Giving Compass’ Take:
· In this talk from EA Global 2019: San Francisco, Leah Edgerton, executive director of Animal Charity Evaluators, provides a few strategies for animal advocacy to reduce short-term obstacles and gather better information and evidence in the long-term.
· How can collaboration help with effective animal advocacy? How does lack of evidence available impact advocacy within animal cause areas?
In this talk, Leah Edgerton, the executive director of Animal Charity Evaluators, describes the role of the EA movement in significantly increasing funding for animal welfare charities over the past four years. She considers EA’s uptick in influence alongside the difficulty animal welfare researchers encounter when attempting to measure impact. How, she asks, can we make good decisions about where to direct a growing amount of funding when we have so little evidence to guide us? She then shares how Animal Charity Evaluators is approaching this thorny question.
A transcript of her talk follows. We have lightly edited it for clarity.
I would like to start out today with a thought experiment. Imagine, several years from now, that effective altruism has become mainstream.
What changes would we expect to see? Would late-night sports broadcasts, instead of showing football matches, show prediction tournaments? Would hipsters, instead of wearing those faded Ramones t-shirts, walk around with faded Peter Singer t-shirts?
More seriously, though, how would we want the characteristics of our movement to change? Thinking on the margin is a very different exercise when we’re asking ourselves how to best spend less than 1% of a movement’s funding, compared to 10, 20, or 30% of a movement’s funding. This might seem like just a fun thought experiment or exercise, but it’s actually become somewhat of a reality for those of us working in the animal advocacy cause area.
Perhaps the most striking metric by which to track this change is by looking at the amount of funding that EAs have influenced within the farmed animal advocacy cause area. Let’s go back in time to 2014.
Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE), to my knowledge, was the only EA organization influencing funding within the animal advocacy cause area, and we moved just under $150,000 to our top charities that year. My best calculation puts our impact around something like 0.0015 to 0.003% of the movement’s funding — a pretty small amount.
Fast-forward to 2018 and we see a very different picture.
Read the full article about effective animal advocacy at Effective Altruism Forum.
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