Should We Try to Change Animal Welfare Laws in India or Taiwan?- Charity Entrepreneurship’s Approach Report

The following report is part of research conducted by Charity Entrepreneurship in 2019 looking into legal change as a potential approach used to implement asks.

The full report is available for download here.

In 2020 we will be following a new research process (details will be published soon).

Scope of research and description of the approach

Political advocacy is used widely by other social movements and corporations to gain leverage over key issues, but within the animal advocacy movement, this approach has mainly been used in more developed nations with initiatives such as Prop 12 in the animal advocacy movement view government campaigns as an important strategy to improve animal welfare in the long term [2]. Encoding welfare asks in the law has been used to build on the past success of corporate campaigns while avoiding some of the drawbacks of corporate campaigns such as recidivism [3]. Even so, this approach for affecting change is currently relatively uncommon, with only 8 of Animal Charity Evaluators’ 20 reviewed organizations working on governmental outreach (where governmental outreach is broadly defined as lobbying), and even this is in a limited capacity (combined they spent 19.4% of their budget [4] (note that this estimate from ACE doesn’t include spending on Prop 12 [1])).

Of the countries examined in our priority country analysis [5] and crucial considerations research [6], Taiwan and India seemed particularly promising, as they have had a relatively large and growing farmed animal population compared to funding and appear to be more open to influence on this issue.

In this report, the expected cost-effectiveness of a new government campaign in Taiwan and India is estimated. In Taiwan the campaign is for dissolved oxygen for farmed fish, and in India the campaign is for feed fortification for egg-laying hens. These welfare asks were chosen as they were found to be promising in Charity Entrepreneurship’s previous research into improving environmental conditions for farmed animals [7] and helping animals by changing their diet [8]. We are focusing on fish in Taiwan due to its high levels of production and consumption of fish [9], and we are focusing on egg-laying hens in India as India is reportedly the third-largest and fastest-growing egg producer in the world, with the industry growing at 6%–8% per year [10]. As this approach has been relatively neglected so far, there isn’t much research into its effectiveness, so we used a broad evidence base to try to get the best sense of the whole picture. To do this, we have examined the size of the effect and the historical success rate of bills and referendums in the country.

Table of contents


The current data suggest that a governmental campaign for a dissolved oxygen bill for farmed fish in Taiwan looks like a relatively promising, cost-effective intervention for improving farmed animal welfare. It also appears that a governmental campaign for food fortification in India is one of the less cost-effective interventions for animals that Charity Entrepreneurship has researched. Our subjective confidence that this conclusion is correct is ~70%. For comparison, a well-executed government campaign in Taiwan is expected to be moderately less, or equally as cost-effective as launching a new corporate outreach campaign concerning a priority ask in a priority country (where launching a corporate campaign for DO in Vietnam [97] is used as the direct point of comparison), whereas a government campaign in India is expected to be less cost-effective than launching a new corporate outreach campaign. Although this is a useful comparison, we are less certain about the relative cost-effectiveness of this intervention compared to corporate outreach.