Meat-eater problem

History

The meat-eater problem appears to have been first explicitly described in a Felicifia post from 2009.[1]

Saving human lives, and making humans more prosperous, seem to be obviously good in terms of direct effects. However, humans consume animal products, and these animal products may cause considerable animal suffering. Therefore, improving human lives may lead to negative effects that outweigh the direct positive effects. This “meat “meat-eater problem” suggests that working on global poverty may be less effective than is commonly assumed.

Although it is very difficult to quantify these effects, one estimate suggests that each additional $1,000 per year for a relatively poor individual may cause between 1 and 190 days of animal suffering, though the estimate should not be taken literally.[1]2] Some have argued that the problem is less significant by claiming that animals have net positive lives, or by arguing that the effect on consumption is relatively small.[2]3]

  1. ^

    Östman, Jesper (2009) The poor meat eater problem, Felicifia, October 26.

  2. ^

    Bogosian, Kyle (2015) Quantifying the impact of economic growth on meat consumption, Effective Altruism Forum, December 22.

  3. ^

    Weathers, Scott (2016) The meat eater problem: developing an EA response, Effective Altruism Forum, February 29.

Although it is very difficult to quantify these effects, one estimate suggests that each additional $1,000 per year for a relatively poor individual may cause between 1 and 190 days of animal suffering, though the estimate should not be taken literally (Bogossian 2015).literally.[1] Some have argued that the problem is less significant by claiming that animals have net positive lives, or by arguing that the effect on consumption is relatively small (Weathers 2016).small.[2]

BibliographyFurther reading

Bogosian, Kyle (2015) Quantifying the impact of economic growth on meat consumption, Effective Altruism Forum, December 22.
Is an attempt to quantify the effects of increasing income on consumption of animal products.

Related entries

cause prioritization | economic growth | farmed animal welfare

  1. ^

    Bogosian, Kyle (2015) Quantifying the impact of economic growth on meat consumption, Effective Altruism Forum, December 22.

  2. ^

    Weathers, Scott (2016) The meat eater problem: developing an EA response, Effective Altruism Forum, February 29.
    Argues that the meat eater problem may be less significant than it seems.

    Related entries

    cause prioritization | economic growth | farmed animal welfare

The meat-eater problem(sometimes called the poor meat-eater problem) is the concern that some interventions aimed at helping humans might increase animal product consumption and as a result increase farmed animal suffering, e.g. by increasing real income or human population.

Holness-Tofts, Alex (2020) Poor meat eater problem, Effective Altruism Forum, July 10.

Östman, Jesper (2009) The poor meat eater problem, Felicifia, October 26.

Shulman, Carl (2015) Comment on “What is the expected effect of poverty alleviation efforts on existential risk?”, Effective Altruism Forum, October 2.

The Meat-Eater Problemmeat-eater problem is the concern that some interventions aimed at helping humans might increase animal product consumption and harm animals as a result,result increase farmed animal suffering, e.g. by increasing real income or increasing the size of the human population. This tag is for posts discussing the meat-eater problem, including to what degree it is significant, if at all.

Further readingBibliography

Bogossian, Kyle. 2015.Bogosian, Kyle (2015) Quantifying the poorimpact of economic growth on meat eater problemconsumption., Effective Altruism Forum, December 22.
Is an attempt to quantify the effects of increasing income on consumption of animal products.

Weathers, Scott. 2016.Scott (2016) The meat eater problem: developing an EA response., Effective Altruism Forum, February 29.
Argues that the meat eater problem may be less significant than it seems.

Applied to Reasons to eat meat by jablevine at 1y

Further details

Saving human lives, and making humans more prosperous, seem to be obviously good in terms of direct effects. However, humans consume animal products, and these animal products may cause considerable animal suffering. Therefore, improving human lives may lead to negative effects that outweigh the direct positive effects. This “meat eater problem” suggests that working on global poverty may be less effective than is commonly assumed.

Although it is very difficult to quantify these effects, one estimate suggests that each additional $1,000 per year for a relatively poor individual may cause between 1 and 190 days of animal suffering, though the estimate should not be taken literally (Bogossian 2015). Some have argued that the problem is less significant by claiming that animals have net positive lives, or by arguing that the effect on consumption is relatively small (Weathers 2016).

Further reading

Bogossian, Kyle. 2015. Quantifying the poor meat eater problem.
Is an attempt to quantify the effects of increasing income on consumption of animal products.

Weathers, Scott. 2016. The meat eater problem: developing an EA response.
Argues that the meat eater problem may be less significant than it seems.

The Meat-Eater Problem is the concern that some interventions helping humans might increase animal product consumption,consumption and harm animals as a result, e.g. by increasing income or increasing the size of the human population, and cause harm to animals as a result.population. This tag is for posts discussing the meat meat-eater problem, including to what degree it is significant, if at all.

Should we also include other externalities due to animal product consumption? E.g. climate change.

5Pablo1y
The general concern is that interventions optimized for humans may be suboptimal when non-human welfare is taken into account. Climate change is bad for human and (at least naively) non-human animals alike, so it doesn't seem like an effect this article should discuss.
4Pablo6mo
Re-reading this exchange, I'd like to add that it may be worth discussing those externalities in other Wiki articles, such as dietary change [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/dietary-change].

The Meat-Eater Problem is the concern that some interventions helping humans might increase animal product consumption, e.g. by increasing income or increasing the size of the human population.population, and cause harm to animals as a result. This tag is for posts discussing the meat eater problem, including to what degree it is significant, if at all.