Request for proposal - EA Animal Welfare Fund

by KarolinaSarek1 min read28th May 20201 comment

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Farmed Animal WelfareWild Animal Welfare
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This post was written by Kieran Greig, Lewis Bollard, Alexandria Beck, and Karolina Sarek.

The EA Animal Welfare Fund aims to effectively improve the well-being of nonhuman animals.

This Request for proposal (RFP) aims to solicit applications for the July 2020 funding round that its fund managers feel particularly excited about. Listed below are areas and subareas of particular interest to the fund managers. Proposals that don’t address these will also be considered but, all else equal, are less likely to receive funding. Proposals need not address all areas or subareas below and can focus on just one or more.

  • Area: Farmed animal or plant-based advocacy in Asian or populous low and middle-income countries. Subareas of particular interest:
    • Activities in China
    • Activities in Southeast Asian countries
    • Cage-free campaigns
    • Small groups (budget < US$500k) in countries with little or no organized advocacy
    • Activities explicitly targeting improving skills and knowledge bottlenecks for effective work in those countries
  • Area: Research or efforts to improve the focus and efficacy of farmed animal or plant-based advocacy. Subareas of particular interest:
    • New initiatives or organizations with experienced staff
    • Research to assess and improve advocacy approaches used by large groups
    • Efforts clearly targeting a specific and acknowledged bottleneck of groups
    • Evaluation of large-scale interventions, especially those not currently prioritized by large groups
  • Area: Work to support the alternative protein ecosystem. Subareas of particular interest:
    • Novel work to support plant-based alternatives with an emphasis on gathering shareable information regarding the outcomes of these efforts
    • Proofs of concept or pilots of new interventions that could be significantly scaled up
    • Work growing the market for alternative protein in Asia or populous low and middle-income countries with high consumption of animal products
  • Area: Efforts that aim to improve the welfare of neglected farmed animals such as fish, or invertebrates, especially shrimp and prawns. Subareas of particular interest:
    • Research to better understand possible approaches to improve the welfare of crustaceans
    • Improving or introducing new legislation for farmed fish and crustaceans
  • Area: Research on wild animal welfare. Subareas of particular interest:
    • Outreach to academics to interest them in welfare biology and gathering shareable information about the outcomes of those efforts
    • Research evaluating non-controversial ways of improving wild animal welfare
    • Scoping reports on potential large-scale ways to improve wild animal welfare, such as possible policy changes or novel applications of technology

Proposals must be submitted on or before June 15, 2020. Funding decisions are planned for approximately one month later.

Please review some further information here prior to submitting a proposal here.

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Here's a project idea that someone might want to take on.

It's been argued (response) that bivalves have much reduced capacity for suffering compared to other commonly eaten animals. And according to this recent NY times article, "Mollusks like clams, oysters and scallops are also great low-carbon choices."

What could get people to substitute with bivalves? Lowering the price should help. A quick search on Amazon suggests that canned mussel (one of the bivalves highest in Omega-3s according to this chart) is 2-3x as expensive per ounce as canned salmon.

How could the price be reduced? On this US government website, you can see a picture of a guy culling and grading oysters by hand. Google has a case study on its website of a Japanese cucumber farm which used deep learning to sort cucumbers. Could similar technology be developed for bivalves? As a bonus, you could develop AI skills along the way, and potentially make a decent amount of money. It might be best to partner with/be hired by existing efforts in the bivalve automation space... here is one I found on Google.