Assistant professor of economics at the University of Oklahoma. Interested in macro-welfare economics; animal agriculture; population ethics; etc.
Thank you for taking the time -- and having the courage -- to write this. I appreciate learning about others' experiences from personal accounts.
I haven't yet dug into the details, but I am very much looking forward to doing so. Thanks for doing great work and sharing it here!
Hi! I agree with basically everything written here, in particular about their lives probably not being worth living. My sense is that this depends less on differences in intensity of experiences across species, which makes it a useful starting point for my thinking. I admittedly know less about on-the-ground conditions than activists in this area, but if their lives are void of good experiences, and include at least some subjectively bad ones, its hard to come up with a rationale for how they could have worthwhile lives.
So, conditional on focusing on near-term problems, I think there is a very good case for prioritizing factory farming (and many EAs do!). I'm less certain about the longtermist point you make. If factory farming phases out eventually without EA effort (which seems likely to me), then your efforts aren't counterfactually ending an indefinite future of factory farming, just speeding this transition up. Preventing extinction or totalitarian lock-in really would create a counterfactual stream of goodness that's (approximately) indefinite. Though this also assumes the future is likely to be a stream of goodness, rather than badness; here's a related discussion on this point you might find useful.