Every year tens of billions of animals are raised in terrible conditions in factory farms before being killed for human consumption. Despite the enormous scale of suffering this causes, the issue is largely neglected, with only about $50 million dollars spent each year tackling the problem globally.
Over the last two years Lewis Bollard – Project Officer for Farm Animal Welfare at Open Philanthropy – has conducted extensive research into the best ways to eliminate animal suffering in farms as soon as possible.
This has resulted in $30 million in grants, making Open Philanthropy one of the largest funders in the area.
Our conversation covers almost every approach being taken, which ones work, how individuals can best contribute through their careers, as well as:
- How young people can set themselves up to contribute to scientific research into meat alternatives
- How genetic manipulation of chickens has caused them to suffer much more than their ancestors, but could also be used to make them better off
- Why Lewis is skeptical of vegan advocacy
- Open Phil’s grants to improve animal welfare in China, India and South America
- Why Lewis thinks insect farming would be worse than the status quo, and whether we should look for ‘humane’ insecticides
- Why Lewis doubts that much can be done to tackle factory farming through legal advocacy or electoral politics
- Which species of farm animals is best to focus on first
- Whether fish and crustaceans are conscious, and if so what can be done for them
- Many other issues
Listening to this episode is among the fastest ways to get up to speed on how animals are mistreated and the best ways to help them.