Animal Advocacy Careers have now released our fourth skills profile. This one is about politics, policy, and lobbying.

By reading this profile we hope that you can build a better understanding of whether seeking to develop politics, policy, and lobbying expertise seems like one of the best ways for you to use your time in order to help animals.Summary:

  • How does this work help animals: You can encourage changes and improvements in legislation, regulation, and enforcement, redirect government spending, and shift social norms and attitudes in ways that are more favourable to animals.
  • Who is this work a good fit for: Generalists with good communication skills, people skills, and critical thinking skills. You have to be willing to work with people who don’t care about animals as much as you do.
  • How much do we need more expertise in this area: We could benefit a lot from more people exploring some of the many promising opportunities in politics and policy. There are few lobbying roles in animal advocacy, though there could be more in the future.
  • What options would you have if you were to leave this path: There are lots of opportunities for switching between various roles in politics, policy, and lobbying. The generalist skills you develop could easily be applied to other animal advocacy roles.
  • How to prepare for politics, policy, and lobbying roles: Focus on building up relevant networks and getting your foot in the door as early as possible. Familiarity with politics and political institutions helps. Graduate degrees can be helpful, especially in law, economics, public policy, or political science. Sometimes specialist PhDs are necessary.
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This is an awesome guide - thank you for writing it, Jamie and Animal Advocacy Careers!

Below are some relevant links - though these are mainly focussed on the UK.

UK political party animal groups:

https://www.conservativeanimalwelfarefoundation.org/

http://www.labouranimalwelfaresociety.org.uk/

https://gap.greenparty.org.uk/

Other UK political parties may have similar sub-groups, too.

I'm not sure whether similar groups exist in other countries. (If not, maybe setting them up could be a high-leverage intervention?)

There's also a UK political party for animals - the Animal Welfare Party: https://www.animalwelfareparty.org/

General 80k blog post on UK political careers - short and sweet:

https://80000hours.org/2016/01/10-steps-to-a-job-in-politics/

A careers guide for policy/politics jobs (mainly relevant to the UK):

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gillman-Politicos-Politics-Government-Paperback/dp/B00RWLQRBG/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=gillman+sally+politicos&qid=1598471998&sr=8-1

In the U.S. (and perhaps other countries) I expect there is an unrealized opportunity for animal welfare advocates to collaborate with libertarian organizations like Cato and R Street. There could be a productive "strange bedfellows" alliance in the fight against socially and ethically damaging subsidies - for both meat and feed stocks - that enable domestic meat industries to thrive rather than retract.

To quote the R Street link below: "For too long, American agriculture has been overly dependent on domestic subsidies... American farmers and ranchers want the chance to sell their products, not have to wait for a government handout."

As an aside...(re conservatives, not libertarians) here is Ben Shapiro saying to Jonathan Safran Foer that he thinks that in 100 years people will look back on eating animals as a bad thing - 33 min: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GU-yTOYQl4

Thanks for sharing! That is an incongruous pair - but I wouldn't be surprised if the number of vocal conservative vegetarians grows over the coming years as the cost of coming out as a vegetarian or vegan loses its stigma in some corners of the conservative movement(s) In OECD countries, and the need for preference falsification erodes.