I’ve enjoyed reading your work occasionally throughout the year—interesting stuff.
As a general point, posts like this push back against the seeming increasingly popular narrative that EA isn’t funding constrained right now. Or more specifically, this post speaks to the fact that we can have a load of money but not be distributing it adequately to all the small non-profits (like SI) that could make good use of it.
Fish Welfare Initiative is now live on every.com! Thanks @WilliamKiely for making us aware of this opportunity.https://www.every.org/fishwelfareinitiative/f/improve-the-welfare-of-farmed-fish-in-india
Do the fund managers ever do fun things together?? :)
What are your favorite productivity tips?
What books do you most recommend for someone looking to spend their career fighting for animals?
The recent grantees are very welfare-reform heavy, and there are relatively few organizations here who are taking an abolitionist approach (even though many, like THL, advocate achieving abolition through welfare reforms). This portfolio of grantees is fairly common in EA giving: Welfare reform organizations are invested in very heavily right now (for which they’re all very grateful :).
I sometimes get concerned though that our movement puts too great of confidence in incremental welfare reforms as like “the best thing”, thus stifling innovation. I feel this in our work at our organization, where I feel some pressure to always have numbers of the number of animals we’re helping. While I think this pressure is often good in our case, I recognize that very popular focus on “number of animals helped” leads certain approaches (e.g. more activist-style abolitionist approaches) to look less promising than they actually are, as these approaches do not easily lend themselves to such calculations.
So I sometimes worry that the EA side of the animal rights movement (and also the AR movement more generally, though to a lesser extent) has reached a sort of local optimum with welfare reform work: It’s pretty good right now, but we’re investing in it so heavily that talent and funds that would otherwise fund more experimental work goes towards work that is tried and true. Donors and talented people see all the funding going into this space, and I can only expect that some of them assume that this is just the approach that has been decided on to be best, so why bother with anything less effective?
So my first question is: To what extent do you worry that we’re underinvesting in approaches outside of incremental welfare reform work right now?
And my second, related question is this: Going back to the approach of using welfare reforms as avenue to ultimately reach abolition (e.g.), presumably if this strategy works we’ll be shifting our resources to focus more directly on abolition and less on welfare reforms at some point. Do you have any sense for when (if not now) we might reach that point where it makes more sense to invest in more abolitionist approaches?
Note that by abolitionist approaches, I mean things like plant-based/alt meat engineering and advocacy, banning the sale of certain types of animal products, giving animals legal rights against being exploited, etc. Vegans of Shanghai fall into this category, as do many orgs that that are more on the grassroots side of things (eg DXE, AV).
What approaches or ideas do you wish the animal welfare fund would have invested more heavily in sooner?
Do you think industrial factory farming will ever end? If so, when do you think it will?
By end I mean something like there are like 95% fewer animals being farmed, and the ones that are farmed are farmed in more natural, extensive system (e.g. pastures or extensive fish ponds).
And do you think animal farming will ever end? If so, when do you think it will?
Are there ideas or approaches that you would have liked to seen receive funding, but where there weren’t any or sufficiently strong enough proposals?More generally, what do you think our movement is neglecting right now?
Thanks for this post!I shared it in a slack group, and someone asked the following question:Hi, I’m a little unclear regarding the impact of donations for the oxygen cylinders versus focused Social Media / lobbying efforts to thank and encourage medical gas companies such as Air Liquide to do more to help out. My inclination is lobbying could be much higher leverage than donations; what do you think?
I understand the question to be about the value of taking action/volunteering vs. the value of donating (noting that we can do both).Do you have an opinion on the impact of this sort of action?
Could you please rename Fish Welfare Initiative? Initiative is also really hard to spell.
Thanks so much alexrjl! I sent you a private message
I think it’s good to have a balance.
It’s about balancing the ad to appeal to both A) really talented/good fit people who may have other options but are more likely to apply if they see they check a ton of boxes, and B) the talented but less apparently a great fit applicants (which you may want to cater to if you’re not finding enough of the first type, and also because the best applicants don’t always look that way on paper). And of course demographic/diversity reasons push the balance somewhat more towards B.
We did end up going with a few “requirements” and a longer list of “good to haves”, and I think that worked well. Will do again in the future.
For some reason we did not consider compensating them for their time (probably due to our generally tight startup budget), although we probably will in the future. Thanks for the suggestion!
Thanks for the advice! I think #3 in particular is important, as it’s easy for someone trying to be nice to cause even more issues by not being sufficiently clear or blunt
I think these are all valid points, and yeah the words are just stereotypes. Worth using caution with these sorts of simplistic decoders (but I still think they’re somewhat helpful). I think you could probably pay for a better one but I doubt that’s worth the money.
We did also ask people of different genders to review the ad before putting it out, and I definitely think that was worth the time cost.