Animal Ethics plans for 2021

6 Jan 2021

In 2021 Animal Ethics’s work will focus on the following courses of action:

• Research that can make a near term impact in animal advocacy by informing campaigns or policy related to wild animals

• Research addressing broader issues with important although less immediate applications concerning wild animal suffering

• Research on foundational and unaddressed yet crucial questions concerning the moral consideration of nonhuman animals and animal advocacy

• Increasing the reach of our educational work about the situation of wild animals and how to help them

• Continuing to promote work on wild animal suffering in academia

• Further expanding our work internationally, focusing on Asia and Latin America

We plan to publish at least 70 new posts in all the languages we work in. These will include at least six reports and policy blueprints and 10 new papers. We also plan to publish up to 70 new audio recordings in all languages. In addition, we will publish new videos (the number will depend on the support we receive), give talks at conferences and events in different languages (at least one per month on average), and make hundreds of social media posts to reach as many of our more than 590,000 followers as possible. We also expect our website to reach 1,500 pages and posts in all languages, with a large part of this material appearing in languages where there is currently no other information available about wild animal suffering, the arguments against speciesism and longtermism in animal advocacy.

Below we specify in more detail the work we plan to do this year.


1. Research and publications

The following are the major studies we plan to publish. To increase our impact, some of the papers written by our team, or by academics collaborating with us, will be submitted to academic journals.

1.1. Applied issues

Interventions helping wild animals

In 2021 our major focus is on under-researched issues. The goal is to stimulate further work that will enable interventions to reduce wild animal suffering in the near future.

• A blueprint for a Brucellosis wild animal vaccination program focused in the Greater Yellowstone area that could gain the support of animal organizations and the general public

• A report about how to assess the welfare of marine animals in the wild and how to best reduce the harms of stranded cetaceans; the results of these studies can inform policies and protocols

• A case blueprint for a large herbivore contraception program that animal organizations would support and that can influence policy

• A post on wild animal population hormonal and antigen-based contraception

• A paper about how to help wild animals during floods, based on the existing experience in India

Broader considerations concerning wild animal suffering

Other texts we’ll publish will provide a better understanding of the importance of reducing wild animal suffering and ways to reduce it.

• A report about wild animal suffering based on data from animal care centers in Canada

• A paper about wild animal suffering in suburban, urban, and agricultural areas

• A post about new potentially promising wild animal vaccination programs

Strategy in animal advocacy

Other publications we plan to release this year will address how to make work in animal advocacy in general, and concerning wild animals in particular, more successful.

• A report about perspectives on animal advocacy work in China with a focus on wild animals

• A report about how to establish new fields of research in academia

• A paper about strategic considerations in work related to wild animals

1.2. Foundational questions

In addition to our work on applied questions, we will publish research on foundational issues concerning the moral consideration of animals that can inform key decisions in animal advocacy. The published results can also be used in education.

Longtermism

• A paper about population ethics applied to animal ethics

• A paper about long-term concerns involved in wild animal suffering work

Sentience

• A new paper about invertebrate sentience considering behavioral evidence

• New work about the sentience of wild animals at different ages (relevant to estimations of wild animal suffering related to age-specific mortality)

2. Outreach and education

2.1. New educational materials

We’ll publish educational material about the moral consideration of animals. This will provide general education as well as helping animal advocates add new information to their outreach materials.

Moral and political philosophy

• An expansion of the section of our website about ethics and animals, which now contains 19 texts. We will update our previous work and add new texts about the consideration of nonhuman animals in moral and political philosophy

Cognitive biases and the consideration of animals

• A new website section with a set of texts about cognitive biases and how they affect the moral consideration of animals in general and in animal advocacy

Sentience

• A paper about indicators of sentience in different invertebrate phyla

2.2. Video and audio

In addition, we will publish materials in other formats.

• New video content about topics not covered in our previous videos. The number of videos we produce will depend on the funding we secure.

• Audio versions of the videos and of some of the new texts we publish. In 2021 we will publish more than 70 audio recordings in all languages on our website and Spotify.

2.3. Dissemination of information about advocacy work to help wild animals

In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of people concerned about wild animal suffering. However, this has not led to a proportional rise in the number of people working in this area. We believe that this is because there’s still a lack of information about how to do the kinds of work that will make a difference for wild animals. This is why last year we published the first online video course about wild animal suffering advocacy and an ebook Introduction to wild animal suffering: A guide to the issues, also the first of its kind, expanding upon the content of the course. We also published audio versions of our wild animal suffering materials.

These are unique materials for those wanting to work in this field or anyone who’s just interested in it. In 2021 we will work on driving visits to them among people who are potentially interested in the field. This will include giving webinars and talks as well as dissemination in social media and on YouTube.

The videos currently on YouTube will be published on other platforms, including social media. Across all media platforms, we have more than 590,000 followers, who are typically sympathetic to the moral consideration of animals and animal advocacy. Due to this we expect to reach at least several tens of thousands of potentially interested people and to increase the number of visits to our materials.

3. Promoting academic work

In previous years we partnered with researchers in different university departments to promote work examining the factors positively and negatively affecting the wellbeing of animals in the wild. Some of the results of this work will be published later this year in peer-reviewed journals. They include work on reducing the suffering of whales and on estimating causes of wild animal suffering using data from animal care centers in Canada. We also intend to continue collaborating with the researchers involved in this work.

Last year we published the results of two studies about attitudes towards helping wild animals among scientists and scholars. This year, as indicated above, we will publish another one on how to establish new fields in academia. The results of such studies have been crucial to determining the kind of research that will have the highest impact in academia. It will also determine the direction of our future collaboration with academic researchers, and will be useful to other people working with academics who are interested in this issue.

4. International work

4.1. Asia

Last year we started to work in India. In 2021 we will continue to do work in this country (the world’s 2nd most populated and 5th largest economy). We will continue to give seminars and talks co-organized with departments of different universities. We will also meet with representatives of different animal organizations to spread concern about speciesism and wild animal suffering.

In 2020 we translated our website into Hindi, which is the most spoken language in Northern India. In 2021 we will translate it into Telugu, which is the most spoken language in Southern India.

In addition to this, in 2021 we will publish, as indicated above, our report about how to do animal advocacy work in China. Our initial intention was to publish it in 2020. However, during our research we found that this is a more complex issue than we previously thought. This led us to research it further so we will publish the report in 2021.

Finally, we will continue to attend different regional Asian conferences as we did in 2020, when we gave talks at the Asia Animal Advocacy Conference and at the EAGx Asia-Pacific Conference.

4.2. Latin America

Every year members of our team give talks at universities and at events organized by animal organizations in different Latin American countries. Last year they included Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Bolivia. In 2021 we plan to continue this with many appearances at online events in Spanish and Portuguese to reach new audiences. The key issues we are addressing are the equal consideration of all sentient beings, concern for wild animal suffering, and longtermism.

In addition, in previous years, we have taught officially recognized seminars and short courses about the moral consideration of animals at two universities in Brazil, the Federal University of Espirito Santo and the Federal University of Santa Catarina. In 2021 we intend to expand this to other universities as well.

We have already published a large number of texts and new materials (including online video courses) in Spanish and Portuguese. In 2021 we will increase our publications in both languages. We have also created partnerships with local organizations so our content will be featured on their websites.

4.3. Other parts of the world

Our website is currently available in nine languages: English, Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French, German, Polish, and Italian. In several of them Animal Ethics is one of very few sources of educational information about speciesism and wild animal suffering. In several other languages it is the only existing source of such information.

The majority of people around the world, including animal advocates, don’t speak English. Without our work, many people wouldn’t be able to find information about these topics.

In 2021 we will continue our translation efforts, making materials available in new languages. In all languages, in 2021 we expect our website to include around 1,500 posts and pages. We are particularly increasing our work in French, including subtitles for our wild animal suffering video course. In addition, we have just started a social media presence in French

Finally, we will continue the translation of our website into several other new languages including, in addition to Telugu, Danish, Romanian, and Russian.

Please consider supporting our work so we are able to attain these and other goals