emre kaplan

794Joined Mar 2022


I would also like to add to the other comments that EA Intro Fellowship has included a book section titled "All Animals Are Equal" for quite some time.

I suspect most of the impact of veganism comes from its social/political side effects rather than the direct impact of the consumption. I believe it's better to mostly think about "what kind of meme and norm should I spread" as most of the impact is there.

This is a huge public service and I really appreciate 80000 Hours publicly sharing this much of its thinking and progress. As a founder, I learnt a lot about how to run an organisation thanks to all those public documents of 80000 Hours. Thank you for setting a high bar for transparency in the community.

Answer by emre kaplanMar 08, 202330

You might find the first week of this reading list helpful.

I think he's not commenting on it much anymore since this issue isn't really a major priority. But I think he used to advocate for infanticide in a larger set of circumstances(eg. when it's possible to have another child who will have a happier life). The part about infanticide isn't that relevant to any kind of work EA is doing. But his views are still debated in animal advocacy circles and I am not sure what exactly his position is.

Does anyone know why Singer hasn't changed his views on infanticide and killing animals after he had become a hedonist utilitarian? As far as I know, his former views were based on the following:

a. Creation and fulfilment of new preferences is morally neutral.

b. Thwarting existing preferences is morally bad.

c. Persons have preferences about their future.

d. Non-persons don't have a sense of the future, they don't have preferences about their future either. They live in the moment.

e. Killing persons thwarts their preferences about the future.

f. Killing non-persons doesn't thwart such preferences.

g. Therefore killing a person can't be compensated by creating a new person. Whereas when you kill a non-person, you don't thwart many preferences anyway so killing non-persons can be compensated.

I think after he had become a hedonist this person/non-person asymmetry should mostly disappear. But I haven't seen him updating Animal Liberation or other books. Why is that?

Disclosure: I am currently working at an organisation running cage-free campaigns.

I love this post! I really like the stepping stone model, it brings a lot of clarity to this debate. A few quick thoughts:

  • I think the following conclusion is too quick given the design of this study: "campaigning for farm animal welfare reforms and promoting animal welfare certified meat could in the long run result in a suboptimal state of continued animal suffering and exploitation."  I feel like a better statement would be "introduction of animal product options labelled as "higher welfare" could in the long run result in a suboptimal state of continued animal suffering and exploitation."
  • People get really weird and unreliable when they talk about their consumption and morality. In the polls most people say over and over again that they wouldn't buy cage-eggs and would be willing to pay higher prices for higher welfare products. But the sales data don't reflect this at all, most people keep buying the cheapest option. It looks like people's self-declared intentions on food and morality are not really helpful for predicting  behaviour. But I think this stepping stone model can be used in designs that measure behaviour rather than self-declared intention
  • I believe that welfare campaigns(rather than certifications) mostly result in the removal of certain low welfare options rather than introduction of higher welfare options. For example, there haven't been any welfare campaigns in Turkey until 2017. Nonetheless, as it is the case in most industries, animal product industry had product differentiation, and some products were "premium" even though there were no welfare campaigns at all. And the "standard" products were(and still are) advertised in a pretty positive way. For example this is the typical packaging of a cage-egg brand in Turkey:
    Abalı Çiftliği Yumurta (M) 30 Lu
  • For this reason a counterfactual analysis should also take it into account what would be the society's perception of the industry without welfare campaigns.
    The options on the supermarket shelves before welfare campaigns:
    Eggs (these are cage eggs with the pictures of happy hens on the packaging) $2
    Cage-free eggs $2,6
    Organic eggs $3,5
    Plant-based eggs $3,5

    The options on the supermarket shelves after welfare campaigns:
    Eggs  (these are cage-free eggs with the pictures of happy hens on the packaging) $2,6
    Organic eggs $3,5
    Plant-based eggs $3,5
Answer by emre kaplanMar 03, 202373

B12, iron and vitamin-D deficiencies are quite common among general population, even more so among vegans. I would suggest you to have a blood test for those.

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