If you care for animals and want to reduce their suffering, but are not sure how, Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) can help you. California Nonprofit Publishes Annual Guide to Recommended Animal Charities and Has Just Released list for this year… (Disclosure: ACE helped fund some of Future Perfect’s work in 2020 and 2021.)
Two of the three largest charities are focused on improving conditions on industrial farms – which makes sense given that they are the targets of massive suffering. Not only death happens there – only in the USA industrial agriculture kills about 10 billion land animals every year – but the suffering that animals have to endure while they are alive. Chickens, calves and pigs are often kept in such small spaces. they can hardly moveand the conditions are so abhorrent that there are “ah-gag” laws to hide the brutality from the public.
When we hear about some of these conditions – for example, chickens are forced to produce eggs at such a high rate that they the intestines sometimes partially prolapse energized – we might want to put an end to them. But it can be difficult to know which charities are actually using our dollars effectively.
ACE researches and promotes the most effective and efficient ways to help animals. Group An organization uses three main criteria when deciding on a recommendation, as my colleague Kelsey Piper previously explained:
- Charity should be “likely to benefit the animals most”- that is, they are doing important work, and they have evidence to support it.
- Charitable organizations should “actively evaluate and improve their programs“- they are constantly trying to find the most effective way to protect animal rights (which may change over time) and adjust their programs accordingly.
- Charities must “demonstrate a clear need for additional funding” – they actually need more money to reach everyone they know how to reach (which is not the case for every charity).
With this in mind, ACE has selected three of its top charities for 2021:
1) Faunalitics: This American non-profit a bit meta in his approach to animal welfare: he conducts and publishes independent research, mainly related to farmed animals, with the aim of making other animal advocates more effective and evidence-based.
For example, he investigates social psychology data how to influence public opinion about animals in a way that actually leads to behavior change. ACE notes that advocacy research is an overlooked intervention and writes: “Faunalysis programs support the animal welfare movement by researching effective advocacy strategies, problem areas and tactics, and providing advocates with a carefully curated database of academic research abstracts.”
2) Humane league: Founded in 2005, this organization currently works in the USA, Mexico, UK and Japan. He has been running successful campaigns urging corporations to adopt higher animal welfare standards. He worked to end the use of battery compartments internationally and improve conditions for chickens raised for meat. He also conducts legislative protection at the grassroots level. It’s important to note that The Humane League has a fact-based perspective, collecting and using data to guide its approach, and testing new ways to improve its programs.
3) Wildlife Initiative: As my colleague Dylan Matthews has documented, this group is doing something unique: researching and advocating for ways to help wild animals… Rather than focusing on animal welfare in industrial farms, it focuses on the welfare of free animals, from birds to raccoons to insects. it studies questions such as: What animals are capable of subjective experiences? What is their quality of life in the wild? How can we help them safely and reliably?
ACE also named several outstanding charities – organizations that it said perform well, although they did not make the top three – for example, xiaobuVEGAN, a Chinese organization that seeks to reduce the suffering of farm animals and increase the availability of animal-free products in China, and Federation of Animal Welfare Organizations of India, which pursues similar goals in India. It’s nice to see a spin-off of such non-American bands given that, as Mark Gunther explained at Vox, the vast majority of farm animals are found outside the US and EU.
By making a donation to one of the charities listed above, you can be confident that your money will be used effectively to minimize animal suffering. And if you are not sure which one you want to donate, you can transfer Recommended charitable foundation and give ACE the power to allocate money based on what they research is most efficient at the moment.
Is it wrong to worry about animals when so many people are suffering?
Americans are increasingly concerned about animal welfare. The incredibly rapid proliferation of plant-based meat products like the Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meat is partly due to a growing sense that we can and should cause far less suffering to animals.
2015 g. Gallup poll found that 62 percent of Americans said the animals deserved legal protection. Another 32 percent – almost a third – expressed an even stronger stance in favor of animals, saying they believed animals should have the same rights as humans. In 2008, only 25 percent expressed this opinion.
It seems that more and more Americans are beginning to view animals as part of our moral circle, an imaginary boundary we draw around those we deem worthy of ethical consideration.
Some people, however, react to this with a bout of “what about this?”: What about pressing human problems like pandemic and poverty? This objection is usually based on the feeling that we cannot afford to “waste” compassion on animal suffering, because every bit of care we give to this cause means that we have less opportunity to devote to human suffering.
But as Ezra Klein wrote, research from Harvard’s Yon Soo Park and Benjamin Valentino from Dartmouth have shown that concern for human suffering and concern for animal suffering is not zero sum – in fact, when you find one, you tend to find another:
In one half of the study, they used data from the General Social Survey to find out whether people who support animal rights were more likely to support various human rights – a test of whether abstract compassion is zero-sum. They then compared how strict the animal laws were in individual states to how strong the laws protected people – testing whether political activity was zero sum.
In both cases, the answer is that compassion breeds compassion. According to the authors, people who strongly supported government aid for the sick “were 80 percent more supportive of animal rights than those who strongly opposed it.” write down… The conclusion persisted even after taking into account factors such as political ideology. Support for animal rights was also correlated – although the effect size was smaller – with support for LGBT people, racial and ethnic minorities, illegal immigrants, and low-income people.
Likewise, the states that have done the most to protect animal rights have also done more to protect and expand human rights. States with strong laws protecting LGBT people, strong protections against hate crimes, and inclusive policies against illegal immigrants are much more likely to have strong animal protections.
Why these correlations exist is a matter of debate, but the bottom line is that we better hope that our society will take action on animal suffering: if it does, we are more likely to see how it takes action on human suffering. …