Lucas Lewit-Mendes


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Where are you donating in 2021, and why?

Thanks very much Saulius, that all makes sense! 

Happy new year! 

Where are you donating in 2021, and why?

Thanks for your reply Saulius! 

I wasn't sure if the 65 years (or 569,400 hours) per dollar already accounts for the number of hours lived in disabling/excruciating pain (as opposed to milder suffering)? 

To be more precise, if each hen lives for ~1.27 years (i.e. 11,125 hours), and a caged hen spends ~431 hours in disabling/excruciating pain, while an aviary hen spends ~156 hours in disabling/excruciating pain, I was thinking that the reduction in hours of suffering per dollar is actually 569400*(431-156)/11125 = 14,075  hours (or 1.6 years)? 

In other words, I was trying to account for the fact that only 275 hours of suffering are being averted rather than 11,125 hours per hen. However, am I missing something that is contained in your model? (Note: I wasn't sure if 65 years referred to hens or broilers, but the same sentiment would hold either way.)

As you note, this doesn't account for differences in productivity (It was really interesting to hear that cage-free productivity might increase with scale!). 

Thanks again for engaging in this discussion, and looking forward to hearing your reponse! 

Where are you donating in 2021, and why?

Thanks Saulius and Johannes! Sounds like these are both fantastic giving opportunities. 

Re the Welfare Footprint Project, my understanding is that we need these welfare estimates to calculate the effect of the Better Chicken Commitment (for example) on years of suffering averted, i.e. something like: 65 years of chicken life * (difference in hours per chicken life of disabling or excruciating pain between slower growing breeds and faster growing breeds / hours lived per chicken life). Is that the approach you would take Saulius? 

Johannes, thanks for linking that cost-effectiveness work, and looking forward to seeing further updates! 

Where are you donating in 2021, and why?

I am continuing monthly donations to The Humane League, as I think their past campaigns are likely to have been more cost-effective at averting suffering than GiveWell top charities, based on this report. I am also donating to GiveWell top charities as they are clearly the gold standard for global poverty. Finally, I allocate a smaller portion of my donations to the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), which I think could plausibly be more cost-effective given the vast costs of climate change, though I would like to see some attempt to quantify the cost-effectiveness of CATF's work. 

I am also considering swtiching some of these donations to StrongMinds, because I ultimately care most about happiness/suffering, but I am waiting to see if GiveWell provides updates in response to Happier Lives Institute's report

Open Thread: Winter 2021

Update - I just came across this article, which suggests that harvesting/pasture deaths are probably higher for beef than plants anyway, so it seems a pretty clear decision that being vegan is best in expectation! 

Concerns about AMF from GiveWell reading - Part 2

Hi JPHoughton, 

After looking at this a bit more closely, it appears that the % of funding to each country (rows 7,19) is actually purely arbitary GiveWell's most recent cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA). Hence, the 19% figure I quoted above is not meaningful. Apologies for my misleading comment.  

I suspect that this new approach of using arbitrary percentages reflects the complex question of "room for more funding" outlined in GiveWell's recent blog post. Nonetheless, my understanding is that the funding GiveWell actually allocated to AMF in 2020 was well within the $5000 cost per life saved range. 

Note also that DRC's program remains 12.7x cash in the most recent CEA (once development effects are included). 



Open Thread: Winter 2021

Thanks Charles for your thoughtful response. 

"Most informed people agree that beef and dairy cows live the best life of all factory farmed animals, more so than pigs, and much much more so than chickens. " 

I just wanted to note that I'm referring to 100% pasture fed lamb/beef. I think it's very unlikely that it's ethically permissable to eat factory farmed lamb/beef, even if it's less bad than eating chickens, etc. I'd also caution against eating dairy since calves and mothers show signs of sadness when separated, although each dairy cow produces a lot of dairy (as you noted). 

"I think you meant prevents painful deaths?"

Sorry, I probably could've worded this better, but my original wording was what I meant. My understanding is that crop cultivation for grains and beans causes painful wild animal deaths, but grass-fed cows/lamb do not eat crops and therefore, as far as I'm aware, do not cause wild animal deaths. 

I certainly agree with your conclusion that not eating factory farmed chicken, pork, and eggs (and probably also fish) is the most important step! But I'd still like to do the very best with my own consumption. 

Open Thread: Winter 2021

Hi everyone! 

I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on whether it is more ethical to eat 100% grass-fed beef/lamb from trusted suppliers in Australia (i.e. CCTV in slaughter houses and minimal transport) or more tofu/beans? 

The pros of tofu/beans are clearly that it does not require taking the life from a cow or lamb who wants to live (although note that it takes lots of meals  to cause the death of one cow), and also that it dramatically reduces carbon emissions. 

The pros of instead eating 100% grass-fed beef/lamb are that it may help me avoid causing wild animal suffering, since crop cultivation causes potentially painful animal deaths. Although, it is worth noting that these animals may counterfactually die painful deaths in the wild anyway, and eating crops could also reduce wild animal populations who may have net negative lives. Eating beef/lamb once or twice a week would make it somewhat easier to stay healthy and potentially be more productive, and would make my parents less concerned about my health. 

I am assuming that cows/lamb live a net neutral life, which seems to be a reasonable assumption for trusted suppliers. In terms of monetary cost, I think the cost of buying vitamin supplements is approximately cancelled out by the cost of buying meat. Also, I wouldn't eat any meat out of the house, so you can assume that the impact of my eating on my friends is irrelevant. 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! 


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