Every year, Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) spends several months evaluating animal advocacy organizations to identify those that work effectively and are able to do the most good with additional donations. Our goal is to help people help animals by providing donors with impactful giving opportunities that reduce suffering to the greatest extent possible. This year, we are excited to announce that we have selected one Top Charity and four Standout Charities.

In 2022, we conducted comprehensive evaluations of 12 animal advocacy organizations that are doing promising work. Per our evaluation criteria, the five charities we recommended this year have the most impactful programs, are highly cost-effective, and have the most room for additional funding, making them exceptional choices for end-of-year giving.

Because we changed the re-evaluation frequency of Top Charities from one to two years, The Humane League, Wild Animal Initiative, and Faunalytics have all retained their Top Charity status from 2021. The Good Food Institute now joins their ranks!

We are also pleased to recommend Fish Welfare Initiative, Dansk Vegetarisk Forening, and Çiftlik Hayvanlarını Koruma Derneği as new Standout Charities. Additionally, Sinergia Animal retained their status as a Standout Charity after being re-evaluated this year. These charities join the seven other Standout Charities that retain their status from last year: Compassion USA, Dharma Voices for Animals, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, Material Innovation Initiative, Mercy For Animals, New Harvest, and xiaobuVEGAN.

Below, you will find a brief overview of each of our Top and Standout charities. For more details, please check out our comprehensive charity reviews.

Top Charities

Evaluated in 2022

The Good Food Institute (GFI) currently operates in the U.S., Brazil, India, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Israel, where they work to increase the availability of animal-free products through supporting the development and marketing of plant-based and cell-cultured alternatives to animal products. They achieve this through corporate engagement, institutional outreach, and policy work. They also work to strengthen the capacity of the animal advocacy movement through supporting research and start-ups focused on alternative proteins. GFI was one of our Top Charities from November 2016 to November 2021. To learn more, read our 2022 comprehensive review of the Good Food Institute.

Evaluated in 2021

Faunalytics is a U.S.-based organization working to connect animal advocates with information relevant to advocacy. This mostly involves cоnducting and publishing independent research, working directly with partner organizations on various research projects, and promoting existing research and data for individual advocates through their website’s content library. Faunalytics was one of our Standout Charities from December 2015 to November 2021. To learn more, read our 2021 comprehensive review of Faunalytics.

The Humane League (THL) operates in the U.S., Mexico, the U.K., and Japan, where they work to improve animal welfare standards through grassroots campaigns, movement building, vegan advocacy, research, and advocacy training, as well as through corporate, media, and community outreach. They work to build the animal advocacy movement internationally through the Open Wing Alliance (OWA), a coalition founded by THL whose mission is to end the use of battery cages globally. THL has been one of ACE’s Top Charities since August 2012, when we used a different evaluation process and did not publish reviews. In 2014, THL was awarded Top Charity status in our first official round of ACE charity evaluations and has been renewed as a Top Charity ever since. To learn more, read our 2021 comprehensive review of The Humane League.

Wild Animal Initiative (WAI) is a U.S.-based organization working to strengthen the animal advocacy movement by creating an academic field dedicated to wild animal welfare. They compile literature reviews, write theoretical and opinion articles, and publish research results on their website and in peer-reviewed journals. WAI focuses on identifying and sharing possible research avenues and connecting wild animal welfare with more established fields. They also work with researchers from various academic and non-academic institutions to identify potential collaborators, and they recently launched a grant assistance program. WAI has been an ACE Top Charity since November 2020. To learn more, read our 2021 comprehensive review of Wild Animal Initiative.

Standout Charities

Evaluated in 2022

Çiftlik Hayvanlarını Koruma Derneği (CHKD), also known as Kafessiz Türkiye, is a Turkey-based organization that is primarily dedicated to improving farmed animal welfare standards—in particular, farmed chickens and fishes. They achieve this through corporate outreach, individual outreach, and media outreach. They also engage in research, education, and capacity-building initiatives to strengthen the animal advocacy movement. CHKD received a Movement Grant from ACE in 2021, and this is the first year they have been recommended as an ACE Standout Charity. To learn more, read our 2022 comprehensive review of Çiftlik Hayvanlarını Koruma Derneği.

Dansk Vegetarisk Forening (DVF) is a Denmark-based organization dedicated to increasing the availability of animal-free products, strengthening the animal advocacy movement, and reducing the consumption of animal products. DVF specifically engages in policy work on agricultural reform and the right to access plant-based food, as well as corporate and institutional outreach to food companies to make plant-based options more available. They also conduct research, run a product-labeling scheme, offer an educational program for children and youth, and lead a public outreach program promoting plant-based nutrition. DVF received Movement Grants from ACE in 2020 and 2022, and this is the first year they have been recommended as an ACE Standout Charity. To learn more, read our 2022 comprehensive review of Dansk Vegetarisk Forening.

Fish Welfare Initiative (FWI) is one of few organizations to work exclusively on improving the welfare standards of farmed fishes. They the majority of their work takes place in India, but they also work in China and the Philippines. They run the Alliance for Responsible Aquaculture (ARA), which sets continually-improving standards and implements them with carp farmers in the field in India. FWI also engages in corporate outreach to improve fish welfare across the supply chain and conducts field research that informs standard setting for welfare improvements. This is the first year FWI has been recommended as an ACE Standout Charity. To learn more, read our 2022 comprehensive review of Fish Welfare Initiative.

Sinergia Animal operates in Indonesia, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. They work to improve farmed animal welfare standards, increase the availability of animal-free products, decrease the consumption of animal products, and strengthen the animal advocacy movement. Sinergia Animal engages in corporate outreach to secure animal welfare commitments from major retailers. They also engage in investor and media outreach, policy work, investigations, individual and producer outreach, institutional outreach, and research. Sinergia Animal has been an ACE Standout Charity since November 2018. To learn more, read our 2022 comprehensive review of Sinergia Animal.

Evaluated in 2021

Compassion USA is the U.S. branch of the international organization Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), which works to improve farmed animal welfare and end all factory farming practices. Compassion USA engages in corporate outreach to encourage food companies to implement improved animal welfare policies, especially for farmed chickens. They also run a public engagement program to encourage greater consumer awareness of animal welfare issues and offer resources to encourage individuals to reduce their consumption of animal products. Compassion USA has been an ACE Standout Charity since November 2017. To learn more, read our 2021 comprehensive review of Compassion USA.

Dharma Voices for Animals (DVA) is the only international Buddhist animal rights organization in the world. The majority of their work takes place in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and the U.S., but they also work in Germany, Brazil, Finland, Myanmar, and Australia. DVA’s programs align with the specific contexts and priorities of the countries where they work. Many of their programs focus on diet change; however, they also lobby for animal welfare legislation, provide veterinary care, and work with restaurant owners to encourage them to transition their business to veganism. DVA has been an ACE Standout Charity since November 2021. To learn more, read our 2021 comprehensive review of Dharma Voices for Animals.

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) is an India-based organization that is primarily dedicated to reducing farmed animal suffering. To a lesser extent, they also work to reduce the suffering of companion animals and animals used for entertainment. Their work focuses on improving animal welfare standards, strengthening the animal advocacy movement, increasing the availability of animal-free products, influencing legislation change, and providing direct help and veterinary care to animals. They also run a vegan pledge program to encourage individuals to decrease their consumption of animal products. FIAPO has been an ACE Standout Charities since December 2019. To learn more, read our 2021 comprehensive review of Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations.

Material Innovation Initiative (MII) works to reduce farmed animal suffering by increasing the availability of animal-free products and strengthening the animal advocacy movement. They produce research on animal-free alternatives to existing materials used in the fashion, automotive, and homegoods industries, and they work with investors, corporations, and entrepreneurs to support the development of new products and production processes. They also host events, such as conferences, to create opportunities for the development of new networks in the next-gen materials industry. MII has been an ACE Standout Charity since November 2021. To learn more, read our 2021 comprehensive review of Material Innovation Initiative.

Mercy For Animals (MFA) operates in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, India, and Mexico. MFA’s work focuses on strengthening the animal advocacy movement and improving animal welfare standards, as well as decreasing the consumption of animal products and increasing the availability of animal-free products. They engage in a variety of farmed animal advocacy programs, often involving the distribution of footage from their undercover investigations of factory farms, which they primarily promote via media outreach and online campaigns. MFA also engage in corporate and institutional outreach, research, lobbying, and policy work. They recruit and train volunteers and support farmers in transitioning away from animal agriculture. MFA was selected as an ACE Top Charity several times between 2014 and 2017, and they have been a Standout Charity since November 2021. To learn more, read our 2021 comprehensive review of Mercy For Animals.

New Harvest funds research in cellular agriculture, i.e., the development of animal products using cells instead of animals. Through grant programs, they fund graduate and postdoctoral research projects in the field of cellular agriculture, as well as undergraduate and master-level projects for researchers-in-training. They also carry out public engagement and community-building activities via their podcast, blog, research publications, and research summaries. New Harvest was selected as an ACE Standout Charity in both December 2015 and November 2021. To learn more, read our 2021 comprehensive review of New Harvest.

xiaobuVEGAN is a China-based organization working to reduce farmed animal suffering. Their work aims to increase the availability of animal-free products, strengthen the animal advocacy movement, and decrease the consumption of animal products. xiaobuVEGAN engages in institutional outreach, runs an app that provides resources about vegan options in China, and supports dietary change via their vegan challenge program. xiaobuVEGAN has been an ACE Standout Charity since November 2021. To learn more, read our 2021 comprehensive review of xiaobuVEGAN.

If you are inspired by our 2022 recommended charities, consider making a gift to our Recommended Charity Fund. Your single donation will support all of ACE’s effective recommended charities and their efforts to reduce animal suffering around the glove. ACE disburses this fund to our Top and Standout Charities twice per year (in January and July) according to the distribution that our research team determines to be most impactful at that time. Starting today, there is a special opportunity to have your donation to the Recommended Charity Fund matched! Please subscribe to the ACE Newsletter to receive more information about this limited giving incentive.

Final Thoughts

ACE’s goal is to provide clear recommendations on specific high-performing charities and to foster a culture of evaluation and critical assessment of programs and organizations in the movement. We want our reviews to be informative for charities looking to assess their impact in order to help more animals. We hope that you will support our work to help people help animals.

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7 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 9:25 PM

I'm excited about these!

A small question on New Harvest: you state that they have ~$6M in assets, about half of which is in illiquid stock, and have been cash flow positive the past few years. In 2021, it looks like revenues were almost 2x expenses.

But a few months ago they posted saying they had only $1M in assets and expected to go bankrupt Oct 2022. 

Do you know what the discrepancy is?

Hi Ben! Thanks for question, and I'm glad you're excited about our recommendations.

The situation was as you noted: a significant portion of New Harvest's assets were in the stock of companies that had not gone public. In retrospect, when we last evaluated New Harvest in mid-late 2021, it would have been more accurate for ACE not to count assets that may be difficult to liquidate quickly, because they are not truly available to maintain operations. As you'll see in the upcoming "Our Room for More Funding Approach in 2022" blog post, we have since updated our methodology to ask charities whether they hold these types of assets.

Additionally, as New Harvest noted in their town hall, they received less in donations than expected in the first half of the year (attributed to the market downturn), which contributed to a decline in assets leading up to their post in June 2022. Thankfully, last we heard from them, they have been able to extend their runway through 2023.

- Vince

I'm an ACE board member, so full disclosure on that, though what I say here is in my personal capacity.

I'm very glad about a number of improvements to the eval process that are not obvious from this post. In particular, there are now numeric cost-effectiveness ratings that I found clarifying, overall explanations for each recommendation, and clearer delineation of the roles the "programs" and "cost-effectiveness" sections play in the reviews. I expect these changes to make recommendations more scope sensitive. This leaves me grateful for and confident in the new review framework.

there are now numeric cost-effectiveness ratings...

I expect these changes to make recommendations more scope sensitive

Nice.

Looking into the specifics of the quantification (here and here), I see that this is based on estimating the number of "achievements" per $100k. I think that this is:

  • Very ingenious: it allows for rapid comparison of many different programs in different areas
  • Hopefully something that can be refined later: I'm not sure that achievements in different areas should be worth the same, and it's not clear what goes into an "impact score".

Yes, and thank you for the detailed private proposal you sent the research team. I didn't see it but heard about it, and it seems like it was a huge help and just a massive amount of volunteer labor. I know they really appreciated it.

Thank you for this initial feedback, Nuño - we appreciate you taking the time. In the coming weeks, we'll be publishing one blog post for each of the evaluation criteria that we use when reviewing charities (for a total of 4 posts). The blog posts will give more detail on how we made our assessments, how this year's approach differs from previous years, and any limitations we see. The Cost Effectiveness blog post will be published on Dec 15th, so we look forward to sharing more details then.

- Elisabeth