ACE Recommended Charity Fund: Six Month Update (July 2020)

by Animal Charity Evaluators8 min read27th Jul 2020No comments

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In January 2020, thanks to the generous support of donors to ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund, we granted $520,445.90 to our 2019 Top Charities and Standout Charities—our second highest distribution since launching the fund. Each charity has provided us with an update on how they’ve used their grants to help animals over the past six months, and we’re excited to share their achievements. By making a single gift to our Recommended Charity Fund, you can support multiple highly effective charities working hard to reduce animal suffering around the world.

Top Charity Updates

Anima International: $80,068.60 grant

The first half of the year was a challenging time for Anima International, having gone through a change in CEO while also feeling the effects of the pandemic. Because of these challenges, they dedicated a portion of their funds to the psychological support of staff.

Anima International undertook their first global cage-free campaign through the Open Wing Alliance, utilizing a global commitment from the retailer Metro to organize a momentum campaign involving 10 countries with a focus on Eastern Europe—namely the Balkans and Baltics—where cage-free momentum has not yet taken off.

Anima International provided training to the groups participating in the campaign, sharing their expertise in campaigns, media work, as well as tips for working with egg producers. They also produced campaigning materials, including a video boosted toward stakeholders in the food sector and egg producers, which gained a reach of over 1 million. In collaboration with five countries, Anima International produced a positive advertisement for industry magazines about cage-free eggs as a business opportunity. Additionally, they secured positive media coverage about cage-free momentum in nine countries across the U.K., Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Baltics.

The Anima International investigations team supported Sinergia Animal Thailand by securing footage from five farms in late 2019. In 2020, based on this work, the video production team prepared a campaign video that will be used in their cage-free work, both in Thailand and internationally. Video footage and images from other industries were also gathered and will be made available to Sinergia Animal and others with the purpose of using more localized materials in their work.

The Food Fight workspace has grown into a community with 48 different organizations, all working on plant-based campaigns. Taking inspiration from what the OWA did for cage-free movement coordination, Anima International is adapting this method for plant-based campaigns.

Albert Schweitzer Foundation: $80,068.60 grant

Thanks to support from ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund and despite the COVID-19 situation, the Albert Schweitzer Foundation (ASF) corporate outreach team convinced seven new companies to join the European Chicken Commitment (ECC) in the last six months. Among them are two “producers” of chickens raised for meat, a healthy fast-food chain, a food producer, and Germany’s largest meal kit delivery service. With two catering companies committing to the ECC, nine of Germany’s ten largest caterers have now raised their welfare standards for chickens. ASF is working on achieving a commitment from the last remaining top-ten caterer, but they are being lenient with the timeline for now because they understand that the catering business has been gravely impacted by the crisis.

As one reaction to the pandemic measures, ASF paused their campaign against Subway. They did, however, organize two major campaign events in the first three months of the year. In collaboration with several other organizations, they staged protests at Subway’s European headquarter in Amsterdam and their German headquarter in Cologne, both of which received positive media coverage. Watch this short video with English subtitles for more information about the protests. ASF relaunched the campaign on July 22.

For the first time, ASF has compiled a comprehensive ranking of animal welfare standards of the largest German retail chains. The ranking was met with great interest by the retailers, who were reportedly surprised by their rather poor performances—the company at the top of the list scored only 51.6% of all points possible, while the runner-up scored 26.2%. ASF’s corporate outreach team has already had several conversations with retailers on how to improve their animal welfare standards.

The Good Food Institute: $80,068.60 grant

The first half of this year has required the Good Food Institute (GFI) to shift tactics to keep their staff, partners, and other stakeholders safe during the pandemic. In addition to publishing a blog post with resources for the alternative protein sector, GFI has hosted or presented at 75 virtual workshops and panels, reaching over 10,000 constituents.

In May, they released their 2020 State of the Industry Reports, which offer a comprehensive look at the state of investing, entrepreneurship, and markets of key alternative proteins. They have reportedly already been downloaded by some of the biggest investment and food companies in the world. GFI’s inaugural Good Food Retail Report, the retail counterpart of their Good Food Scorecard, also launched in May.

They’ve continued to work toward a level playing field in the marketplace for plant-based and cell-cultured meat products. Since January, GFI and their partners have defeated 21 label censorship bills in 19 states which seek to restrict the free speech rights of alternative protein companies to advertise their products truthfully and accurately.

GFI secured the sign-on of 36 nonprofit organizations, companies, investment firms, and university centers to a letter to the U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees. The letter requests $20 million in fiscal year 2021 to advance foundational research for plant-based proteins and cell-cultured meat. (Their recent blog lays out the case for prioritizing publicly funded open-access research into alternative protein this year.)

The second year of GFI’s Competitive Research Grant Program includes funding for 21 research projects—eight focused on cell-cultured meat and 13 focused on plant-based meat—which span nine countries across four continents.

Finally, GFI-India premiered the second season of their Feeding 10 Billion podcast (available for streaming on Spotify, Apple podcasts, and most major podcast platforms).

The Humane League: $80,068.60 grant

With their grant from ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund, The Humane League (THL) continued their global efforts to reduce the suffering of chickens. In the U.S., Tyson Foods announced plans to end the use of live-shackle slaughter in four of its facilities. This victory will spare an estimated 227 million chickens, or 17% of Tyson’s flock, from one of the most brutal practices in industrial agriculture. It is the result of years of campaigning against companies such as McDonald’s that purchase chicken from Tyson, as well as a new campaign initiative pressuring producers, which are uniquely vulnerable to pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is more work to be done, this is a major step toward implementing the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC)—a set of comprehensive welfare standards for chickens raised for meat—across the U.S. In addition, THL secured 12 international cage-free commitments, seven new BCC commitments in the U.S., and 20 in Europe—including industry giant Hormel in the U.S. and Papa John’s in Europe.

In May, the Open Wing Alliance (OWA) hosted their fourth annual (and first virtual) Global Summit to End Cages, convening nearly 300 attendees across six continents (see picture above). THL and their OWA coalition partners trained activists in effective campaign tactics and aligned around their global cage-free strategy.

THL Labs, tracking the impact of corporate commitments by publishing data on the U.S. cage-free egg supply, reported that 26% of hens now live in cage-free systems. The percentage of hens living in cage-free systems rose by 2.8% from January through April of this year.

Standout Charity Updates

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations: $40,034.30 grant

The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) used their grant to initiate strategic changes to their approach toward animal advocacy.

As part of their capacity-building work, they launched a webinar series—Learn from Leadersto keep their grassroots activists engaged and develop their leadership skills during the country-wide lockdown in India. They’ve since completed four webinars with a total participation of about 200 activists who were trained on a range of topics, including leading reforms to slaughter practices, using the Living Free app (which can be used by citizens to file complaints against illegal meat shops), resolving human-dog conflict, and approaching animal rights from the perspective of the law and policy-making.

FIAPO set up national-level strategy groups of animal welfare leadership both for grassroots efforts and specifically for elephants. In addition to valuable information-sharing, networking, and the formulation of a common strategy in response to COVID-19, these groups have taken multiple actions, such as creating FAQs as guidance for other members and writing to various authorities about animal welfare issues.

Additionally, FIAPO has been engaging with 74 Members of Parliament (MPs) to influence and push their policy asks at the bureaucratic level, as well as local Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in the states and constituencies in which their policy asks are targeted. So far, seven MPs have raised eight animal welfare-related questions in the Parliament due to FIAPO’s persuasion. They are positively engaged with 13 MPs, and ten MPs have asked for input on questions to be raised in the next Parliament session.

Finally, FIAPO is developing competency mapping to align their staff’s skill sets with appropriate job profiles by the end of August. With this systematic approach to mapping skills against job profiles, FIAPO will be able to increase their resilience and in turn, the effectiveness of their work.

Compassion in World Farming USA: $40,034.30 grant

Compassion in World Farming USA (Compassion) moved their corporate engagement online in the wake of COVID-19, including hosting the webinar Navigating the Better Chicken Commitment: The Ask, The Science, The Market. A top chicken company attended for the first time, along with over fifty other food leaders—a sign that companies remain engaged on chicken welfare despite the pandemic.

In January, Popeyes committed to sourcing higher welfare chicken following engagement and campaigns from Compassion and others. In the annual investor-focused Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, several companies, including Chipotle, Campbell’s Soup, and Subway, were recognized for increased disclosure on policy and performance following engagement with Compassion.

Taco Bell received Compassion’s coveted Good Egg Award in June, after ensuring that their suppliers did not use combi-cages. These housing systems pose a threat to the cage-free movement because they allow cage-free barns to easily revert to cages by closing doors. Compassion continues to examine and address this threat across all areas of implementation.

Compassion’s Spaghetti Meat campaign, which centers on concerns over the genetics of chickens raised for meat, achieved international primetime news coverage, reaching 15 million viewers in Italy and France. In recent months, they also mobilized support on intersectional issues including Earth Day, Pride Month, and Black Lives Matter.

Faunalytics: $40,034.30 grant

Thanks to the generous support of ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund donors, Faunalytics has completed two major studies this year and has published a third (“The State Of Animal Advocacy: Experiences & Turnover”). Their “‘Reduce’ Or ‘Go Veg’? Effects On Meal Choice” study tested two key advocacy strategies against one another: asking for meat reduction versus meat elimination. As many more people were willing to try reduction rather than elimination, advocating for meat reduction led to more meatless meal purchases than advocating for vegetarianism.

They also conducted a poll of the public’s understanding and opinions related to COVID-19 and animals. Key findings include the following: (i) the majority of U.S. adults do not understand the zoonotic origins of the virus; (ii) a carefully-presented, factual argument outlining the link between animal agriculture and the outbreak was seen as convincing by up to 58% of respondents; and (iii) 42%–43% of respondents support restrictions on agriculture and trade to prevent future disease outbreaks.

Faunalytics published over 100 library articles this year summarizing external studies on important topics in animal advocacy. Examples include “Effective Animal Advocacy: Roots and Practice,” “Institutional Attitudes Towards Wild Animal Suffering,” “The Global Footprint Of Fish Consumption,” “The Welfare Of Invertebrates,” and “Deaths Per Calorie & Effective Advocacy.” They also published several blogs—including a series entitled “Follow The Money” and an overview of effective campaigning—and launched two new additions to their Fundamentals series, one on wildlife and one on zoonoses.

Finally, they hired a Communications and Development Manager who will help animal advocates understand and apply research directly to their work, building capacity in the animal protection movement.

Sinergia Animal: $40,034.30 grant

Sinergia Animal used their grant to support several programs. In Colombia, their Institutional Meat Reduction program, Feeding Tomorrow, secured commitments from nine educational institutions, which will replace animal products with vegan alternatives in around 1.1 million meals per year.

They also released three new investigations. A supply chain investigation exposing a supplier of Grupo Exito, Colombia’s largest retailer, reached over 300,000 views on social media and was featured by Melodía Estéreo, a popular radio station in Colombia. In Indonesia, they carried out an exposé of 13 egg farms that resulted in 13 media hits, including in mainstream outlets. In Chile, their work was covered by one of the country’s most popular media outlets, El Ciudadano. Footage disclosed the reality behind an egg supplier of Carozzi, one of Chile’s largest food manufacturers. Hens were found confined in dirty cages, and it was exposed that the company had carried out the culling of 30,000 birds due to a farm’s closure after social and environmental problems.

Sinergia Animal’s efforts to phase out the use of battery cages resulted in significant progress. In Asia, they secured commitments from Burger King in Thailand and Indonesia. In Latin America, six new policies were achieved, with the most relevant ones from Dunkin Donuts, which committed to serving only cage-free eggs in their breakfast meals in all Latin and Caribbean countries; Levapan, an international food manufacturer with operations in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Uruguay; and Sandwich Qbano, a fast-food chain with 240 locations in Colombia, the United States, and Panama.

They published the results of their Cage-Free Tracker program in Latin America, which had the participation of 13 companies. Their vegan challenges also kept growing in popularity and had the support of two celebrities in Indonesia, one in Chile, and one hit on Thai TV.

Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira: $40,034.30 grant

Between January and June 2020, Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira (SVB) used their RCF grant to develop several of their programs. The funding partially covered their staff’s payroll for such programs as well as other expenditures related to them.

As part of their Vegan Option program, SVB contributed to the launch of a vegan menu at all 21 locations of the Japanese restaurant chain Temakeria & Cia. They relaunched their campaign “If You Love One, Why Eat The Other?,” with several celebrities wearing the campaign t-shirt and posting about it on social media. They also participated in the launch of a Subway all-vegan sandwich (with vegan patty & vegan cheese) in its more than 2,000 Brazilian locations.

SVB produced a dynamic map showing thousands of restaurants with vegan options across Brazil, as well as a video calling on people to “stop eating animals.” The video featured celebrities—including TV show host Xuxa Meneghel (who has 11 million followers) and others with a total possible reach of nearly 18 million followers. They shared other content drawing media attention to the imminent risk of new pandemics and antibiotics resistance emerging from factory farms. For example, they promoted the recently-launched book Pandemics: Personal Choices, Global Health in Portuguese.

As part of their effort to increase their online content, SVB shared (i) dozens of new recipes on their Youtube channel, (ii) five live Instagram one-hour-long videos per week (for six consecutive weeks) on their Meatless Mondays Instagram profile, (iii) webinars for the general public—about health and nutrition, transitioning to a plant-based diet, vegan labeling and market, animal ethics and rights, the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, and many other topics, and (iv) webinars for staff regarding mental health.

Finally, they directed some of their RCF funding toward the development of new campaigns that will be better suited after the height of COVID-19.

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