This is the March 2020 payout report for the Animal Welfare Fund, one of the Effective Altruism Funds. The grants were made from donations made between 1 November 2019 and 4 February 2020. Posted on behalf of the Animal Welfare Fund management team.


Fund: Animal Welfare Fund

Payout date: March 27, 2020

Payout amount: $671,000.00

Grant author(s): Karolina Sarek, Lewis Bollard, Alexandria Beck, Kieran Greig

Grant rationale:

The Animal Welfare Fund has recommended 16 grants totalling $671K:

  • The Humane League UK: $100K
  • Wild Animal Initiative: $65K
  • Animal Advocacy Careers: $50K
  • Alianima: $50K
  • Sinergia Animal: $50K
  • Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations: $50K
  • Animal Charity Evaluators: $45K
  • SPCA Selangor: $40K
  • Animal Kingdom Foundation: $40K
  • GAIA: $35K
  • Environmental and Animal Society of Taiwan: $30K
  • Sống Thuần Chay: $30K
  • Equalia: $30K
  • Vegans of Shanghai: $25K
  • Tušti narvai (Anima International Lithuania): $20K
  • Humánny pokrok: $11K

The Humane League UK: $100K

Hiring for Corporate Relations positions.

We are providing funding for THL UK's continued development of corporate campaign work. In addition to securing new cage-free and broiler commitments, THL UK will use this funding to ensure follow-through on all cage-free commitments that are scheduled to come into effect in 2020. We think this is a particularly important aspect of corporate campaigning and may be crucial to get right early on. We think THL has also played an important role in global corporate campaign wins. Further, THL US reports they've pre-committed to certain levels of financial support for THL UK, so we don't believe we are significantly funging their US arm with this grant.

Note: Alexandria Beck recused herself from this grant evaluation.

Wild Animal Initiative: $65K

Research to help wild animals.

Last year, the research and strategy plan of WAI largely focused on: (i) information gathering and literature review, (ii) authoring novel research in the field of welfare biology, and (iii) academic field-building work. They recently published their first paper in an academic journal on how wild animal welfare and restoration ecology could mutually benefit each other. Other research work includes white papers and research posts on persistence and reversibility, optimal population density, humane insect management, and a report on biomarkers of aging. Their new strategy is more focused on collaborating with external researchers and institutions to grow the pool of scientists working on wild animal welfare. This fund will help them launch a service to connect potential welfare biology researchers with funding sources. It will also help academic collaborators develop appropriate proposals to address wild animal welfare, in order to reduce empirical uncertainties around effective interventions to reduce wild-animal suffering.

Animal Advocacy Careers: $50K

EAA Movement Building focusing on improving the talent pipeline.

Animal Advocacy Careers is a new group aiming to address the talent and career bottlenecks in animal advocacy organizations. We see this as an important issue for the movement, as a number of groups report having difficulties on this front, and we think that there is much potential for Animal Advocacy Careers to fill this important niche over the coming years. Their team's approach of surveying the landscape and piloting multiple interventions seems promising to us, and we are excited to support a nascent group addressing a key problem for the movement.

Note: Karolina Sarek recused herself from this grant evaluation.

Alianima: $50K

Corporate cage-free policy implementation in Brazil.

This brand-new organization will focus on working with corporations and producers in Brazil to fulfill their existing cage-free commitments. To date, over 120 companies have released cage-free policies in Brazil, most with an implementation deadline of 2025. Efforts to mobilize companies to meet their policy deadlines are minimal, and producers aren't investing in cage-free systems at the rate that is necessary to support corporate policy fulfillment. Alianima will use these funds to get started, hire full-time staff members, and provide necessary technical support to the industry and producers.

Sinergia Animal: $50K

Reducing the suffering and consumption of farmed animals in promising but neglected countries.

In 2019, Singeria Animal contributed to the adoption of numerous corporate policies, including policies for Subway restaurants in Asian countries such as Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam. They're still a relatively young group, and being outside the US can make it difficult for them to raise funds from some other major funders. Combined with their rate of expansion, this contributes to them having a shorter runway than a number of other groups. We hope this funding will help to address that and allow Sinergia Animal to continue with their promising work in the global south, especially in countries that don't otherwise have very much organized farmed animal advocacy.

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations: $50K

Policy work on aquaculture regulations in India.

According to Fishcount's extrapolations from FAO data, there are 50 to 170 billion fish farmed annually worldwide; ~8-10% of them in India. This fund will help to launch a campaign to introduce regulations in the aquaculture sector in the two biggest producing states - Andhra Pradesh (AP) and West Bengal (WB). FAPIO has some track record successfully executing legislative campaigns to improve the conditions of animals in dairy farms, and campaigning to enforce existing rules. We support their new focus on policy work to regulate welfare standards on fish farms. We are highly uncertain about the probability of success of this campaign. However, given the potential of improving the welfare of fish farmed to produce 5.19 million metric tons of meat in AP and WB, we find it valuable in expectation.

Animal Charity Evaluators: $45K

Evaluating charities and promoting effectiveness in the animal movement.

We think ACE serves an important role in the movement by promoting key values (e.g., transparency, use of data, attempting to evaluate what works). In addition, ACE influences funding towards some funding opportunities that seem to be in the top tier within our space. Furthermore, we see benefits to increasing ACE's financial security during a time of significant change in the world. We also feel positive about ACE's 2020 plans to further focus on their core projects for which they seem to have a comparative advantage, such as completing further work related to their charity evaluations and raising funds for their recommended charities.

SPCA Selangor: $40K

Cage-free advocacy in Malaysia.

This group has recently launched corporate cage-free outreach and campaigns in Malaysia, which has ~105M caged layer hens and pullets. It appears to have played a role in extending Subway's cage-free commitment to Malaysia, and to be engaged in positive dialog with a number of major food companies and egg producers. These funds will help it to expand this work.

Animal Kingdom Foundation: $40K

Cage-free advocacy in the Philippines.

This group is doing corporate cage-free outreach and campaigns in the Philippines, which has ~70M caged layer hens and pullets. It's also engaging with the egg industry and government to establish a cage-free certification standard.

GAIA: $35K

A legal ban on cages for laying hens in Flanders.

In 2018, GAIA worked with the Parliament in Belgium's Wallonia region to adopt an animal welfare code that includes a ban on cages for laying hens and several other progressive animal welfare measures. GAIA will use funds to push for a similar ban in the only other region of the country with egg farms, Flanders. Given their strong track record and a recent poll showing 84% of the public supporting the proposed ban, we are confident in the likelihood of a regional ban being achieved. Although the number of hens impacted would be relatively small (<7M) in comparison to other projects, we believe that legal bans are crucial to ending cruel cage confinement, and that they set an important precedent for neighboring European countries.

Environmental and Animal Society of Taiwan: $30K

General support to help farmed animals in Taiwan.

According to FAO (2016), around 31M laying hens are farmed in Taiwan, and 95% of them are in battery cages. EAST is a key farm animal welfare organization in Taiwan. They are working on public awareness and public opinion, policy pressure, legislative lobbying, and education. EAST also runs a program called the "Friendly Egg Alliance", which calls for corporations and farmers to move away from cage eggs. They also lead a certification program to ensure that companies will follow through with their commitments. We support their work on institutional corporate campaigns to improve farm animal welfare and movement building in Taiwan.

Sống Thuần Chay: $30K

Vegan advocacy in Vietnam.

This grassroots Vietnamese group is aiming to sign up 10,000 people to complete its 7 day vegan pledge, resulting in >20% becoming vegan, and to have 10,000 more people download its vegan starter kit. We're unsure if these goals are realistic, and normally wouldn't think $1.50 per sign up / download was worthwhile. But we see disproportionate value to seeding grassroots advocacy in this large, neglected nation, which we estimate has roughly as many farm animals as the US (mainly farmed fish).

Equalia: $30K

Corporate and policy work in Spain.

Equalia has an impressive track record in its first year: after their slaughter investigations they secured support for installing CCTV in slaughterhouses from Carrefour Spain, the biggest Spanish union, and the meat industry association. They're now looking to launch broiler welfare campaigns in Spain. We think it would make more sense to focus on closing out progress on cage-free campaigns in Spain first, but are still funding them — at a lower level than requested — because of their track record to date.

Vegans of Shanghai: $25K

Restaurant outreach in Shanghai.

China is clearly one of the globe's most important emerging markets, and in terms of number of farmed animals, China leads the world by a wide margin. A few years ago, Vegans of Shanghai launched to promote veganism in China's commercial capital. For 2020 they aim to have 50-100 food services adopt at least 1 full Vegan Menu (e.g., one main, one appetizer, and one dessert). That number seems within their reach, as during 2018 and 2019 they report having success with 50+ restaurants. Given the scarcity of grassroots farmed animal or vegan activists in China, combined with the overall grand importance of progress in China for animals, we see significant value in supporting all the promising activists we can find there.

Tušti narvai (Anima International Lithuania): $20K

Corporate policy work to end the sale of live fish in Lithuania.

The Lithuanian branch of Anima International, this farm animal protection organization has a solid track record of securing corporate animal welfare policies and conducting investigations that expose the conditions on fur farms and egg farms, and of the sale of live fish. They've successfully secured over 60 corporate cage-free policies, including commitments from 93% of the national retail sector, and will use funds to secure corporate pledges to stop the sale of live fish in Lithuania. They estimate that between 0.5 - 1M fish are sold alive each year, up to ⅓ of the country's ~3M farmed fish. Because of its potential to impact a large number of animals and start an important public discourse on fish protection, we are supportive of this project.

Humánny pokrok: $11K

Support to host the Conference on Animal Rights in Europe (CARE).

This local Slovakian animal protection organization will use funds to host a virtual version of CARE - a conference with over 250 attendees focused on effective interventions that will improve the interconnectedness of the movement and facilitate future growth, enhance international campaigning and resource sharing, and strengthen collaboration between organizations across Europe and beyond. Although the conference will be hosted virtually for the first time, we view this online event as an important movement-building opportunity, and we're optimistic about its success given Humánny pokrok's eleven-year history of hosting vegan food festivals with up to 30,000 attendees.

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