Some vegans are extremely strict about their diet, and avoid such things as honey, processed sugar, etc. Now, although I am not a vegan, I have respect for the philosophy. However, at some point of veganism it will become impossible to survive. By some definitions, most fruit isn't even vegan!

Fruit is indeed a plant product; all fruit comes entirely from plants. However, most fruit (and many other plant products) have entered a symbiotic relationship with animals called pollination. In this process, plants offer pollinators, (usually insects, but often birds or mammals) nectar, an excellent food source, in exchange for the animals dispersing the sexual material of the plants via pollen. Now, no bees are harmed in the pollination of most flowers, however, in a sense, a fruit - a pollinated ovary - is a cooperative effort between pollinators and plants. (after this point, the plant literally makes the fruit for an animal to eat - fruits taste good, so animals eat them and deposit their seeds, often in feces which also offer fertilizer).

Now my point here isn't that people shouldn't eat fruit, or shouldn't be vegan. The meat and dairy industry has shown numerous examples of cruelty and abuse, and boycotting it is a respectable thing to do. However, in a sense, a bee pollinating a flower is like a farmer milking a cow - the cow is given food, shelter, and care in exchange for milk. A corporate dairy farm might be more like slavery than symbiosis, but a reasonable family farm isn't. Given a choice, a cow (cows being lazy animals) might rather be milked, fed, and kept in a warm barn, then set free to wander and find food itself. But I've never been a cow so I can't be sure.

Incidentally, eating figs also usually entails eating a few wasps because in the process of fig pollination, wasps often become trapped and die in the fig. Fig Newtons contain a high amount of fig wasp matter. Eating these insects won't harm you - actually they are rather nutritious. But they aren't vegan. Also, eating mushrooms and other fungi isn't really 'vegan' because fungi aren't plants - they are more closely related to animals than plants.

Well, my point in this all is that intelligent analysis and reasonability is much better than strict dogma. I've met many vegans (and very many carnivores as well) who didn't even think about what they were doing, but would vigorously proselytize to others. When I ask about these kinds of things, (since I'm obnoxious), most vegans just get mad and say nothing logical. When I first met my girlfriend, I asked her these things too and she actually came up with intelligent responses. That's when I knew she was special.

To Zeolite: I agree that it isn't immoral to 'abuse' bees by 'making' them pollinate the fruit trees. Not only do they do it naturally, we are actually supplying the bees with food. So everyone benefits. The issue arose when i was asking a vegan why she wouldn't eat honey. I don't understand how honey is different than eating fruit.. true we 'steal' the honey from the bees, but we give them so much extra food that it doesn't really hurt them any. Also, its not like the bees are imprisoned... the queen can and will take her colony and start a new hive if she wants... no one can stop her. If the bees 'choose' to stay, I dont see how its immoral.

You do make good points in your writeup, Inyo. But, you are misinterpreting what veganism truly is. Now, it would be ideal if vegans could go through life and cause no harm at all, but that's not realistic. You are bound to cause some harm in your lifetime no matter how pure your lifestyle is. The vegan's goal is to limit that harm to as little as possible.

The process of insects pollinating plant life has been going on for tens of thousands of years. It's a normal part of nature. The thing is, nature controls it, not humans -- as they do in the meat and dairy industry. So to answer your question, yes, fruit is vegan. Humans did not exploit the insects, rather, the plant and insect have an interconnected relationship. They depend on each other, it's mutual. So in the process of eating fruit, no animals were harmed or used solely for human purposes. I hope you understand what I mean there.

Figs are also vegan. The person eating the fig didn't kill the wasp, the wasp died naturally as part of its life cycle. So you aren't harming that wasp in either way -- directly or indirectly. Mushrooms and fungi are, not surprisingly, vegan also. Vegan diets eliminate animal products, not mushrooms and fungi -- and as we all know, those are not animals.

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