Ethical approaches rooted in care are distinct and important contributors to ethical discussions surrounding animals. Recently, however, concern has been raised that practices of care can facilitate the instrumentalization of animal life in a way that is antithetical to an ethical relationship toward animals. This article explores this debate through a discussion of contemporary apiculture (beekeeping) practices. This analysis reveals that the practices of care that constitute contemporary apiculture are the very same practices that have facilitated the instrumentalization of the honeybee. This suggests that accounts of care ethics regarding animal life need to be complicated and that care ethicists need to be more attuned to the ways in which care can become complicit in the practices they would seek to oppose.

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