vote”. He responded with Benign Neglect. In other words, if we act like they don’t exist, they won’t matter. Obviously that’s a very foolish tactic to take. Likewise, when vegans not only eschew the products of the beehive but do very little in direct advocacy for bee health, I consider that to be a form of Benign Neglect.
Now I will be the first to call for more humane and sustainable practices when it comes to Apiculture. That’s a good thing. When it comes to say Royal Jelly, the Chinese have developed a mass production industry no different than the poultry, pig and dairy industry. The healthier and more vibrant the world bee population is the better for the planet, especially for those of us who live a plant based diet lifestyle. Advocacy for more organic farming as well as the elimination of neonics and other pesticides that endanger the health of both people and insects would be another positive move forward. I would also think that based upon the importance of bees in pollination, vegans would be at the forefront of becoming bee farmers themselves. Multiple small Bee farms and hobbyist would allow for more sustainable methods of collecting the beehive products. Sustainable Bee Keeping is a win-win. It promotes the need for increasing the entire bee population (both feral and farmed), It assures the continued biodiversity needed for any healthy ecosystem. Vegans, organic gardeners and farmers as well as animal rights activists can raise bees strictly for their environmental benefit without ever touching any of their products as well as grow plants that attract pollinators..
If you are an animal rights activist, there should be no higher animal on your list than the Bees. I support animal rights and animal welfare advocacy. But in the grand scheme of things there would be no greater consequence to humanity than the extinction of the Bees.
The American Bee Journal author Larry Connor states the following regarding
Beekeeping and sustainability
Sustainable apiculture, that which is able to maintain itself at its certain rate or level, clearly depends on our ability to manage population levels. In the revised edition of Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping, Caron and Connor describe the Essence of Beekeeping as “the relationship between time of the season and the number of bees” (Chapter 1, Figure 1-2). They go on to state that the goal of all beekeepers is to reach the peak population of bees with the peak availability of nectar and pollen needed to make a honey crop and sustain bee populations for the rest of the season.
While this seems to be a simple concept, it is harder and harder for beekeepers to achieve. Beekeepers report that their colonies fail to build up in time to be productive. Colony populations do not reach their peak until AFTER the primary nectar flow is over for their area, if they grow at all. This may be a combination of a variety of factors—a shift in the genetic composition of the bee’s due to heavy varroa mite predation—earlier blooming times for plants as impacted by global climate change/global warming—and sharply reduced new colony viability. Especially with package bees, in 2013 some beekeepers report failure rates approaching 100% due to queen problems and a general failure to grow, combining to result in some pretty pathetic colonies. Or dead hives. The sustainable beekeeper is one who keeps extra bee colonies in production at all times. This maintains colony numbers when some of these colonies die, or are killed by a multitude of factors but concentrated on queen failure and pesticide-disease interactions.
To all those who practice a plant based diet, I implore you to speak out against the use of pesticides that are killing both bees as well as our pets. Bees are the canary in the coal mine. If we do not heed the harm that is being done to them, our food supply will look very different in the years to come.
Anyone who is allergic or philosophically opposed to bee products should avoid apiarian nutrition. The teacher who introduced me to royal jelly was allergic to it as there are people who are allergic to bee products in general. But that does not relinquish the vegan responsibility to advocate for the animal whose work they benefit from regardless of non use of Bee products.
For clarification, PDN Vegetarianism recognizes the historical and nutritional value of lacto ovo vegetarianism as well as the ever-evolving documentation of the benefits of apiarian nutrition and soy nutrition, however, PDN Vegetarianism can be practiced without including any of these foods within your diet. Therefore, PDN vegetarianism is a vegetarian/vegan diet. This diet is committed to incorporating the latest research and guidelines pertaining to plant based nutrition with an emphasis on but not limited to herbology, mycology and flower pollen.