Animal welfare
Animal welfare
Reducing suffering experienced by farmed animals and wild animals


Some exciting news from the animal welfare world: this morning, in a very ideologically-diverse 5-4 ruling, [] the US Supreme Court upheld California's Proposition 12, one of the strongest animal welfare laws in the world!
Plant-based burgers now taste better than beef [] 
Has anyone looked at the effect of air pollution on animal welfare (farmed or wild)?
A few days ago, I posted an introduction [] to my new nonprofit, Allied Scholars for Animal Protection []. Just want to mention that we've also released a video introducing the organization on Youtube: 
WHY IT'S DIFFICULT TO FIND COST-EFFECTIVE WILD ANIMAL WELFARE INTERVENTIONS WE COULD DO NOW INTRODUCTION Most Wild Animal Welfare (WAW) researchers I talked to thought that we are unlikely to find WAW interventions that would be directly competitive with farmed animal welfare interventions in terms of direct short-term cost-effectiveness. After spending some months trying to find such interventions myself, I tentatively agree. In this text, I will try to explain why. EXPERIENCE FROM THE PROJECT I spent some months trying to find a WAW intervention that is: * tractable (can in principle be funded >$100K/yr in the next two years even if we choose not to do so),  * non-controversial (>40% support and <30% oppose in a US poll), and  * directly cost-effective (10%+ as cost-effective in expectation as chicken welfare reforms []).  The first step in the process was listing all potential interventions. Even though many people contributed to it, I found this list to be underwhelming (unfortunately, I don’t think I can share the list without asking for permission from everyone who contributed to it). I feel that coming up with plausible interventions for farmed animals is much easier. And in fact, lists of farmed animal welfare ideas I've seen from Charity Entrepreneurship did seem much more promising. And I found it easy to think of more farmed animal charity ideas for Charity Entrepreneurship. But despite all my research, none of the WAW ideas seem promising enough to seriously consider.  Also, ideas in the WAW list seemed much more complex to research and gain certainty on than most ideas for farmed animals would be. Consequently, the impacts of WAW interventions also in general seemed to be much more uncertain. This makes me less excited about WAW interventions because it increases the effects of the optimizer’s curse.[1] This could be
The results of the Dutch provincial elections [] are in. The Party for the Animals [] (the party that banned factory farming, but people ignored it []) has increased its number of seats in the senate from 3 to 4 (out of 75). Before you start cheering I should mention that the Farmer–Citizen Movement [] (who are very conservative when it comes to animal rights) have burst onto the scene with 16 seats (making them the largest party). With farming and livestock becoming a hot button issue in the Netherlands there's a chance that animal rights will now become a polarizing issue, with a lot of people who previously didn't think about it becoming explicitly for or against expanding animal rights. While this would increase the amount of vegetarians and vegans, it remains to be seen if this will turn out positive for animal welfare overall.
Summary: This is a slightly steelmanned version of an argument for creating a mass social movement as an effective intervention for animal advocacy (which I think is neglected by EA animal advocacy), based on a talk by people at Animal Think Tank. (Vote on my comment below to indicate if you think it's worth expanding into a top-level post) link [] to the talk; alternative version with clearer audio [], whose contents - I guess - are similar, but I'm not sure. (This shortform doesn't cover all content of the talk, and has likely misinterpreted something in the talk; I recommend you to listen to the full talk) Epistemic status: An attempt at steelmaning the arguments, though I didn't really try hard - I just wrote down some arguments that occur to me. The claim: Creating a mass social movement around animals, is more effective than top-to-bottom interventions (e.g. policy) and other interventions like vegan advocacy, at least on current margins. * This is not to say policy work isn't important. Just that it comes into the picture later. * My impression is that the track record of mass movements in creating change is no less impressive than that of policy reforms, but EA seems to have completely neglected the former. A model of mass movements: * Analogous to historic movements like the civil rights movement in the US, and recent movements like Extinction Rebellion. Both examples underwent exponential growth, which will be explained in the next bullet point. * You start with a pool of people in the movement, and these people go out and try to grab attention for the movement, using tactics like civil disobedience and protests. Exposure to the ideas leads to more people thinking about them, which in turn leads to more people joining. With the enlarged people pool, you start the cycle again. This then leads to an exponentially growing pool. * After t
Four podcasts on animal advocacy that I recommend: * Freedom of Species (part of 3CR radio station) Covers a wide range of topics relevant to animal advocacy, from protest campaigns to wild animal suffering to VR. More of its episodes are on the "protest campaigns" end which is less popular in EA, but I think it's good to have an alternative perspective, if only for some diversification. * Knowing Animals (hosted by Josh Milburn) An academic-leaning podcast that focuses on Critical Animal Studies, which IMO is like the academic equivalent of animal advocacy. Most guests are academics in philosophy, humanities and social sciences. (and btw, one episode discussed wild animal suffering, and I liked that episode quite a lot) * The Sentience Institute Podcast EA-aligned. Covers topics ranging from alt proteins to animal-focused impact investing to local animal advocacy groups to  digital sentience. * Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach Commentary (by Gary L. Francione) A valuable perspective that's not commonly seen in EA. Recommended for diversification. Off-topic: I also recommend the Nonlinear Library podcasts; they turn posts on EA Forum and other adjacent forums (LW, AF) to audio. There're different versions that form a series, including a version containing all-time top posts of EA Forum. There's also a version containing the latest posts meeting a not-very-high karma bar - I use that version to keep track of EA news, and it saved me a lot of time.
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