All of vicky_cox's Comments + Replies

It is definitely difficult to do research into these areas where there is so much suffering involved, and as you mentioned it is often the areas of suffering that you just had no idea about that are the worst - learning a new way that animals suffer. It’s also important, of course, to make sure that these emotions don't bias us towards interventions that are more horrific but less tractable etc.

For me the most difficult thing I have had to research is the use of glue traps for rodents as I just didn’t know glue traps existed before doing this research and ... (read more)

6RachelM1mo
Thanks a lot, Vicky. It seems both empowering and humbling - "I'm helping to remove a lot of suffering from the world!" and also "There are so many beings I can't help!"

Hi - sorry for the belated response! 

For policy obviously the overall scale of the number of people/animals you can help is much bigger, but then we have to discount this based on the expected enforcement rate and also by the fact that we expect the overall probability of success of policy advocacy to be lower on average.

For the expected enforcement rate we look at existing enforcement rates of the policy in similar/neighbouring countries (if applicable) and the existing enforcement rates of similar policies (eg. when estimating the enforcement rate o... (read more)

Hi! Maybe I'm missing it but I can't seem to find the venue for this - where will it be? Thanks :) 

5Matildefameli2mo
hi Vicky, we recently announced it! The conference will take place at Postillion Hotel & Convention Centre WTC Rotterdam, Beursplein 37, Meent 110, 3011 AA Rotterdam

Hi Peter, thanks for your comment! 

I must admit I have not really thought about this before, but intuitively it still seems important to have appropriate road safety legislation like speed limits in place even if it is robocars following them rather than human drivers. In fact, I could see it as important to have appropriate speed limits in place before the introduction of robocars in case robocars are programmed to drive faster than is safe as a reflection of a too high speed limit.

I think the use of seat belts is still a good norm to have, even if r... (read more)

1PeterMcCluskey9mo
I expect speed limits to hinder the adoption of robocars, without improving any robocar-related safety. There's a simple way to make robocars err in the direction of excessive caution: hold the software company responsible for any crash it's involved in, unless it can prove someone else was unusually reckless. I expect some rule resembling that will be used. Having speed limits on top of that will cause problems, due to robocars having to drive slower than humans drive in practice (annoying both the passengers and other drivers), when it's safe for them to sometimes drive faster than humans. I'm unsure how important this effect will be. Ideally, robocars will be programmed to have more complex rules about maximum speed than current laws are designed to handle.

Hey Devon, thanks for your comment!

As you can see above, Larks raised a similar concern in their comment. After a quick Google search, I have found some data on this from the UK - "Each 1 mph reduction in average traffic speed costs the UK economy in excess of £1Bn in lost productivity through extended journey times" (https://www.abd.org.uk/press-release-hes-proposed-motorway-speed-limit-reduction-to-60mph-borders-on-economic-vandalism/). This suggests the impact could be quite significant and could give us reason to reduce the economic impacts that are cu... (read more)

Hi, thanks for your comment and apologies for the somewhat belated response! 

On increasing travel times - yeah I think this is a really interesting point and something that we didn't consider when modeling the CEA. I think it may be best to discount the income effects of this intervention as a result of this. After a quick Google search, I have found some data on this from the UK - "Each 1 mph reduction in average traffic speed costs the UK economy in excess of £1Bn in lost productivity through extended journey times" (https://www.abd.org.uk/press-rel... (read more)

Hi Clare - thanks for your response! Yeah, I do think enforcement really is the main concern for this intervention, and the experts we spoke with also mentioned that bribes are common in the areas where they have worked (mainly Sub-Saharan Africa).

As mentioned in the report we have tried to somewhat get around this issue in our country selection by selecting countries that seem to have good enforcement of other road traffic safety laws (either from eg. the percentage seat-belt or helmet wearing rate or from the average rating given to the enforcement mecha... (read more)

To add to what Sam said - we are also planning on publishing the other health and development policy ideas that we did full, deep-dive reports on but didn't end up recommending on our website and at least one of these, our report on air quality, will also be published on the forum!

Apologies for the belated response, I missed this! 

The pitch for shrimp welfare would be similar to the pitch of invertebrate welfare in general where even if the case for shrimp sentience is weaker than the case for mammal, bird, and fish sentience, the expected value of helping shrimp might be higher than the expected value of helping mammals, birds, and fish due to the large scale of their suffering.  For example, fishcount estimate that 51-167 billion fish were slaughtered in 2017, and 210-530 billion shrimps and prawns were slaughtered. ... (read more)

As mentioned in comments above, yeah I agree with this but just assumed that all costs would be funded by donations to try and keep the CEA simple (modelling the cost effectiveness of a for-profit company ended up being more difficult than I thought it would be).

1. That is a good point, I did implicitly try and account for the probability of success when estimating the probability of the different potential scenarios (IF launch, we launch, both launch) in this model, but this was never done explicitly as its own factor. To account for this, we could multiply the expected impact by the expected probability of success (the average food start-up has a ~10% probability of success).

2. Yeah I agree that this would be more realistic, we just assumed that all funding would be donated to make the CEA simpler.

Hi Michael, sorry for the belated response.

You make a lot of interesting points in your comments, some of which I hadn't considered. As a general point before replying to any specifics, I found it really difficult to model a CEA for a for-profit company so this is definitely by no means perfect as I had to make a lot of weird assumptions to try and make it work, such as assuming that all of the funding would be donated by EA funds rather than met by investors etc. and that we wouldn't own any shares in the company.

I think you make a good point, t... (read more)

2MichaelStJules3y
Thanks for the responses! I think it's much more likely the company would fail anyway if most of its funding had to come from donations. It would be a bad sign if you couldn't get investors on board. And the fact that a company like this doesn't already exist doesn't mean that no one would invest in it. There are also groups whose investments focus largely on this space, and I'd guess you could get investment from them. These are three that I've come across without specifically looking: https://straydogcapital.com/ [https://straydogcapital.com/] (Sentience Institute is going to have them on their podcast, so it might be worth suggesting some questions to Jamie Harris) https://kbw-ventures.com/ [https://kbw-ventures.com/] https://newcropcapital.com/ [https://newcropcapital.com/] So, perhaps rather than displacing EA donations, you should think of their investments as displacing the average investment from one of these companies. If plant-based seafood in Asia happens to be at least an order of magnitude more cost-effective in its welfare impact than the average investment, then the opportunity costs of investment could basically be ignored. (However, ROI for the investors also matters, since it can allow them to do more impact investing, even if each investment has lower impact, or maybe they'll donate more. There's also the question of whether or not the investors donate to EAA charities or could be convinced to and to what extent, if any, their investments compete or could compete with donations.) If this was something CE wanted to pursue, it could start as a joint project between CE and GFI (with CE focused on selecting founders and training them on entrepreneurship generally?), and then it would be handed off to GFI and investors. Some funding could come from CE and GFI, but I'd expect it mostly to come from the investors, maybe almost all of it. It could also be worth reaching out to Scott Weathers, who had been thinking about something like this a coupl

Yeah this report was split between me doing research into feed fortification in India and George doing research into DO in Taiwan.

That's a good question, I don't think it was intentional - probably just the way we both went about modelling things. But I will leave George to answer that properly as to why he used log-normal.

2GeorgeBridgwater3y
I've slowly been updating towards lower expected WP returns to improved DO based on conversations I have had with Fish Welfare Initiative. It seem likely that more fish are in the lower end of welfare benefit for DO optimization because of the natural incentives that exist for farmers in regards to DO. Low DO levels increase mortality and fluctuation in air pressure can cause DO to plummet so farmers often use extra buffer. Therefore any fish suffering -40 WP from DO levels alone would probably die , I think log-normal best captures this. Thanks for pointing this out as i did not make it explicit in the report.

I think that both feed fortification and dissolved oxygen will increase costs for farmers as they will need to pay for the nutrients to supplement feed with or for the aeration equipment, so this could decrease supply and demand.

I do agree, though, that these interventions will improve yields, which as you say could increase supply and demand.

The problem is that I am unsure of the magnitudes of both of these effects so I don't know what the overall sign for the intervention would be. I think I would still lean towards it decreasing supply and demand overall, though, as I'm unsure of how much yields would improve but I am quite confident that costs of production will increase.

2MichaelStJules3y
It might be worth widening your distribution for the effects on supply/demand further into the negative and checking sensitivity to this value and the size of the welfare improvement for individuals. On further consideration, I'd imagine the effects of the welfare improvement will dominate the effects of change in number (as they do now), since they're a few orders of magnitude larger in absolute value, anyway. * For dissolved oxygen in Taiwan, it was 30 billion welfare points from the welfare improvement and 610 million welfare points from reduced supply/demand. * For feed fortification in India, 180 million welfare points from the welfare improvement and 60,000 welfare points from reduced supply/demand. So flipping the signs of the supply/demand effect wouldn't make much difference.

I'm unsure what FIAPO do for enforcement, but HSI/India try to improve enforcement by doing workshops with police departments in various states and districts to help them to understand and learn animal welfare laws and how they can implement them as they think that one of the big barriers to poor enforcement is that it is common for enforcement officers to not be aware of new policies.


I'm unsure about the impact of lobbying the government to spend more on enforcement, but I would be more excited about a charity which focuses on enforcement or gi... (read more)

Hi Michael,

You're right that the Faunalytics report didn't include Taiwan, but we used the results from Eastern China as a proxy to the attitudes in Taiwan as this was the best option available to us.

Hi Michael, thanks for your comment!

These are interesting ideas that could be worth considering, but you're definitely right that any interventions that work on a state-wide/nation-wide scale will be very difficult to enforce and this poor enforcement will likely be the limiting factor to the success of any intervention like this. I will make a note of these ideas, though, to have a look into when I next have the chance, thanks!