Thank you for the feedback Brian!
1. Shrimp have a high suffering score because the suffering subscale measures hours lived on a farm to produce 2000 kcal of energy. Since shrimp are small you would have to eat a large number of small beings to gain 2000 kcal of energy. A beef cow’s carcass yield is over 200 kg so 2000 kcal worth of beef is just a fraction of the yield.
If you turn off the “consider brain size” parameter you will see that the differences are even larger. This illustrates the concern of the small animal replacement problem: we might not be very certain if shrimp are sentient but if they are then eating shrimp would cause suffering to a huge number of animals. By expected disvalue it would make sense to avoid shrimp even if the probability of sentience is low.
There is currently no parameter for sentience probabilities. Brain size/neuron count weighting is the only proxy for this. Maybe a “sentience probability” adjustment would be useful as well?
2. The difference between caged hen egg and cage-free egg is sensitive to the “relative suffering intensity” parameter which is an informed opinion but not empirical data. It originates from an old version of Brian Tomasik’s similar analysis. You should change the scores for hens if you have reason to believe that the difference is greater.
Measuring the welfare of farm animals in different farming systems on a cardinal scale is very difficult and is discussed in Heather Browning’s PhD thesis which I linked in the post. I hope that this area develops further and in the future we have data and would not have to resort to beliefs anymore when adjusting this parameter.
3. Higher welfare egg production systems have lower production which means you need more birds and feed to produce the same amount of food. This partially negates both the welfare and climate benefits. Higher welfare systems also have more space per bird which increases heating and lighting costs. If I googled “cage free egg LCA” then the first result seemed like a useful discussion of the environmental impacts of different egg production systems.
Thanks for the tool, this post and these explanations. Perhaps, given how counter-intuitive the problem of shrimp suffering is for non-EAs, it’d be better to have a paragraph with some remarks about it on the front page, linking to the methodology section and to CE’s report on this area. Also, you could explicit that it does not account for by-catch in wild shrimp fishing (which is also a major source of harm).I notice that shrimp is usually consumed as a delicacy; unlike beef, it’s not going to be the main source of nutrients in the corresponding dish, and people will not consider the weight of the product necessary for 2000kcal. Thus, I wonder if it wouldn’t be interesting to have the option of disregarding the refweight parameter for computing the suffering score.
Thank you for the feedback Ramiro! Since people have asked so many questions about the results of this kind of analysis I was thinking about adding a FAQ section to the website. I could add the remarks about shrimp welfare there.User RandomEA suggested here that there should be an option to use the number of animals consumed as part of a common diet instead of the current animals-per-2000kcal logic. Would you consider that a good solution to the issue that shrimp is realistically a delicacy?