All of haven's Comments + Replies

Fish Welfare Initiative: The 2.5 Year Retrospective

You're very kind Andres. We're very grateful for what SWP does as well!

FEM’s Research: What we learned about our audience and how best to reach them

Seeing people take an idea from scratch and go out into the world to implement it is one of the things that inspires me most about many people in EA. Props to you all for having the audacity to do this, and more importantly props for building one of the most promising early-stage NGOs this community has created

Sentience Institute 2021 End of Year Summary

I've enjoyed reading your work occasionally throughout the year—interesting stuff.

As a general point, posts like this push back against the seeming increasingly popular narrative that EA isn't funding constrained right now. Or more specifically, this post speaks to the fact that we can have a load of money but not be distributing it adequately to all the small non-profits (like SI) that could make good use of it.

Thanks, Haven. Yes, it could be a distribution issue. As noted to Max, we get quite a bit of funding, but each hiring round SI receives a large pool of very strong researcher applicants, and we would love to hire more of them. Also, our approach isn't very well-established in the cause areas of either longtermism or animal advocacy, and it can be particularly challenging to fundraise at the intersection of cause areas (as noted by New Harvest here []).
Make a $100 donation into $200 (or more)

Fish Welfare Initiative is now live on! Thanks @WilliamKiely for making us aware of this opportunity.

Animal Welfare Fund: Ask us anything!

Do the fund managers ever do fun things together?? :)

Unfortunately, not yet. Pandemic certainly makes it harder. I would be keen for an in-person meet up at some point! 

Also, I whole-heartedly blame Jonas for not enough fun. Readers are generally encouraged to please aggressively contact and petition him on our behalf about making things more fun :)

Animal Welfare Fund: Ask us anything!

What are your favorite productivity tips?

I made a doc [] on this a while ago! :) Here are my not very informed guesses at where some of the bigger possible productivity gains include: * Nailing the fundamentals [] * Doing the rights things rather than doing any old thing efficiently [] * Reflective Practice [] * Establishing Productive Habits [] * Task Management Systems [] Also, recommend Lynette Bye's interview with Lewis on this [] .
Animal Welfare Fund: Ask us anything!

What books do you most recommend for someone looking to spend their career fighting for animals?

We think that this list on EA Forum hits some of the best-written works to date. For books, specifically, here are some that we’d recommend: 

... (read more)
Animal Welfare Fund: Ask us anything!

The recent grantees are very welfare-reform heavy, and there are relatively few organizations here who are taking an abolitionist approach (even though many, like THL, advocate achieving abolition through welfare reforms). This portfolio of grantees is fairly common in EA giving: Welfare reform organizations are invested in very heavily right now (for which they're all very grateful :).

I sometimes get concerned though that our movement puts too great of confidence in incremental welfare reforms as like "the best thing", thus stifling innovation. I feel thi... (read more)

> To what extent do you worry that we're underinvesting in approaches outside of incremental welfare reform work right now? Hmmm… I think it is fair to say that this isn’t in my top-tier of worries. Some things that inform that take are: * Some other major funders, that I am aware of through FAF, focus more on non-incremental welfare stuff but at the same time seem aligned with some principles of EA * As other funders focus more on it, the movement as a whole seems to adequately experiment with and explore some things that look promising from that perspective. E.g., I have been somewhat interested in institutional meat reduction work, or on more generalized field-building stuff, and some documentary efforts. * Even within EA aligned funders/ orgs a significant amount of that focused on alt-proteins. * Underappreciated but welfare stuff should increase price which can be useful for longer term decreases in demand * A decent number of the now welfaristy groups seem interested in doing some more abolitionist things, but we just haven’t identified much with a proven track record outside of corporate welfare reforms right now. If we were, I would expect them to be interested in doing that. * I would add that under your definition we have historically funded some of those efforts abolitionist efforts, eg. Crustacean Compassion working on legal recognition of sentience of some crustacean, or legal ban on cages for eggs-laying hens are good examples of more "abolition-like" approaches that we still consider good opportunities. > Do you have any sense for when (if not now) we might reach that point where it makes more sense to invest in more abolitionist approaches? To some extent, this whole endeavor is like a multi-armed bandit []. Using that analogy, I feel across the movement we are adequately pulling on the abolitionist levers. But we are just yet to see much in terms
Animal Welfare Fund: Ask us anything!

What approaches or ideas do you wish the animal welfare fund would have invested more heavily in sooner?

To some extent, we are only able to work with what is available to grant to. And I think we have been pretty good at granting to things as soon as they’re ready. But we could probably have done more to get some projects/NGOs ready for grants. 

So the main thing that comes to mind when I think about this, is I think we probably should have started doing more active grantmaking sooner. That would look like us more actively trying to bring new promising projects into existence. And note that could be either through seeding new groups or having existing gr... (read more)

Animal Welfare Fund: Ask us anything!

Do you think industrial factory farming will ever end? If so, when do you think it will?

By end I mean something like there are like 95% fewer animals being farmed, and the ones that are farmed are farmed in more natural, extensive system (e.g. pastures or extensive fish ponds).


And do you think animal farming will ever end? If so, when do you think it will?

I would be pretty surprised if I was somehow resurrected, or otherwise able to observe, millions of years from now and factory farming was still happening! In terms of probabilistic predictions as to the chance that factory farming is still around x years from now, I think mine pretty roughly looks like some exponentially decaying function. If you want to model it [], I would put P0 at 1 and alpha at ~0.988. So, I’d guess there are decent chances forms of it are still around at the end of this century, but 200 years from now, I think there are pretty good chances that we will have ended it :)
Animal Welfare Fund: Ask us anything!

Are there ideas or approaches that you would have liked to seen receive funding, but where there weren't any or sufficiently strong enough proposals?

More generally, what do you think our movement is neglecting right now?

I would like to see more applications in the areas outlined in our RFP [] and I’d encourage anyone with interest in working on those topics to contact us. More generally, I would like to see far more people and funding engaged in this area. Of course, that’s really difficult to accomplish. Outside of that, I’m not sure I’d point to anything in particular.
Three charitable recommendations for COVID-19 in India

Thanks for this post!

I shared it in a slack group, and someone asked the following question:

Hi, I'm a little unclear regarding the impact of donations for the oxygen cylinders versus focused Social Media / lobbying efforts to thank and encourage medical gas companies such as Air Liquide to do more to help out. My inclination is lobbying could be much higher leverage than donations; what do you think?

I understand the question to be about the value of taking action/volunteering vs. the value of donating (noting that we can do both).

Do you have an opinion on the impact of this sort of action?

Really interesting point! I think the first thing I have to agree on is doing both is ideal, but if you need to pick, people should think about their comparative advantage. If you work with or know people at medical gas companies who could be convinced by your lobbying efforts, your time and resources are probably really effective when it comes to convincing them to supply here. The largest difficulty is certainly sourcing medical oxygen for hospital usage, and this is going to be really effective if it works out. If you have the ability to donate and earn to give, and can maybe tweet once about medical gas but don't have the ability or capacity to try to meet and convince higher-ups in the companies, then donating is probably better as a focus area.
Announcing "Naming What We Can"!

Could you please rename Fish Welfare Initiative? Initiative is also really hard to spell.

9Hollis Howe1y
We could embrace "intitiative," which I type at least twice a day.
4Guy Raveh1y
I would propose to unite all animal welfare orgs under one umbrella and call it HappyFarm [].

How about Caring Tuna? This would surely get support from Open Phil

Needed: Volunteer forecasters for Fish Welfare Initiative

Thanks so much alexrjl! I sent you a private message

Hiring Process and Takeaways from Fish Welfare Initiative

I think it's good to have a balance.

It's about balancing the ad to appeal to both A) really talented/good fit people who may have other options but are more likely to apply if they see they check a ton of boxes, and B) the talented but less apparently a great fit applicants (which you may want to cater to if you're not finding enough of the first type, and also because the best applicants don't always look that way on paper). And of course demographic/diversity reasons push the balance somewhat more towards B.

We did end up going with a few "requirements" and a longer list of "good to haves", and I think that worked well. Will do again in the future.

Hiring Process and Takeaways from Fish Welfare Initiative

For some reason we did not consider compensating them for their time (probably due to our generally tight startup budget), although we probably will in the future. Thanks for the suggestion!

You could still compensate them! I'm sure they would appreciate your reaching out with retrospective compensation, although obviously the signalling value to this set of applicants would be lost.
Hiring Process and Takeaways from Fish Welfare Initiative

Thanks for the advice! I think #3 in particular is important, as it's easy for someone trying to be nice to cause even more issues by not being sufficiently clear or blunt

Hiring Process and Takeaways from Fish Welfare Initiative

I think these are all valid points, and yeah the words are just stereotypes. Worth using caution with these sorts of simplistic decoders (but I still think they're somewhat helpful). I think you could probably pay for a better one but I doubt that's worth the money.

We did also ask people of different genders to review the ad before putting it out, and I definitely think that was worth the time cost.

Managed Honey Bee Welfare: Problems and Potential Interventions

Thanks for the report!

I'm interested in whether I should avoid honey consumption personally (and if so, how vocal I should be). Aside from the article you cited from Michael Greger, do you have an opinion or further evidence one way or the other on this?˙

1Jason Schukraft3y
Hi Haven! Thanks for the question. I don’t have an all-things-considered view on whether a given individual should avoid honey. It’s a complicated issue. Here are some thoughts: First, to simplify, I’ll assume that you only care about welfare and thus I’ll set any deontological considerations to the side. Next, you should ask yourself whether you think bees are likely to lead net-negative lives. The standard argument (note: I’m not endorsing the argument here) for the position that insects lead net-negative lives appeals to the fact that most insects have a huge number of young that don’t survive to adulthood. That’s not the case for honey bees. Juvenile mortality in honey bees is fairly low, probably no more than about 30%. Every colony has so-called ‘nurse bees’ that oversee feeding the larvae. That said, honey bees are hard workers their whole lives (aside from a small number of drones), and it’s not uncommon for beekeepers to claim that honey bees literally work themselves to death. Next, you should ask yourself what type of honey you’re considering eating. Bees thrive when colonies have plenty of space and access to a wide variety of natural forage. Bees suffer when they’re hauled hundreds of miles in cramped trucks then stuffed in monocultural, pesticide-ridden agricultural landscapes. In most regions, there are plenty of small, local honey producers that treat their bees well, or at least as well as you can if you’re in the honey business. There’s no general label for this type of honey, but it’s often called “wildflower honey.” If you’re unsure about how the honey is produced, you can sometimes find good information by browsing the producer’s website or, if you’re at a farmer’s market, talking to the beekeeper directly. Finally, you should ask yourself a number of consistency questions. Are you a vegan? Is it easier to keep to a vegan diet if you don’t carve exceptions for yourself? Is it easier to explain your dietary restrictions (and avoid charge of
Managed Honey Bee Welfare: Problems and Potential Interventions

Thanks for the report!

I'm interested in whether I should avoid honey consumption personally (and if so, how vocal I should be). Aside from the article you cited from Michael Greger, do you have an opinion or further evidence one way or the other on this?

Where are you donating this year and why – in 2019? Open thread for discussion.

Thanks Sam for mentioning us! I'm half the co-founding team of Fish Welfare Initiative (ie one of the fish people), and we are now looking for funding. If you're interested, you can check out our website or email me directly.

At the moment, we're looking to fill a roughly $30K funding gap to get us to June.

Announcement: early applications for Charity Entrepreneurship’s 2020 Incubation Program are now open!

I went through the program last year and found it useful (I'm now launching Fish Welfare Initiative). I'd be happy to talk with anyone if they have questions about what it's like on the inside

Ditto on this - I went through the program and am working on tobacco policy, happy to chat with folks who want to ask about what it's like

Introducing Fish Welfare Initiative

Hey, thanks for doing that Em! And we're currently not accepting public donations :)

UPDATE: We are now looking to fundraise to fill our funding gap until June, and would love to connect with donors who may be interested. Feel free to reach out to me at

Candidate Scoring System, Third Release

Thanks for this awesome tool! The links here are bringing me to a "This item might not exist or is no longer available" page. Is there a newer version published?

Yes, I am killing old files and now have just have a permanent link to the newest version. Sorry for the confusion. See here: []
Outreach to Farmers

John Oliver (the comedian) did this piece on chicken farming. It's the best attempt I know of to broadcast how terrible chicken farming is to the public, and completely stays away from animal welfare issues.