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Thank you for sharing so many thoughts. I encourage you to push further, and I'm intersted in talking or collaborating as well. I have been involved in different types of direct advocacy in the past and have been most active in recent years as a donor - primarily to groups I believe may move animal product alternatives forward and which are being overlooked by other donors.

One thing I've been curious about is whether doing explicit moral education is useful and in what mode. Animal Ethics is the group that comes to mind that seems to be doing the most of this, and most closely aligned with abolitionism. I mean, they seem to be delivering moral arguments at various levels - from academic to the street - and in different modes. My assumption is that helping to spread simply put, common sense arguments for animal rights will an important and necessary part of moving to abolition.

"My contributions in this section are to point out that as morally driven (and charity funded) advocates, our comparative advantage is to emphasise the moral arguments, and this could be more effective anyway."


I think this is spot-on, and I agree that moral advocacy is very much neglected.

My suggestion would be to have no process other than general social  sanctions. I don't think it makes sense to make any person or entity an authority over "effective altruism" any more than it would make sense to name a particular person or entity an authority over the appropriate use of "Christian" or "utilitarian".

I believe you're introducing a new kind of connection when you talk about usage of the heart-in-lightbulb image. I couldn't tell you who originally produced that image, but I assume it was connected to CEA. I agree that using an image with strong associations with a particular organization that created it might morally require someone to check in with the organization even if the image wasn't copyrighted.

I believe effective altruism benefits strongly from the push and pull of different thinkers and organizations as they debate its meaning and what's effective. Some stuff people do will seem obviously incongruous with the concept and in such cases it makes sense for people to express social disapproval (as has been done in the past).

Even if you think you have a good reason to use EA in your marketing, you should still get CEA's permission first.


I strongly disagree with the idea that CEA (or any person or entity) should have that kind of ownership over "effective altruism". It's not a brand, but a concept whose boundaries are negotiated by a wide variety of actors.

"I lead the Israeli community of Women in Data Science" and videos in Hebrew.  :-)

I'm not sure if you live in Israel - just seeing signs suggesting it on your website - but have you contacted The Modern Agriculture Foundation (https://www.modern-agriculture.org/)? I know they're in touch with many companies locally and may have ideas about funding locally as well.

If there were cost-efficient leverage points, it might be worth investing some amount of money and effort in.

A non-exhaustive list of semi-conjoint reasons:

  • One believes abortion is a grave moral wrong and a lot occur each year.
  • One doesn't believe abortion is a grave moral wrong, but assigns some weight to the view's correctness. Even assigning a 10% chance to the view's correctness still means a lot is potentially at stake.
  • There might be relatively easy ways to make a difference and have other positive, follow-on effects. For example, male contraceptives might make a big difference in reducing unintended pregnancies and my understanding (a few years old) is that there aren't many funders of relevant research. (I recognize that some people argue that the follow-on effects of other contraceptives like the pill are not fully positive and some believe they may even be negative.)
  • Abortion is ridiculously polarizing and seems to crowd out discussion of other important issues in politics. Maybe reducing its salience would help increase the ability to focus on other issues?
  • Obtaining an abortion imposes greater and greater costs in the US (financially, in time required, psychologically, health risks) as restrictions are rolled out.
  • The strategies engaged in by many pro-life advocates seem unlikely to significantly reduce abortion rates.
Answer by jasonk7

Has anyone associated with EA ever looked for leverage points for reducing the rate of abortion?

(I believe the answer is no, or at least it hasn't been published publicly.)

> Another possibility is that the industry is simply run into the ground through costly welfare reforms and competition through alternatives. Maybe this wouldn't remove all animal exploitation, and some animal products would still be demanded as a luxury good, but it would seem pretty significant if the reform path way could bring us that far, would you agree?

I agree that would be significant. I suppose I remain skeptical that costly welfare reforms are realistic and will go very far.


Thanks for explaining your points further. I appreciate the exchange!

Thank you for encouraging me to go back and re-read. I had missed several of your points when skimming yesterday.

I recall Erik Marcus making the case for what I believe he called "dismantlement theory" in his book "Meat Market" (2005). He essentially says that animal protectionists should engage in welfare campaigns that incrementally make animal use more expensive until it's discontinued.

To restate your description of the reform pathway, I believe you're saying that welfare campaigning could continue up to a point and then transition to asking for outright bans or rights recognition.

The abolitionist will argue that that the transition is not morally implied by animal protectionism. But I think you'd say that it is, provided that the continued animal use still involves a "significant amount of suffering"? I guess the thought is that there's a point where further welfare improvement (via cage size, enrichment, etc.) is no longer possible and that at this point animal protectionism will advocate for non-use, rather than continuing to advocate for further welfare improvements? I'm curious if there's any precedent for this. Assuming not, I'm curious what a concrete example of a transition would look like - what do we imagine the pathway actually looking like for egg laying hens for example.

Further the abolitionist will argue that animal protectionism is not practically conducive to the transition. So long as animal protectionism has reinforced the practice of animal use (morally, legally, institutionally), the paradigm of sufficiently humane animal use will persist. Animal protectionism will have to become something entirely other than the animal protectionism as it exists today to make the transition. In terms of precedent for this, I'm thinking of anti-abortionists who had advocated for incremental changes to abortion practices (waiting periods, different practices, clinic requirements) switching to advocacy for bans. While in such a case, at least some activists seem capable of the transition, it's less clear that a recognizable segment of the public is willing to follow suit (looking at polling).

This leaves me less optimistic about the reform/ask strategy and much more optimistic about a strategy which involves technological changes (i.e., substituting animal use) and moral persuasion around non-use to reinforce the switch.


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