Moderate Versus Radical NGOs

Link post

This is a useful article by Romain Espinosa and Nicolas Treich comparing radical and moderate messaging in animal advocacy. My personal bias: The messaging of my organisation would count as moderate.

Abstract and a few tables:

“NGOs often vary in terms of how radical they are. In this paper, we explore the effectiveness of NGO discourses in bringing about social change. We focus on animal advocacy: welfarist NGOs primarily seek to improve the conditions in which animals are raised and reduce meat consumption, whereas abolitionist NGOs categorically reject animal use and call for a vegan society. We design an experiment to study the respective impact of welfarist and abolitionist discourses on participants’ beliefs regarding pro-meat justifications and their actions, namely their propensity to engage in the short run in animal welfare (charity donation, petition against intensive farming) and plant-based diets (subscription to a newsletter promoting plant-based diets, petition supporting vegetarian meals). We first show that both welfarist and abolitionist discourses significantly undermine participants’ pro-meat justifications. Second, the welfarist discourse does not significantly affect participants’ actions, although we detect a potential backlash effect of the abolitionist discourse. We show that the NGOs’ positive standard effect on actions through the change in beliefs is outweighed by a negative behavioral response to the discourses (reactance effect). Last, greater public-good contributions are associated with greater engagement in animal welfare in the presence of an NGO discourse.”