I co-host a podcast called Hear This Idea, aiming to showcase "new thinking in philosophy, the social sciences, and effective altruism". Mostly, it's a vehicle for me and Luca to speak to inspiring or interesting EA-adjacent people, and to be a platform for ideas that aren't yet part of the 'core EA curriculum'.
In the spirit of Michael Aird's suggestion of sharing all EA-related content on the forum, I'm posting because we recently wrapped up a four episode mini-series relating to animal welfare and animal advocacy. We also wrote a longform article to go with each one. I've summarised each episode below.
What is speciesism, and how can analogies with other '-isms' bolster the case against eating animals? What do people get wrong about the concept? And if there's a case for abolishing human causes of animal suffering like factory farming, is there a case for intervening in nature to avoid wild-animal suffering? We also ask about historical attitudes toward nonhuman animals: why does this concern for animal welfare seem so unprecedented? And how did the history of Western though shape present-day attitudes to animals? We also talk about non-animal related things in the second half, as the title suggests.
Leah Edgerton is the Executive Director at Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE), having previously been the Strategy and Internationalisation Manager for ProVeg International. Manja Gärtner is a Senior Researcher at ACE, and holds a PhD in Economics from Stockholm University.
We talked about ACE's work, and the future of the animal advocacy movement. We cover: how ACE goes about evaluating animal charities, the importance of research in animal advocacy, and improving the "health of the movement". We also discuss the role EA has played in the animal advocacy more generally, the ongoing neglectedness of factory farming, and the "meat paradox".
Bruce Friedrich is the co-founder and executive director of The Good Food Institute — a nonprofit that works with scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs to support the development and marketing of cell-cultured and plant-based alternatives to animal food products.
We discussed the inefficiencies of meat production, parallels between today's cultivated and plant-based meat and early mobile phone technology, GFI's counterfactual impact, and how to market protein alternatives to consumers.
Sebastian Joy is founding President of ProVeg International, a food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system. He is also a social entrepreneur, having developed several vegan products and helped launch the international "50by40" alliance.
In this episode, we talk about Sebastian's career and the work that ProVeg does. We begin by asking Sebastian how he joined the animal advocacy movement, reflecting on his early experiences with PETA and the German Vegetarian Society. This brings us to Sebastian's reasons for launching ProVeg. We then talk about the work ProVeg does — especially corporate engagement and how the meat industry operates. Finally, we discuss Sebastian's experiences as a "serial social entrepreneur", and he offers advice about launching and scaling nonprofit startup ideas.
We've found it surprisingly difficult to gather constructive feedback on both the audio episodes and the write-ups. Any and all comments, especially ideas for ways to improve, are therefore extremely welcome. Each page has two inline rating forms — one at the top for the audio (under 'Click here to rate the episode.'), and one at the bottom for the write-up. You can also leave a comment on this post, send me a message on the forum, email us at feedback[at]hearthisidea[dot]com, or use our anonymous feedback form. Do also feel free to contact us with ideas for future EA interviewees (including yourself). Thanks very much for listening or reading if you do!