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Poll
Question: Is it possible to be cruel to Bees
Yes - 27 (87.1%)
No they are only an insect - 2 (6.5%)
Yes butthey will swarm when it happens - 0 (0%)
Yes but only in winter when they cant get away - 2 (6.5%)
Total Voters: 31


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Author Topic: Is it possible to br cruel to bees?  (Read 2501 times)
derekm
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« on: November 03, 2011, 04:11:05 PM »

I asked this question on a UK forum. whats your take?
Is it possible to be cruel to bees? This is cruelty as defined in your own terms. I'm not asking you to define cruelty to bees, just asking you if its possible.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2011, 09:15:32 PM »

cru·el·ty

Noun:   

   1. Callous indifference to or pleasure in causing pain and suffering.
   2. Behavior that causes pain or suffering to a person or animal.

Definition 1 refers to the attitude of the person doing the act.  By that definition, it is possible to be cruel to bees.  It depends on what your intentions are.  The same act that would be cruel under one set of circumstances might not be cruel if the intent was not cruel.  Even if bees don't feel pain, it would still be cruel if the person doing the act thought they could and was still indifferent.

Definition 2 requires that the subject of the act be able to feel pain or to suffer.  I think bees don't feel pain as people do, but then.... I'm not a bee so how would I know?   grin
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 12:23:16 AM »

We have removed the bees from environments that they would have naturally chosen (all of us), placed them in a box and asked them to make honey for us.  We further move them around (commercial applications) and ask them to constantly reorient themselves to new environments.

If we, in turn, aren't willing to give them a helping hand now and then, then I think that's being cruel.  Yes, we can help them too much (we all agree breeding week strains is not a good idea).  But as long as we interfere with their natural choices (which could be argued as a cruelty in itself), then we must be prepared to help them take care of themselves.

Sorry, I guess I surprise myself by the feelings that one, small question raises!
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2011, 04:44:26 AM »

Problems arise when people turn living organisms to "objects."  Forcing lot feeding cattle a diet normally not in their nature while giving them antibiotics to counteract the damage done to their rumen is cruel if you really think about it.

Cattle are feeling, breathing, and thinking, though not sentient, organisms.  Turning them into meat making machines objectifies them, but I can't think of a person more in tune with their feelings than somebody who handles and raises them for the meat market.

Corporations are not evil or unfeeling, but the abstract makes them appear so.  I see commercials on the tubalision that try to give a positive spin to grinding the last drop of oil out of the ground to power industry, knowing full well hydrogen would be best for the chemical energy future.

I would speculate that giving the superorganism the environment humans have developed over the thousands of years is actually favorable to their nature, small or oversized cavities are not optimum.  Picking them up and dropping them in odd places continuously is not, and arguing that they seem to do just fine, knowing where their home colony is, is just taking advantage of a survival mechanism rather than what the colony would see in nature.

Is it possible to be "cruel" to bees?  Yes.  Are we intentionally being cruel to them?
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2011, 05:07:54 AM »

Of course one can be cruel to bees.  We should mention that 'only' humans have the capacity for being cruel.  

Beekeeping itself should be considered cruel, especially for bees kept outside their desired (tropical) habitat, which means most of us, myself included.

That all said, our human species can/does cleverly justify 'anything' we do and can call it anything we want Sad.  

Look around, we are surrounded by cruelty that is mostly ignored (especially by the cruel but not exclusively).

**corporations have feelings?Huh**  I'll believe that when we begin sending the criminal corporations to jail?**

thomas
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 08:08:50 AM by T Beek » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2011, 05:56:01 AM »

**corporations have feelings?Huh**  I'll believe that when we begin sending the criminal corporations to jail?**
thomas

That's exactly what I was thinking.  Corporations are NOT people.  They don't have rights, feelings or apparently.... duties.   Sad

Cruelty is easy if you are insulated from the results of your actions.
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2011, 06:38:42 AM »

And when all that is seen is dollar$$$$.  We've been fooled into believing that all profit is good profit.  Capitalism requires 'capital' (usually someone elses) in order to be successful and we have been fooled into believing that all capitalism is good and more importantly, American.  

We practice a particularly 'cruel' (inherently corrupt) form of capitalism, especially the big ones (IE);
"If I make money its mine, if I loose money its yours."  The bigger/stronger the corporation (or State/Country) the more this is true.

FRAMEshift;  Unfortunately corporations 'do' have rights, the same as you and I, the only right they don't have is the right to go to jail when a crime is committed.

Fortunately for us all, our US Constitution says nothing on this matter.  It embraces NO particular economic system yet we are told (fooled) the opposite from birth to death by the advertisers and their tools.  (so sorry for the 'off topic' rant but its cold outside grin

thomas
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 10:59:46 AM by T Beek » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2011, 10:41:06 AM »

There is that youtube video of people scorching, hitting and otherwise abusing a swarm.  All I can think of is how cruel it is...
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2011, 11:46:32 AM »

i dunno..what is "cruelty"?

Certainly we consider cruelty wrt to humans or pets (dogs, cats, etc) regardless of our relationship (ie, beating a dog, beating a human)...it is cruel regardless of whether we know the person or dog in question, or if that person or dog is "useful" to us (ie, it is equally cruel for your boss who provides a paycheck and a homeless person you've never met to be beaten).

Seems to me that bees are not essentially different than ants....we like bees a bit more (those of us that are beekeepers at least....the family of my friend who died from an allergic reaction to bee stings might feel differently), but biologically they are essentially the same.

Is stepping on an ant cruel?  Is destroying an ant colony while planting your garden cruel?  Is buying produce that most assuredly displaced ants (and birds, and mice, and rabbits, etc) cruel?  Is buying produce that was sprayed, killing many insects cruel?  Is it cruel to remove mice from a hive in wintertime?

I can't say I like watching the videos that Michael is referring to (I have seen them), but I can't really define "cruelty" based upon how useful the target is to me...that is a slippery slope I won't go down.  If morality is pure (and not based upon self interest), then all organisms must be given equal weight...if it is based on self interest, then one must wonder what people (who don't see a value in you or me) do to _us_ without being "cruel"?

deknow
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2011, 01:09:43 PM »

Wow, this might be a first in bee keeping!  Finally a topic that EVERYBODY agrees on (at least so far).
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2011, 01:41:54 PM »

+1, deknow!

Do you mean like crushing a queen?  Ripping the thorax off of a live bee (to check for nosema)? Trapping beetles so that they slowly suffocate in oil? Getting stung so the bee slowly bleeds to death?  Dropping a super and crushing 100's of bees?  What about the bees that get into the honey house and either die a lonely death or need to be dispatched for our convenience?  What about that "lucky" drone who lies on the ground writhing in his death throes? cool

Is torching a swarm any different than spraying an ant colony?  Do those bees have less feelings than the ants do?  WE feel that is cruel, not because of the bees but because of how it makes US feel.  Why?  Because those bees have value?  So does that mean that cruelty is now defined as senselessly destroying a thing of value?  What about africanized bees?  They SHOULD be destroyed, although by fire would just be stupid.

To me in large part "cruelty" is cases like this (not in all cases!!) is more defined by intent.  Somebody who destroys a swarm just to see the bees suffer would be cruel.  An ordinary citizen who has a nuisance swarm or hive who can't find anybody to help out and chronicles his experience in a video is ignorant of bees but not cruel. 

And let's face it...most of us seasoned beeks have killed and caused pain and suffering to far more bees over the years than would make up a swarm.

We could give it up and go into lettuce farming as PETA would like us to, but then we'd have to be cruel to aphids.

Rick
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2011, 02:27:18 PM »

I think we have to view the individual and the colony the way the bees do.  The bees don't mind individuals dying for the good of the colony.  They care about the colony.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2011, 03:33:10 PM »

I asked this question on a UK forum.

And how did the folks over there answer your question?
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derekm
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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2011, 04:28:43 PM »

lets wait a few days and then I will say how they answered
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
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« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2011, 08:00:03 AM »

An act of cruelty requires intent. 

If one intentionally (consciously or not) harms another (human or any other life form) that is cruelty.  That includes stepping on an ant IMO.

Of course we can't leave out how well humans have adapted to justify our actions.

thomas
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« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2011, 11:03:25 AM »

tbeek,
to some extent i can agree with your above comments....for instance, i don't think there is "harm" to a person for swatting a mosquito...but if the same person captures the mosquito so that they can pull off legs one at a time, feed it LSD, and make it watch Ishtar, then there is likely harm done to the person committing the acts...the mosquito is still dead either way.

but where I think your definition falls apart is with the term "harm".  A cult member being deprogrammed feels that they are being harmed...the deprogramer (and the family paying the deprogrammer) feel they are helping.  Regardless of the intent, the subject is suffering and probably is convinced that the treatment is cruel...certainly they can't appreciate that the intent is "help" rather than "harm".

have you ever seen "a clockwork orange"?  How can it possibly not be "cruel" to pin someone's eyes open and make them watch horrible violence.....unless you feel you are "curing" them?

Seems to me its simply too easy for the "inflictor" to reason away the cruel motives....from slave owners, parents that beat their children, and even Hitler, all justify their actions as their attempt to "make things better".  Only the person on the business end of a whip has a right to determine if the actions are cruel or not.

That said, we kill microbes everytime we breathe....microbes kill microbes...our houses displace all manner of wildlife...our appetites and needs require that we "harm" nature to some extent.  I'll wager that a mouse caught in a glue trap in your kitchen, or an ant colony destroyed in order to put up a bouncy castle for a birthday party are just as miserable as bees that have been mistreated...all would choose not to be treated in such ways.

deknow
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« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2011, 01:39:50 PM »

Umh!  I did personify corporations.  I suppose I was associating it as a "superorganism."  I was thinking in terms of the individuals in a corporate society, not trying to do harm or evil, and each part working for the greater "good."

Like an oil company that drilled into dangerous territory and then created a catastrophe that carried on for months afterwards, the intent was not to destroy fragile eco systems, but to bring in more oil.  The end result could be seen as "bad," but everyone in some capacity uses that oil in everyday life.
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« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2011, 02:07:08 PM »

deknow;  Huh huh  Did you read my first sentence?  "An act of cruelty requires intent."

Having witnessed horrendous acts of violence and mayham first hand I haven't been surprised by the cruelty humans can unleash against other humans, animals, insects or landscape for a very long time, nor the justifications used to make it all OK. 

What amazes me is how blind so many are to their own daily participation in cruelty and how easy it is to just ignore it. 

I've based my beliefs and theory in this regard on experience rather than from films, although I've seen a clockwork orange (I liked the book too).

You prove my point for me on how we justify our actions/behavior.

thomas
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« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2011, 02:11:06 PM »

Help is 'sometimes' not help.

thomas
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« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2011, 08:32:01 PM »

An act of cruelty requires intent. 

If one intentionally (consciously or not) harms another (human or any other life form) that is cruelty.  That includes stepping on an ant IMO.

Of course we can't leave out how well humans have adapted to justify our actions.

thomas

Your first 2 statements are contradictory.  Your second statement is also contradictory in itself.  I can't intentionally yet unconsciously harm something.  Aside from that, "intentionally harming = cruelty" is very broad. According to that, not only stepping on the ant, but slaughtering the cow to eat it is cruelty, as well as squishing the bee crawling up my pant leg. 

I do agree that we are surrounded by cruelty, we all have the propensity to be bullies, if not worse.

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« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2011, 07:08:33 AM »

Huh?  No contradiction at all Scadsobees (please allow me to show you the big picture grin). I'm serious.

Certainly humans can/do intentionally cause harm while unconscious (happens all the time 'if' thought about).  Its what most people do every day (Picture mall-rats as an example).  

Most people sleepwalk through life oblivious to the harm inflicted by themselves (either personally or w/ a proxy) and/or those around them upon others.  

It is this 'very human' ability that keeps most of us from insanity, a realm I remain very familiar with Smiley

So I must respectfully disagree with your assertion and reaffirm this one; "People can/do commit acts of cruelty even when unconscious."   Its how we are able to clear the mind of the terrible things we do.

Your argument presumes that humanity somehow 'deserves' the ultimate authority over life, all life (a common justification for committing terrible acts of cruelty) just because we can.  That belief/attitude will not (has not) saved us from ourselves yet and has actually allowed our human condition to manifest into our current predicament whereby most humans have become too fearful to venture very far into the natural world.  

Sadly, the disconnect is nearly complete for many.  It is the disconnect that allows 'some' to ignore the pain they've brought upon other lifeforms, that and the never-ending pursuit of...........(name your poison).

Should I continue?   We might have to start another thread grin

thomas
« Last Edit: November 07, 2011, 05:26:26 AM by T Beek » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2011, 05:28:56 PM »

Of Course, one can be cruel to any living thing. Cruelty is the act itself not the results. When you kill the queen - you are being cruel to that bee. NOW when the hive kills the Queen are they being cruel?
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« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2011, 05:22:42 AM »

Sorry but no.  Only humans have the capacity or inclination for cruelty.  The example with bees is survival for the colony not cruelty.

Personally I embrace the method of never 'intentionally' killing queens, but that brings me back to my original premise; That beekeeping itself is cruel, especially if keeping them far from where they'd likely prefer (the tropics).  Humans use/exploit the bees inherent ability to survive harsh conditions in order to keep them wherever "we" want.  

That is cruel by definition.

We can/do justify what we do (that's being human) by researching and using the absolute best beekeeping practices available and incorporating them into our bee colonies, but even that only lessens our cruelty toward bees.

thomas
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« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2011, 05:42:47 AM »

beekeeping itself is cruel, especially if keeping them far from where they'd likely prefer (the tropics).

Isn’t this one of the reasons why Finski says to INSULATE your bees from the cold?

My bees don't suffer from the cold  Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2011, 06:05:43 AM »

Thanks BluBee I knew someone would come along and prove some of the points I'm trying to bring to the surface.

I always thought it was Finski's primary justification and reasoning behind keeping bees in Finland (its always at the forefront of his arguments), along with his insistant claims that he's keeping bees the best way or the right way, all while attacking others regardless of their own results.  Not really sure what's going on with Finski sometimes Wink he can sometimes contradict himself in the same thread, a shame for one with so much to offer.

Sorry, but I found your claim that 'your bees don't suffer from cold' a bit ridicules, no offence intended but you might want to think that one over grin.  Unless you moved them indoors huh

Keep it up though, you may convince me to insulate my hives yet Smiley  I am actually considering ways to keep syrup warm inside the hive, a step in your direction.  I absolutely love this conversation cool

thomas
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« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2011, 07:18:45 AM »

Hair, the Musical:  lyrics of Easy to be Hard

Sing it with me now!   grin

How can people be so heartless
How can people be so cruel
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold

How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
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« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2011, 07:49:22 AM »

There it is, brother Smiley  There's actually some really good points to ponder further in the lyric (related to social injustice and the like) but the meaning comes through very well with the selected verses.

thomas
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« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2011, 09:02:11 AM »

I don't disagree that we can cause great harm unintentionally, but you were calling that cruelty.

And you also said that cruelty requires intent.

Intent unintentionally?

So if keeping bees is cruel, what about cultivating lettuce?  That lettuce didn't choose to grow there, and we kill it to eat it.  Dead!  Then we exploit the masses of bacteria in our gut, use them to break down our food, and then cruelly expel them to their death a day later without any concern as to their well being.

That definition of cruelty is silly.

We use the bees, but also keep the bee safe.  That is a symbiotic relationship.  They give something to us and we protect them.  And yes, there are times that we abuse them.

BTW, there are plenty of wild bees around here.  So non-tropical can't be a basis of cruelty tongue
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« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2011, 09:16:14 AM »



and then cruelly expel them to their death a day later


Only a day later? Man, I need some more  lettuce. LoL
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« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2011, 09:53:43 AM »

Without the assist from humans 'wild or feral honeybees' would very likely perish from most areas beyond the equator.

As for (domestic/indigenous) bees in general, well that's a bit different don't you think?  I mean, we don't keep them (well I guess some do), they choose where they live and where doing so long before we came around.  I'm afraid I don't understand that comparison, or the lettuce one honestly.

Cruelty, whether intentional (conscious) or not (sleepwalking/in denial) is still cruelty "IMO."  But that's just me, don't let me try to convince anyone, I'm just relaying data from my own perspective, its all anyone can do really.

While few would 'intentionally' occupy other peoples homelands, slaughter their civilians, destroy their cities and take control of their resources, it is still an endeavor undertaken with great glee (and having little to do with survival) from many within the herd of humanity, even when accomplished against our own best interests.      


thomas
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« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2011, 10:51:44 AM »

An act of cruelty requires intent. 

If one intentionally (consciously or not) harms another (human or any other life form) that is cruelty.  That includes stepping on an ant IMO.

Sorry thomas, I guess I'm still hung up on these 2 comments.  You didn't include an OR statement, they still stand in opposition to each other.

And to remove intent by saying that accidentally stepping on an ant is cruelty, you've just stated that every living creature is cruel and removed any onus from cruelty whatsoever, since I'm sure even the noble elephant will occasionally meander onto an innocent ant colony and unintentionally obliterate it from the face of this cruel earth. 

(The lettuce reference was about keeping an organism in a place it might not naturally be or the optimum environment before killing it, and the bacteria reference is about unintentionally killing an organism, even a whole civilization of these organisms, after its use to us is over, although I sometimes participate with great glee grin)

And for the record....they're called "Italians", "Russians", "European", and "carniolans" because that is the area that they are from.  And that isn't near the equator, about the same level on the globe as we are.  Feel free to look it up.  Fly straight east, and you'll fly over the areas where the majority of our bees originated.  I realize that most areas the climate is different somehow, but in many of the areas the climate is just as harsh.

Our bees don't choose where they live, we do, although sometimes we can make it so inhospitable to them that they leave.
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« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2011, 12:55:31 PM »

I consider sleepwalking through life/following the herd/living in denial  'intentional' choices (the easy way of excusing our participation in the slaughter) and that seems to be what you keep missing in the examples provided.  Its no one persons  fault and there's no one to blame besides this crazy culture we've created and largely embraced for ourselves at our own peril.  It may yet cause an evolutionary tipping point, who knows?  Just hope its not too late.......for us that is, the planet will survive.  

I guess I'd have to say that accidents aren't intentional unless your sleeping/drugging/drinking grin behind the wheel.

At this stage of the game I don't believe in innocent bystanders, because if you're just standing by you're not innocent.  Future generations will undoubtedly curse us for being too stubborn to save the world for future life.

And that's all OK man, as said I'm not trying to convince anyone into seeing the world as I do (that's my problem).  We're all here to learn, right?

Its been a lot of fun so far cool

thomas
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« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2011, 02:54:36 PM »

I promised to say the UK beeks said and perhaps not surprisingly  they are very similar to here. The same reaction about the thread making them re-think about what they did, almost identical arguments and positions...
my post was:

My basic views come from growing up (a long time ago) in a farming community where strangely to some, farmers, love their livestock yet send it to slaughter and being brought up with animals (My reactions to cerain situations seem to be more dog/pack animal like than anything).
My position is: if i take care of an animal I should ensure it does not suffer unnecessarily, separated from the fact I might kill it. If i kill it I should not waste it.
E.g. I like pigs, I could see having one as a pet, they are intelligent, responsive animals. I eat pigs, I butcher them on my kitchen table. I want the pigs I eat to had lived well and not suffered.
Bees, The more I research, the more I find bees are not simple automata. The more I am with bees the more I learn they have depth in their behaviour. After seeing a bee on my wrist then react to the movement and then still obviously relax, I find I must extend the same treatment to bees as all livestock. It may have six legs but it is (especially as colony) a sophisticated being, it deserves the respect of being treated as such.
I need to to be able to look the the animals/insects in my care the eye if I kill them, and then be able to look at myself in the mirror and say I did well by them.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
T Beek
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« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2011, 04:19:26 PM »

Well said Smiley.  Our pigs always receive the utmost love and care (and a bottle of homebrew before the killing is done).

thomas
« Last Edit: November 07, 2011, 05:41:38 PM by T Beek » Logged

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