AJ

Andres Jimenez

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Just a couple of points on the original comment about AIM:

  • @mildlyanonymous, I'm glad you brought up the perception of the animal movement regarding AIM. I must say, I don't have the same negative perception as you do but this may be biased: 
    • i) motivated reasoning on my part as a AIM incubate, and 
    • ii) feedback I get from the overall movement may be filtered by my interlocutors because of said affiliation
  • In any case, I would really invite whoever feels that AIM is 'not collaborative with the movement' to look again. AIM has launched or is planning to launch several organisations which are actively designed to support the movement:
    • To grow in Africa (AAA)
    • To bring in more talent into the movement (AAC)
    • Help orgs in the movement make better decisions (Animal Ask)
    • Bring in more money to a resource-strained cause area (work in progress)
  • If this is not the very definition of collaboration, I don't know what is

 

Regarding SWP not doing what CE originally proposed we do: I've mentioned this openly at least in a couple of interviews (80K, HILTLS). My goal was not to demerit AIM's research but rather to say that there is so much one can learn from desktop research in a low-evidence space such as animal welfare and it is the role of the founding team to explore the different permutations and see what sticks

  • IMO, AIM's reports need to lay out at least a promising intervention, do a cost-effectiveness analysis on it (among other things), and see how it compares to say, cage-free campaigns to decide whether to kill it or explore deeper

I apologise in advance for not engaging further with the comments about AIM  / animal movement but we are very (human) resources constrained at SWP and the case in favour of AIM has been sufficiently established IMO

 

Regarding the discussion between @James Özden and @MichaelStJules, you are both right to some extent:

  • Out ToC indeed aims to move the Overton window in such a way that eventually high-leverage stakeholders (e.g. retailers, certifiers) feel confident to demand the use of electrical stunning beyond the capacity of SWP to fund
  • On the other hand, none of our funders has included this as strict condition because:
    • i) it is much harder to measure, and much more importantly
    • ii) the intervention looks sufficiently impactful and cost-effective without having to incorporate such second-degree effects

I actually don't think that we would be overestimating. Your original intuition was correct. 

The way it works in practice is that buyers ask for a certain size of shrimp (e.g. 14g). This is always quoted in live weight equivalent. Then comes the second criterion of being peeled, etc. This normally means that somewhere between 35-50% of the weight is lost. If we just use 50% for simplicity purposes, there are two possible scenarios:

  1. The producer assumes the agreement was for live weight equivalent and there is no change to our numbers, OR
  2. The producer assumes that it refers to the volume actually sold. Because each shrimp weighs 50% less, we need to gross up our numbers by that factor, i.e. the number of individual shrimps would be 2x our estimate

Hope this clarifies the issue. 

That is a very good point and one we hadn't really thought of.

The agreements don't specify whether the tonnage commitment refers to live weight equivalent (i.e. whole shrimp) or headless peeled weight. My sense is that, from context, producers are interpreting it as the former. We will think about whether to clarify this going forward in the agreements or whether we prefer the ambiguity as it might work in our favour. 

Regarding monitoring adherence, as of right now, we feel our most sensible approach is to base it on the representations that the producers will be making to their buyers. Defaulting obligations to SWP seems pretty innocuous for producers but defaulting or misleading their buyers is a whole different ballgame and one that could cost them their business. This is the reason why we always try to have the buyers being party to the agreements stating that they will prioritise stunned shrimp.

Thanks for your interest in shrimp welfare and I hope this addresses your questions. 

First and foremost, I want to express my deep gratitude to @MHR, @MarcusAbramovitch  and @Aaron Bergman for kickstarting this discussion in the EA Forum. As mentioned in the post, this is currently SWP’s most cost-effective programme and one that we are very keen to continue to scale in the coming few years. To achieve that, we expect to rely on the support of our existing donors but also on that of the EA Community at large. 

Second, we couldn’t have asked for a better way to get the conversation started than for a third party to look at our programme in such depth and to put it to the community for consideration in an impartial way. 

Finally, I want it to be clear that my comments should not be interpreted as a negative reaction to the post but quite the opposite. It would have been nearly impossible to do a better job at portraying and evaluating our programme without further ‘insider intel’ which I hope to provide a bit of here. 

Thank you!

 

In the coming days, we might have some more feedback on the specific assumptions made in the post but I wanted to make some clarifications as early as possible:

 

FUNDING

  • We are aiming to fundraise up to $1,000,000 for this programme to deploy stunners for the remainder of 2023 as well as 2024
    • 2-3 more electrical stunners in 2023 (high degree of certainty),
    • 12 more in 2024 (ambitious), and
    • An allowance to hire someone who will support with the logistics of physically getting all these stunners where they are supposed to go. This is surprisingly labour-intensive (negotiating contracts, arranging shipments, dealing with importing agencies, etc.). 
  • Anyone interested in supporting this programme can donate through the Manifund project or our webpage
  • As mentioned, we have signed agreements with MER Seafood and Seajoy - Cooke, both based in Honduras. Those stunners have already been acquired and at least partially paid for. The funds we are raising are aimed at funding the other 2-3 stunners in the pipeline for this year and another dozen for 2024. 

 

OVERALL PROGRAMME

  • It cannot be highlighted enough that the ultimate goal of this project, even if highly cost-effective in its own right, is to catalyse industry-wide adoption (certification schemes, legislation, etc.) of a more humane slaughter method than the one currently utilised. By removing certain perceived barriers (or falsifying some excuses, depending on your views of the industry), we expect retailers and other buyers to be emboldened and be more assertive in demanding their shrimps to be humanely stunned pre-slaughter.
    • A positive indication of the tractability of this Theory of Change is the recent publication by Marks & Spencer (a UK retailer) of their Decapod Crustacean Welfare Policy. It has some commitments and timelines which seemed unthinkable when SWP was launched in 2021. This was made possible mainly by:
      • Compassionate individuals inside M&S who were willing to actively engage with animal welfare organisations,
      • Crustacean Compassion’s great work, including their industry benchmark, 
      • AND Shrimp Welfare Project’s novel approach in supporting the adoption of humane tech (as recognised in the text of M&S’s own welfare policies) which gave M&S greater confidence in drawing up their plans

 

COST-EFFECTIVENESS ESTIMATES

  • The average and standard deviations of how many shrimps this programme would help per $, use only the percentages that the producers have committed to in order to receive their initial electrical stunner. However, in our discussions, it is clear that these producers (and more importantly their buyers) are seeing this as a pilot to eventually stun 100% (or close) of their shrimps. 
    • Assuming that SWP does not pay for any of the additional stunners required by those producers, this would increase the average from c.15,000 to c.27,500 (+54%) shrimps per $, making it significantly more cost-effective 

I'm really looking forward to hearing more about the TII and how other orgs might support or collaborate with you. 

James, thank you very much for writing this thoughtful post!  It presents the argument in simple but powerful ways. 

Edo and Amber, thanks a lot for writing this. I really enjoyed looking back at when my co-founder and I launched SWP! 

I'm happy to chat with anyone interested in discussing this process further. My email is andres@shrimpwelfareproject.org

Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply so thoughtfully!  will definitely look into these resources. 

Ben, this is super helpful! Thank you very much for publishing. Any chance you have come across something related to managing/coping with work addiction? 

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