The first impression though is that animal charities should be accepted as more effective until proven otherwise by some large positive AMF flow-through effect that outweighs saving a life (maybe reducing insect populations?) Until then it seems much more straightforward to donate to ACE charities, specifically the cage-free ones.
Utilitarianism is probably the biggest one
Good catch, I also don’t think the welfare improvement would be anywhere near a cage-free campaign, especially after reading that economic incentives part of your post. Unless you think the slaughter is really really bad, this probably isn’t a worthy cause area.
> How cost-effective could they be compared to other animal welfare interventions?
This is a hard one, but I’ll take a (crude) stab at it. Currently the best charity working on fish welfare is Albert Schweitzer (ace top charity). This 2016 guesstimate model of Albert Schweitzer shows a figure of 57 animals spared per dollar, but ~75% of these are chicks being spared from debeaking, which I think is too easy of a policy to implement compared to the oxygen/food problems that arise with fish welfare. The other 25% are cage-free hens which is probably closer to what we’re dealing with here, so I’ll assume it’s 14 animals per $. Albert Schweitzer chiefly works in Germany, where 34 million laying hens are killed annually, of which ~1 million were spared, or 3%. Before factoring in for the 10% welfare increase, this is 11 million hens annually that are cage-free because of them.
According to this graph, german fish production totals 313,000 metric tons per year, or about ~400 million Alaskan pollocks (most popular fish). With all the same variables as the hen campaign, that’s 4e8*.33*.1*5.5 (years of impact) = 7.3e7 or 73 million Pollocks spared over the course of 5 years. Assuming a a fish has the same worth of a chicken (less neurons but they also endure suffering for much longer on farms), that’s 73⁄11 = 6.6*14 = 92 fish spared per $. This pretty much blows every other animal charity out of the water (heh).
The dissolved oxygen comes from the nitrogen spike when overfeeding the fish, correct?
True, I still believe that making a toy model with made-up numbers is still better than not doing it at all.
Sure I’d be happy to discuss it more
I don’t think its enough to say they’re net negative because of r-selection though. Insect larvae probably have like 2 orders of magnitude less neurons and they might not even be conscious in the first place. Also I saw those welfare reports but really didn’t like them because they left out the duration of suffering which is a huge factor in how bad something is. A broiler chicken experiencing a moderate amount of stress for it’s entire life could be much much worse than it being boiled alive for a few seconds.
This is my welfare spreadsheet but I didn’t intend to share it so if you want citations for the numbers I can try to link them.
Has there been any explicit calculation actually done on whether wild animal lives are net positive or negative? Because I’ve done some myself and it seems to be positive, at least for microorganisms and insects which are the most populous by a large margin.
Also do you know where I can find the ACE models?
The charities I chose wasn’t a very principled decision, I just used the Givewell #1 (Malaria Consortium) and compared it to a couple other charities I thought could be more effective. The model is really just a basic attempt at comparing animal charities to human charities which is surprisingly something I haven’t seen anyone try yet. There’s also the utility number and duration of suffering I use to try to get a good grasp of how bad the life is for a chicken/fish