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What Vegans See | A Post for Non-Vegans

Why are we vegans so sensitive?  Why can’t we live and let live and allow others their dietary choice?  Why do we get so upset so easily?  Can’t we just relax and let go?  What’s the big deal anyway?  This video post is for my non-vegans out there who want to better understand us vegans and why we are the way we are. [tweet this]

First, I want to let you know that there is no graphic imagery in the video above, or really any imagery at all.  And second, this video post is not about making you non-vegans feel like bad people.  I am honestly trying to help you make the connection that we vegans make and show you the reasons behind our seeming sensitivity and, at times, incomprehensible and unbridled frustration and anger at the way things are. [tweet this]

Of course, it’s impossible to lump all vegans together.  Each is their own individual who reacts in their own way.  When I say we’re sensitive, I don’t mean weak or overly emotional.  I’m speaking from the outside perspective looking in, which often portrays us as just that.  So do know that I cannot speak for all vegans, nor would I ever attempt to.  But I can at least tell you what I see and what a great many ethical vegans see.  And hopefully this can shed some light onto why we may have difficulty eating with you or get passionately upset about something that to you may seem insignificant.

You see, when you go vegan, you take the blinders off and start to get what I think of as x-ray vision.  You start to see what’s really going on underneath the idyllic lies we’ve unquestioningly bought into. [tweet this]

Personally, I find it difficult to be around the consumption of animals and their byproducts.  It’s something I’ve lived with my whole life, as so many of us do, but it hasn’t gotten easier, really.

Now, here is where you may assume I’m judging you or that I’m upset by your eating habits.  But the real source of my discomfort has nothing to do with you per-se, but the fact that what is on your plate was once a life.

If you’re non-vegan, please stay with me through this explanation. again, this not about me making you feel like a horrible person.  I’m simply attempting to relay what it is we vegans see and why it is we have trouble around animal products.

When I see a piece of cheese, I can tear up, and that sounds crazy to people.  But I don’t just see a piece of cheese.  I see a mother whose child has been ripped from her moments after birth.  I see a baby who’d been relegated to the veal industry and sent for slaughter before he’s 4 months old.  I see a mother whose body is going to give out on her over 20 years before her natural lifespan because she’s been raped and impregnated so many times–and because she’s had so many children stolen from her that she’s probably just given up.  That’s what I see when I look at a piece of cheese.

So from the outside it may appear inconsiderate or rude that we vegans feel discomfort around non-vegan food.  But think about it, if you can, without the trappings of social indoctrination.

Meat is literally a corpse on a plate: a life, an individual, a sentient being who did not want to die for a meal.

Dairy is the product of immense suffering, maternal grief, infant slaughter, and premature death.

Eggs are products of overcrowded, horrific conditions, the live suffocation or grinding up of male chicks en masse, and the premature death of layer hens.

That’s the reality.  And that is what we vegans see with every bite.  And yes, we can become angry, frustrated, livid.  Because it’s so horrifically heartbreaking.

And it doesn’t make sense to us that you don’t see it too. [tweet this]

There’s nothing comfortable about seeing people you love consuming the bodies of innocent beings.  To my non-vegans out there, I’m sure that sounds borderline absurd and most definitely an over-reaction, but bear with me if you will.

Imagine seeing someone you love harming a child or abusing a beloved dog or cat.  Or even, god forbid, eating that beloved family pet.  And, if possible, imagine that this violence was socially acceptable.  That you were the only one who seemed to think something was wrong.  And furthermore, imagine that your loved one who is committing these horrible acts, became defensive and resentful towards you for having any issue with the matter.

Again this may seem an absurd comparison.  But what is the distinction we make between “pet” animals and “edible” animals if not absurd?  It’s certainly arbitrary. [tweet this]

You see vegans feel the same love and compassion and empathy for “food animals” that you do for your pets.  And just how comfortable would you be if your pet took the place of the cow, pig or chicken on your plate?  How is it we are horrified by cultured that consume dogs while we continue to consume beings just as valuable and even more intelligent?  We vegans no longer see this arbitrary distinction.  We value all of these lives equally.

So watching the continued enslavement, abuse, torture and murder of them is often too much to bear.  While all of that is conveniently hidden from view and all you see is cheese, milk, hamburger, pork–what have you–we cannot un-know what we know or un-see what we’ve seen.

So your food item, while seemingly innocuous, is to us the end product of real-life horror.  We see the bloodshed, the struggle, we hear their cries, we sense their fear and feel their terror.  Just as you would for your beloved pet were they put through such horrific treatment.  And even more so as you would for a human child subjected to such atrocities.

The difference is, we don't close our eyes.

I hope that this explanation has been helpful.  If it seemed heavy-handed it’s only because this is all too real and happening all to often.  If you are able for a moment to put yourself in our place and imagine seeing what we see–even if you yourself don’t believe it–perhaps that will help you understand why we vegans are so sensitive and passionate.  And why we can’t stand idly by.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what I've said.  Share them with me in the comments!

See ya next nugget!







★Watch More!

Further Resources:

Do Vegans Hate Non-Vegans?

Is Eating Animals A Personal Choice?

What About Humane or Cage-Free?

Is Vegetarianism Enough?

Is Eating Meat Moral?

Can You Love Animals AND Eat Them?

Why Love Some Animals And Eats Others? (Speciesism)

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  1. wendy on April 22, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    I started following your YouTube channel about a month ago. Since then I’ve become a vegan. My question though should I be taking vitamin supplements?

    • Emily Moran Barwick (BiteSizeVegan) on April 22, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      hi wendy! that really depends on your history, your body, your genetics, and your diet and lifestyle. a balance vegan whole foods diet and healthy body are pretty set. but if you live in a climate without a lot of sun exposure, then vit D supplements can help. if you show low levels of b12 and aren’t eating foods with b12 fortification or quality produce, then a b12 supplement can help. again it all depends. :)

  2. Carol Givens on April 23, 2015 at 1:15 am

    Hi. I’ve been doing rescue work of companion animals for about 15 years now; last year I started to wonder how farm animals are treated, it seems ignorant but I really didn’t know. What I quickly learned broke my heart and horrified me. For many years I’d been telling people of the plight of the companion animals, the holocaust going on right now, every day. I found one of the most important things I can do is to tell people as everyone would be amazed at how very little the average person knows about how animals are treated, around the world. Unless they bother to find out, their world is centered around what they get from the media and you will not get even half the truth about animals from the media. Some people I talk to are astounded, sickened, some don’t believe me, some don’t care and on many occasions I have been told to shut up;but nothing will stop me from telling people, NOTHING. This is a holocaust and no less and for those offended by that term, please look up the meaning– it is NOT exclusive to humanity. My life’s passion and dream is to make a difference, somehow, for God’s precious creatures, lives that matter, sentient beings who want to live just the same as we do and who feel pain the very same as we do; they have no voice nor choice, we must be their voice. This holocaust has gone on far too long now, and now it’s not just our health in danger, or the animals murdered and treated during their short lives with unspeakable cruelty, but the planet is dying because of the mass production of animals to eat, raped constantly, no part of what should be natural for them is considered, what a huge, HUGE sin. We have no right to treat any living being the way animals all over the world are treated and I will never believe God put them here simply for us to torture, murder and eat. My life changed drastically when I discovered Gary Yourofsky and Philip Wollen and you too Emily! These are just a few of the people who know the truth and what is ahead for this planet and how very wrong, selfish, violent, sadistic, greedy the human race can be. Forgive my rant, I get passionate and sick when I think of how many animals have been murdered just since I started to write this! I can’t even look at the meat in the grocery store anymore, all I see are dead bodies and I feel so badly over what they had to go through to be in that package. They’re each special with their own individual personalities all their own, the very same as we each have our own DNA. Simply because they cannot speak our language they’re considered not important or ours to do with what we feel like, what possible kind of sense does that make? NONE. Please Vegans, spread the word! Emily, Gary, Philip and many more are doing what they can to tell the world the horrors going on. So many don’t know simply because they haven’t bothered to find out. Organizations like Mercy For Animals couldn’t do more important work. I don’t know that we could ever eliminate the concentration camps that are every factory farm– I’d like to think we could but it’s so ingrained in our selfish, sick society, it’s a real battle. BUT a battle well worth fighting and I will fight for the animals for the rest of my life. And talking to people who may not want to hear it will never stop me, if their heads are like rocks, there are more people, always, to enlighten! If they would only try vegan food for one day, it’s DELICIOUS!! I just love the flavors and spices, YUM. So please you vegans, go out into the world and spread the word that all life is special and all life matters!

    • Emily Moran Barwick (BiteSizeVegan) on April 23, 2015 at 2:49 am

      Carol, i LOVE your passion! preach it! so glad you made the connection to farm animals as well and that you’re such a a strong voice for animals everywhere. keep speaking up and never lose that passion :) much love!

  3. sally anne hubbard on April 23, 2015 at 2:34 am

    Love the video today. I was not raised vegan or vegetarian, I came to veganism on my own.
    I get angry at meat eating people because there is no need for anyone to eat meat. We have an abundance of food available. I can grocery shop and find all kinds of non-animal products.

  4. Brooke on May 15, 2015 at 6:37 am

    YAAAAS! Preach it girl!

  5. Roxxi on December 26, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Hey Emily!

    I’ve seen your video months ago and I was immediately reminded of it when I had a strong “x-ray” vision of mine the other day! I wrote a post about it and mentioned you in it. I love your take on this topic. You can read about it here!

    Thanks for all you do you’re amazing!

  6. Mary on February 26, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Thank you, Emily, for the email I got today (2/26/16) with both the “Video for Non-Vegans” and the “What Vegans See”.

    I have posted both to my Facebook in the hopes that my friends and relatives (many of whom I’ve alienated over the last three years due to vegan advocacy) will have a better understanding of what motivates me and why they find me so annoying :(

    These two videos were a great help and “What Vegans See” was particularly so as it contains nothing graphic and is so very reasonable in tone. (My family and most friends get VERY defensive when confronted with the truth about animal exploitation and suffering)

    I also enjoyed your rebuttal to WatchMojo’s “5 Facts about Veganism” from the same email :)

    Thanks for all you do and all the wonderful videos you make !!

    xo <3, Mary

  7. Kim on April 8, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I find myslef in the most unique position. I have severe food allergies, most of them with vegetables, makes eating extremely difficult. I am also an intuitive communicator, so struggle with my eating meat while communicating with all life in general. The only thing I’m not allergic to is MEAT! There was a point in my life where I was a vegan, but was so incredible I’ll from not being able to eat, grains, beans, and most vegetables that I had to reintroduce meat into my diet in order to survive! How does one reconcile something like this?

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