In March 2019, Open Cages UK ran a poll through YouGov as part of their #TescoTruth campaign. The poll had 2,049 respondents. The results may be directly useful for other UK advocates for informing campaign strategy and messaging decisions. They may be of interest more widely, but the questions may be too specific to be of much direct use to advocates in other countries.
Thanks to Connor Jackson and Open Cages for running the poll and sharing its results.
You can see the full results here.
In one question, “Generally speaking, which, if any, of the following are/would be important to you when purchasing meat from a supermarket?” participants could select as many options as they liked. Only 25% of respondents selected either “none of these” or “don’t know,” with between 44% and 60% of respondents selecting various included welfare considerations.
Only 30% selected the option “That the animal’s life was as long as possible,” which was substantially lower than the next lowest option. From a utilitarian perspective, if animals are suffering badly, as it seems likely that factory farmed broiler chickens are, then extending their life is morally undesirable. However, this point feels slightly counterintuitive and I would have expected the numbers of people selecting this option to be similar or higher than other options.
Three other questions were asked:
- Only 19% agreed with the statement: “Supermarkets are honest about the welfare of the chickens they sell.” It is unclear whether this reflects a general distrust of supermarkets or distrust of supermarkets specifically on farmed animal issues. In either case, it suggests that anti-industry messaging may find a receptive audience in the UK.
- 72% agreed with the statement: “When buying chicken, people should know if the chicken had a healthy life.”
- 44% agreed with the statement: “Selective breeding is good as long as the animals have no health problems.”
I can’t see many consistent demographic trends. Female respondents were slightly more supportive of the various animal asks, which is unsurprising. I am more surprised that there is a lack of strong, consistent trends in comparisons between certain variables that I would have expected to show them, such as London and the South compared to other areas, or older participants compared to younger participants. I don’t place much weight on this, however, because the questions are not all structured in a way that makes the pro-animal position clear: agreeing with the second question shows support for both “selective breeding” and animals having “no health problems” and agreeing with the fourth question may reflect distrust of supermarkets and companies in general, rather than on the issue of chicken welfare specifically.
Announcing the effective animal advocacy community directory!
This is a list of people who are interested in animal advocacy and effective altruism and would be happy for you to reach out to them to ask questions or arrange a 1-1. If you want to add yourself to this list you can fill out a form on the link in the top left.
The idea is to facilitate connections and networking. We recommend copying this sheet into your own drive to sort by particular columns (e.g. to find local advocates or sort by primary area of expertise/interest).
I hope you find it useful!
Link to fill out info: https://forms.gle/ZeboW4h22aBHN6S88
Suggested questions to use when reaching out to someone through the EAA directory: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1w2MUkRKc3cNVh3cTqv-Ni7WIZjlJ3-0WrFHptJIbrc8/edit?usp=sharing
Note, there are other directories that have partially overlapping purposes (e.g. https://eahub.org and https://researchfund.animalcharityevaluators.org/collaboration-directory/) although I expect that this is still sufficiently different to justify the time input.
Note, I may take a week or so to update the directory with everyone who enters their info, so expect it to be much more filled one week or so after this post!
At this link you can download a video of a talk I gave to Brooke, a horse welfare charity. The talk was intended to discuss some elements of EA that I thought would be useful to an animal organisation that doesn’t focus on farmed animals.
(Feedback on the content or delivery is very welcome! Drop me a message at email@example.com)
This is a new type of post, where every month, I send out an update with around 10 highlights of news articles and EAA posts that you might have missed. After today, I will only be sending these out by email, but since the mailing list is new, I am posting it here for the first time.
To sign up to future newsletters, and updates about new posts, sign up here.
But Can They Suffer posts:
Book review: Neil Rackham (1995) SPIN Selling (Gower Publishing Limited: Aldershot)
Effective Altruism or Effective Animal Advocacy posts:
- A new career path recommendation – becoming a China specialist (80,000 Hours)
- A useful deep-dive into the cost effectiveness of The Humane League’s cost effectiveness (Avi Norowitz)
Other interesting news:
- France has banned labelling which refers to meat alternatives as meat. This opinion piece suggests that the ban might force creative marketing in plant-based meat; is there something to be said for pushing plant-based products to innovate and move away from mimicry of meat, whilst pinning our hopes on direct replacements on clean meat? (Plant-based News)
- Meanwhile, GFI continues to fight against similar efforts in the USA (GFI)
- A survey suggests a much more favourable consumer response to the term “plant-based” than vegan (Food Navigator)
- The UK has introduced an ivory ban. Although this might seem like a way to distract from the issue of factory farming (people focus on issues that affect a small number of animals, which are easier to empathise with), it suggests that total bans on animal products are possible. Perhaps the next step will be fur – this is certainly something that Open Cages, PETA and others are campaigning for. Who knows what would follow after that? (Plant-based News)
- An amusing article which confuses correlation and causation, and therefore claims that Instagram is “THE SURPRISING REASON WHY VEGANISM IS NOW MAINSTREAM” (The Independent)
- A new plant-based meat company, launched by GFI’s previous senior scientist, is experimenting with production technologies (GFI)
- I continue to have discussions with people about impact investing, but I continue to feel pessimistic about the opportunities arising from it, since looking into the topic for my post in March. See this article which assumes that impact investing is positive. (Plant-based News)
- Two examples of UK mainstream media coverage of EAA topics – BBC newsnight on clean meat and BBC’s Countryfile on Animal Equality undercover investigationsBBC’s Countryfile on Animal Equality undercover investigations
I created these resources with the intention that other Effective Altruism / Effective Animal Advocacy local groups could use them to run their own workshops, as well as using them myself.
The “cause prioritisation cards”, combined with the powerpoint, are themselves useful for those new to Effective Animal Advocacy to read through and use.
Download the full set of resources here.
I created and ran an Animal Charities giving game with Effective Animal Altruism London in July 2017.
I have designed the slides, materials and instructions with the explicit intention that anybody could use/modify/deliver the resources and session easily. They should be self-explanatory. They could also be used as the basis/model for a Giving Game on any other topic.
There are also some fairly detailed reflections on the effectiveness of the event for the specific context of using the Giving Game with a local EA group on there, but these resources could be used in other contexts too.
Conclusion: The giving game was enjoyable and personally useful for many of the participants, but in the specific context, a workshop would probably be more useful, and to do much good in terms of spreading EA ideas, it would have to be delivered to a different group (or marketed in a sufficiently different way to attract a different group of attendees).
Feel free to download, adapt, share, whatever is most beneficial for you.
This document is intended to be a work-in-progress list, as a starting point for anybody who is just beginning to consider what they can do to reduce animal suffering effectively.
It arose from the feeling that I was encountering vegans, vegetarians (and others) who wanted to hear ideas about what they could do to help animals more, and so I decided to gather my recommendations in one place.
If you have any suggestions for additions I could make, please do contact me!