Thank you so much for writing this, Ishaan!!!! You are amazing!!!
Thank you so much for asking this question, @smountjoy!
Wanted to put in a pitch for Legal Impact for Chickens.
Legal Impact for Chickens would be extremely honored and excited if any donor were to consider us for a gift of any size! And I believe the money would go a long way in terms of expected value to reduce suffering.
We're an EA-aligned litigation start-up dedicated to making factory-farm cruelty a liability.
LIC filed our first lawsuit a few months ago: A widely publicized shareholder-derivative case against Costco's executives for neglecting chickens. Costco breeds and kills 100 million chickens each year. And of course, in the US alone, companies kill 9 billion chickens a year. If we can improve these animals' lives, that could reduce a huge amount of suffering.
We have room for more funding. We want to grow to become a 6-person organization by 2024. Right now, we have two full-time staff: (1) me and (2) our amazing new litigator hire, Denise Morris, who starts on Monday.
My name is Alene. I'm the founder and I'm very friendly! If anyone is at all interested in potentially donating, please reach out to me, because I'd love to speak with you, get to know you, and tell you all about our organization! I think most of our donors are EAs. Thank you!!
And thank you to all the EA Forum readers who already support Legal Impact for Chickens! You rock!!
And thank you to the rest of the readers of this forum for everything you do to make the world better as effectively as possible!
PS I very much agree with @smountjoy about the importance of smaller donors.
First, that's where a lot of money comes from!
Second, that's where a lot of money SHOULD come from, according to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you're a US charity, then you'll probably want to get "public charity" status from the IRS so that you can receive tax-exempt donations and spend them on your own programs. For this status, you need to prove that a certain percentage of your support comes from SMALL donors, not just big foundations! So there's a special legal reason to court individual donors. But even besides the legal reason, I think the IRS has a point: It's more democratic for our charities to receive support from a large number of donors than just a few. It helps you know that your charity is listening to many opinions and being open to feedback.
So individual donors matter a lot, both for the money they provide and for the way they "vote" with their money.
LIC is proud to have a total of 213 unique donors. And the number of donors matters to us as well as the quantity of donations—because each donor represents a kind person trying to help our mission and believing that we can be entrusted with their money.
I was so excited to see the title of this winning cause proposal!
And then I was so surprised to see that the reasoning focused on the concern that pesticides may, unintentionally, harm people.
I love the idea of fighting pesticide use! And I love it for a totally different reason:
It seems to me that fighting pesticides could help quadrillions of insects and other animals.
While I'm not a scientist, it seems to me that insects probably have feelings. I'm getting this idea from three things: (1) First, the insect-related pop-sci news articles I've read (e.g. this). (2) Second, simply observing insects, and seeing how they sometimes seem scared of me and try to evade me, the same way other animals do. (3 ) And third, hypothesizing, without evidence, that perhaps we animals developed sentience around the same time as we developed the ability to move, as a way to get away from harmful stimuli. And insects can move.
Even if someone doesn't agree with me that insects probably have feelings, I think most reasonable people would have to admit that there's some chance that insects might have feelings. Like let's say a 10% chance. Google says there are 10 quintillion insects alive. So even a 10% chance of insects having feelings is, in a sense, morally equivalent to 1 quintillion beings who we know for sure have feelings. That would mean we should care a lot about insects' feelings. Even if insects are somehow less sentient than other animals, 1 quintillion half-sentient beings is still the moral equivalent of half-a-quintillion totally-sentient beings.
I realize the things I'm saying are counterintuitive. They feel counterintuitive to me, too, even though I'm the one saying them. And I understand why people are more passionate about helping larger animals, like people. I'll admit that I don't do much in my life to protect insects. And I have killed huge numbers of insects in my life. But I think it would be nice if we could try to treat insects a little better.
I would assume pesticides cause immense suffering to the animals they're designed to kill. So, even if only a fraction of insects are harmed by pesticides, we could probably do a huge amount of good by reducing pesticide use! 🐞
Plus, pesticides harm multiple types of animal species, not just insects and humans, right?
Anyway, kudos to Ben and OP! Down with pesticides!
Thank you so much for hosting Denise!