760 karmaJoined Oct 2014


What incredible altruism, despite the very difficult circumstances. They are truly a hero.

I teared up when I read this initially, and when I reread it.  Thank you so much for sharing.

Thanks for your engagement with the report!

One way to go is for animal protection to start advocating for a right bans at some point, yes. 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? A agree there is more of a natural flow towards ending all animal exploitation through abolitionist messaging.

I'm not too sure about historical parallels of social movements that for welfare reforms. That's an important question, think about that.

By and large, I think a lot of animal protectionism probably doesn't overall reinforce continued animal use (though some parts of it might do so to some extent). It seems like the evidence that I describe points to momentum rather than complacency here. I guess if mental picture of animal protectionism is someone like Temple Grandin or other people working in animal welfare science, this is less clear, but I'm including groups that are working on and asking for welfare reforms, even if they ultimately have abolitionist goals.

Ultimately, I'm not arguing against running some abolitionist campaigns, but I am arguing against views that this is the only way to go, and that other approaches are harmful.

Thanks for your thoughts on this!

I think there's a pretty good argument that animal protectionism demands the nonuse of animals in all cases when that use necessarily involves a significant amount of suffering, which represent almost all cases, and makes the remaining cases prohibitively expensive. I describe his pathway in the piece.

You could argue that this stronger animal protection view is not implied by current rhetoric,  but the idea is that you build momentum and work up to stronger asks.

Hi Enginar,


This is a very interesting post, thank you for writing it! It fits very well into the idea of megaprojects for animals, or ways of using additional funding, which may become increasingly relevant as more funding comes into EA.

I've been working on a report on improving wild caught fish welfare at Animal Ask and the report should be relatively soon. I certainly share your thoughts that smaller fish should be the priority.

I have some (not necessarily decisive) worries about how this fits into the long-term strategy of animal advocacy. As you say, it is not exactly moral advocacy (though we should acknowledge that sometimes changing attitudes follows as a result of welfare improvements). I think moral advocacy is important not just for the current animal welfare ask, but for enabling future asks, so this seems less desirable from the perspective.

Thanks so much for writing this! It's really good to hear from other members of the community who have struggled with this. It sounds like there are a lot of shared elements, and I think talking about it openly makes it easier for other people to do so. It's certainly been easier for me to bring up my imposter syndrome now that it's widely understood to be a problem in the community and bringing it up helps with recovering from it. 


Some things I find are helping in my case:

- Getting a lot of feedback. I find that my doubts flourish and grow in "the gaps" when I don't have much feedback. I sort of automatically convince myself that my work is terrible unless there is good positive evidence that it isn't, to reducing the situations where this can happen has been very valuable. This includes what you said about being more open with things like first drafts and the amount of time I spend on tasks. It's difficult because you reflexively want to avoid doing this when you have imposter syndrome because you don't want to be "found out". So imposter syndrome blocks off its own solution.  

– Paying special attention to positive feedback to increase its salience and make it more difficult to rationalize away.

– Psychotherapy for guidance during this process.

Hi James,

Thanks for your deep engagement with the report and thoughtful comment! No, it didn't come across as blunt or rude or anything! :)

I was thinking of something closer to a vegan outreach campaign that was optimized for delegitimizing the industry when I wrote that. We did write that we think that its an institutional focus is more effective, and perhaps its abolitionist focus too, though veganism can also be framed in that way. Perhaps the report should have talked more about how other types of animal  campaigns can (and should) leverage the stigmatization process. 

I don't think veganism is really a quiet act of omission. Generally quite a few other people will come to know that you are vegan and veganism gets plenty of popular press. I don't think this would be happening if there were much fewer vegans. Maybe if veganism only involved dietary choices, but that's not what you're getting with vegan outreach, unless you're really leading with the health arguments. Having said that, I agree that it looks like divestment is better at getting press, though hard to say exactly. We did cite that as the strongest reason for engaging in divestment.

It does still seem to be like basically all animal advocacy campaigns involve stigmatization to some significant extent. It's not much of a jump from meat is immoral to the companies that are creating it are immoral. Legislative campaigns also involve pointing out serious inadequacies in the industry practice that need to be reformed, though the message may not be as strong here.

I think there is something to the idea that divestment hits closer to the pocketbook with the stigmatization that it brings, though I'm not convinced that that makes up for the paucity of direct effects.

I do think there should be people trying divestment in the animal advocacy context and seeing how it goes, but unless the results proved us wrong, based on the arguments in this report, I wouldn't recommend a big shift of resources towards it.

It's great to see the subject getting attention!

Getting plenty of honest – but understanding and contextualized – feedback has been particularly useful for me in dealing with imposter syndrome. It lets me worry less that I'm actually making tons of errors but they aren't being caught or that my managers are just being nice about it. It's a counterintuitive thing, so it was great to see it covered in this article.

This is a topical discussion topic in the movement. See this discussion for example:

Really looking forward to your articles!

It seems like you have a good strategy for producing high-quality articles (and particularly happy you'll be ordering by effect size).

It must be gorgeous, and definitely appealing, but isn't it in the top ten for murder rate per captita?

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