Animal Writes
13 June 2001 Issue

by Rick Bogle - [email protected]

The following is from activist Rick Bogle. He has written to the Kiss My Face corporation regarding their use of honey in their soaps.

Date: Sat, 09 Jun 2001 17:21:28 -0700
From: Rick Bogle To: [email protected]
Subject: honey

Dear Bob,

I was recently forwarded a comment from the KMF webpage, or perhaps from you, concerning honey and KMF's belief that honey harvesting does not harm bees.

I am a vegan who once raised bees and who has visited the apiaries of other bee keepers and who has a personal friend who once commercially transported bees to various agricultural fields for pollinating needs.

I have read extensively concerning raising bees and have built hive bodies and supers for other bee keepers. I know a bit about the honey bees, their natural history, commercial honey production, and hobby bee keeping. Frankly, I love bees.

I have sat in front of a hive on many a summer afternoon with my nose to the hive opening breathing in the scent of the hive -- it is a wonderful aroma. The bees I have known have been well-mannered and remarkably permissive of my careful intrusions.

I do not eat honey now nor do I use products containing honey. Although it is at least theoretically possible to harvest honey without harm to any of the bees in a hive, I am aware of no one doing this. To harvest the honey or any bee product in a cruelty-free manner one would have to move very slowly and carefully to avoid hurting any of the hundreds of bees who will crawl over the combs as they are being removed from the hive. Very slowly indeed.

I do not believe that a bee keeper with more than one or two hives to work through would be willing to take the necessary time. Instead, and typically, bee keepers are gloved and netted to avoid stings (nearly every bee who stings will die due to her entrails being pulled from her body attached to her stinger). Then the hives are opened as quickly as possible and the bees are "smoked." Smoke from a smoldering fire carried in a "smoker" is pumped into the hive and the bees are "calmed." In spite of this, the combs are pulled quickly and many bees are crushed in the process. When a bee is hurt she releases a chemical message that alerts and activates the hive members who proceed to attack the intruder -- giving their lives in the process.

I cannot imagine a way to produce any commercially meaningful quantity of honey that does not entail hurting and killing bees.

I love honey, have interacted with many bees, and as a matter of principle -- the same principles in fact that lead me to choose KMF products -- now forego the consumption of any bee produced product.

I urge you and the senior KMF staff to personally visit an apiary during honey harvest, assist in the harvest, and then decide whether the many bee deaths and injuries can be truly characterized as cruelty-free.


Rick Bogle
Goleta, CA 93117

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