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I think it's right to at least be open minded about the possibility that their lives might be generally good, all things considered.

To answer your question: insects don't have hearts because they don't have blood. Oxygen is transported to their cells by many tiny tubes (tracheae) extending from holes (spiracles) all over their thorax and abdomen.

I suppose I agree with this. And I've been mulling over why it still seems like the wrong way to think about it to me, and I think it's that I find it rather short-termist. In the short term if farms shut down they might be replaced with nature, with even less happy animals, it's true. But in the long term opposing speciesism is the only way to achieve a world with happy beings. Clearly the kinds of farms @NickLaing is talking about, with lives worth living but still pretty miserable, are not optimal. Figuring out whether they are worth living or not seems only relevant to trying to reduce suffering in the short term, but not so much in the long term, because in the long term this isn't what we want anyway.

"but it seems important for my own decision making and for standing on solid ground while talking with others about animal suffering."

I'm highly skeptical of this - why do you think it is important for your own moral decision making? It seems to me that whether farmed animals lives are worth living or not is irrelevant - either way we should try to improve their conditions, and the best ways of doing that seem to be: a boycott & political pressure (I would argue that the two work well together).

By analogy, no one raises the question of whether the lives of people living in extreme poverty, or working in sweatshops and so on, are worth living, because it's simply irrelevant.

This new organization looks very interesting, but I think that it would be good to provide more information about it. I expect applicants might want answers to questions such as:

  • What is the Insect Institute's general strategy? What is it hoping to achieve?
  • (Expanding on the above) does the Insect Institute aim to improve insect welfare, or to oppose insect farming, or just to provide information (as the website text states)? This question was asked on a separate forum post, and I think it would be better if the answer was given to anyone reading the forum.
  • Does it take a particular position on the sentience of insects?
  • How does the organization intend to achieve its goals? Is it planning to scale up, or work with others in the animal welfare space?

I hope this is of some help in finding a good candidate!