Interesting research. I first became aware of this issue from being involved in the animal welfare movement, specifically with small/“pocket” pets where sale of breeding “overstock” for reptile consumption is sadly common. Unfortunately, some people simply enjoy the spectacle of their pet consuming live prey. More generally, it’s part of the broader issue of carnivore pets in general—the meat produced for consumption by dogs and cats is likely to come from factory farms similar to those raising meat for human consumption, where conditions may be little better than those of the mice pictured here. This has led me to a personal decision to refrain from having non-vegetarian pets, and I know that other EAs have done likewise.
Depending on the level of government involved in making and/or enforcing animal welfare regulations, this sounds plausible even in a First World country. I’m from Australia, and while discovering major, overt bribery in the federal government would be a shocking scandal, a lot of bribery and corruption occurs in lower levels of government, particularly between businesses and local councils. It sounds like John_Maxwell_IV has stats on bribery in animal welfare organisations, and I’d definitely be interested to see those.
General vegan movement, including to a greater or lesser extent people becoming vegan for health, environmental, and/or animal suffering reasons
Left-wing people who are disillusioned with the prospects of/normally promoted avenues for systemic change or the ability to help people in other countries
People who are accustomed to donating money, e.g. for religious reasons: potentially a large demographic but may be hard to sway donations, though I have had some success introducing GiveWell to people who have left religion and are looking for secular charities
This is a great article! Given the extremely high cost and demanding debt structure of college in the US, do you think that those of us who are lucky enough to live in countries with free, cheap(er) or more easily paid-off college tuition, should remain in those countries at least for undergrad (while aiming for top world colleges if/when we do a PhD)?
Yes, it’s great. I was talking to some people about this topic on New Year’s Eve, wish I’d had this stat and the link to this article then!
I just saw this post and came onto this comment thread to post that (had the Amazon link open and everything)! I’m home living with family for the holidays and while moving my bookshelf a few days ago I came across ‘Children Just Like Me’. It led me down a whole pathway of reflections about how much I loved that book as a kid and whether it was something that prompted me toward EA values.
I must have read it at least half a dozen times as a child, as I can remember parts verbatim. I am so amazed that other EAs grew up reading it! Wow, this has made my day. I’m tempted to order a copy for my little cousin now.
This reminds me of a pretty excellent Simone de Beauvoir quote: “We must decide upon the opportuneness of an action and attempt to measure its effectiveness without knowing all the factors that are present.” (From The Ethics of Ambiguity) I quite like this quote, because I don’t interpret it as an argument against trying to measure and predict the consequences of an action, but rather, as an expression of the fact that uncertainty and incomplete information is a fact of life, and we must at some point act anyway rather than becoming paralysed by this. We should always be at least passively open to the possibility of new and unknown factors, and compassionate toward people (including our past selves) who have made mistakes or held views that turned out to be incorrect.