If you have any questions about this role recently posted by Rethink Priorities, feel free to ask them in the comments on this post.


About the project

Despite the fact that trillions of insects are farmed and harmed annually, no charity exists that directly addresses the welfare issues they face. This situation raises the possibility that tackling insect welfare is a low-hanging charitable opportunity—we may be able to cost-effectively improve the lives or prevent the suffering of billions or even trillions of individuals.

After reviewing several potential options, we believe that slowing the growth of the insect protein farming industry might be one of the most promising areas for insect advocates to address. While industrial insect production is being promoted as a sustainable alternative to feed the world, in practice, this emerging sector is primarily rearing insects to feed other farmed animals. In other words, massive insect production will unlikely solve–and may even aggravate–the harms of conventional animal farming.

Insect farming is still nascent in western countries, but it is rapidly on the rise. Currently, there are about 85 billion insects on farms globally–approximately 10 times the human population. Since this figure is bound to increase in the near future, insects farmed for food and feed will soon outnumber all vertebrate animals farmed for food and will likely become the vast majority of all animals directly harmed or killed by humans for food production. 

To address this issue, Rethink Priorities is incubating a new organization, temporarily called the Insect Welfare Project. This new organization aims to improve the lives of insects by collaborating with others, making evidence-based decisions, innovating, and staying flexible to changing circumstances. Its first program will address urgent issues related to the growth of the industry raising insects for food and feed.

We’re now seeking an Executive Director for this project. This person will initially join us at Rethink Priorities while working to get the project off the ground and build it into a successful independent organization.

While starting an organization can be a daunting task, we hope to provide significant support to the project and the Executive Director, including:

  • Fiscal sponsorship in the short term while the project gets off the ground
  • Commitment to fully fund the Executive Director’s salary and benefits for at least one year
  • Seed funding and introductions to interested funders to enable the growth of the organization over the next few years
  • Access to researchers at Rethink Priorities, including a staff entomologist, to aid in the assessment of conditions for insects on farms
  • Training in nonprofit operations, finance, and compliance, and ongoing operations support after the organization becomes independent of Rethink Priorities

About the position

We’re seeking a visionary and strategic leader who will ideally grow the organization into a highly effective charity. In the short term, this position would report to the project’s Steering Committee during an assessment period to ensure that the candidate is the right fit, after which we’d work with the candidate to help them incubate and launch this new organization as an independent entity.

This position is remote and open to individuals in most countries. The salary is between $85,000 and $100,000 USD annually during the period that the organization is part of Rethink Priorities, depending on experience. In addition, Rethink Priorities offers comprehensive benefits, including health coverage and unlimited time off.

In 20 years, if we look back to study missed opportunities to help animals, failing to prevent the growth of the insect farming industry could well be the largest mistake the animal advocacy community has made. This is a pivotal decade for the industry: consumer attitudes are in flux, regulations are being considered and written for the first time, and new factories are being designed and built. Now is the best time we might ever have to influence this sector and help animals farmed and harmed in the trillions. 

If you’re interested in this opportunity, please apply here by the end of the day on July 17, 2022.

What you'll do

  • Oversee the development of a new charity dedicated to reducing human harms on insects, starting with insects farmed for food and feed
  • Develop the organization’s mission, vision, and strategic plan
  • Work with researchers to identify the highest impact interventions on insect welfare
  • Develop and implement high-impact interventions to improve insect welfare
  • Test and assess interventions as the organization implements them
  • Develop budgets, hire and manage staff, and oversee the administration of a nonprofit working on insect welfare issues

Skills you have

  • Strong critical and strategic thinking skills
  • Capable of changing your mind in the face of new facts or information
  • Interest in developing a nimble organization that can change direction as needed to have the greatest impact
  • Dedication to reducing the suffering and improving the well-being of insects
  • Dedication to the principles of effective altruism, such as a focus on impact and cost-effectiveness
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Confidence when networking with key stakeholders
  • Ability to work independently while collaborating with many different parties
  • Strong attention to detail and commitment to high-quality work
  • Commitment to transparency and integrity
  • Highly organized and self-motivated
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks

About Rethink Priorities

Please note that this role is not within Rethink Priorities. However, we would like you to know more about the organization incubating this project.

Rethink Priorities is a research organization aimed at uncovering insights to inform policymakers and major foundations about how to best set policies to help people and nonhuman animals.

Since 2018, we have:


Apply here


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