Highlights of Animal Ethics activities in 2023

Highlights of Animal Ethics activities in 2023

14 Nov 2023

• Engaging diverse audiences globally through educational outreach on speciesism, wild animal suffering, and longtermism

• Expanding our presence internationally, especially in Asia

• Continuing our academic outreach to university students and teachers

• Publications and reports about wild animal suffering and how we can help

In 2023, Animal Ethics has concentrated our efforts on growing our network among animal advocates, effective altruists, students, and educators. We have engaged schools, universities, and other organizations to further awareness and action around the pressing issues of speciesism, wild animal suffering, and longtermism. Through our social media channels, we have spotlighted specific topics to focus attention on the issue of wild animal suffering and the need for intervention. Our outreach has explained core concepts like antispeciesism, animal sentience, and longtermism through videos, talks, and presentations to diverse audiences. As always, we appreciate your support, which has enabled us to have an extremely fruitful year. We couldn’t do it without you.

Some highlights of our activities are below.

January saw the publication of two new talks on YouTube. Aditya S.K. presented on helping animals affected by natural disasters, using recent floods in India as a case study. He examined methods to assess and address wild animal welfare from an antispeciesist, welfare-focused perspective. Oscar Horta gave a comprehensive talk titled Why animal advocacy matters much more than you think, making the case for the importance of animal advocacy. He covered key issues like speciesism, exploitation, wild animal suffering, and longtermism from an animal viewpoint. He argued that animal advocacy is an extremely impactful cause area, especially when long-term effects are considered. Also during this month, Olaia Freiría gave several talks in Mexico, including at the Vasconcelos Library in Mexico City, and Luciano Cunha gave a talk at the Introduction to Effective Altruism Course, talking about animal suffering.

In February, Animal Ethics and Aula Animal hosted an online workshop for Spanish-speaking teachers. They distributed materials for the youth education program, Ética animal: entendiendo el mundo más allá de nuestra especie,  and discussed strategies for teaching high school students about speciesism. The workshop allowed teachers to share experiences and plans for implementing these resources focused on encouraging the moral consideration of animals.

During February and March, Oscar Horta and Aditya S.K. held over 15 events across Asia focused on wild animal suffering. Most events took place at universities in India, and they also spoke in Nepal, Thailand, and Hong Kong. The talks challenged speciesism and encouraged ethical concern for animals. Additionally, Animal Ethics and Aula Animal ran the second workshop to present the materials of our educational program on respect for animals in Spain. Forty teachers participated, establishing a network to introduce animal ethics in schools. In March, we launched a new version of our website in Telugu.

In April, we increased social media engagement around the topic of longtermism – prioritizing the far future and reducing potential risks to sentient beings. These posts also stressed the importance of focusing not just on current animal welfare but also safeguarding the wellbeing of countless future individuals.

Several notable talks and book releases occurred in May. Luciano Cunha and Oscar Horta authored chapters in a new book in Portuguese examining speciesism, wild animal suffering, and longtermism. Oscar also traveled to venues across the UK, speaking about Animals and Longtermism and presenting his book Making a Stand for Animals. His audiences included academics, lawyers, and many animal advocacy enthusiasts. Additionally, Aditya S.K. led a workshop on challenging speciesism at a conference in Indonesia.

In June, Oscar and Aditya continued spreading our message through talks in the UK. Oscar also gave talks about speciesism and moral consideration of animals in Spain and Brazil. Aditya met with the Animal Think Tank to exchange knowledge and ideas about impactful messaging. Animal Ethics offered an online course in partnership with Universidade Federal de Uberlândia in Brazil on the harm of death to sentient beings. We also published an FAQ on the differences between respect for sentient beings and environmentalism.

July featured an online meetup coordinated with other organizations to discuss wild animal welfare strategies. Oscar gave talks in Spain, the Philippines, and the US. We also concluded one online course in Brazil while starting another on ethical theories and animals.

July also saw the publication of a study by researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada. The research was funded by Animal Ethics and examined causes of harm to wild animals in Canada. The study analyzed over 160,000 medical records for wild animals admitted to rehabilitation centers and pathology labs across Canada from 2009 to 2019. The data reveals the substantial impacts on wild animals from trauma, disease, starvation, orphaning, and conflict with humans.

In August, Oscar presented on speciesism and animal advocacy in the long-term in Colombia and the Philippines. He also participated in an animal law conference in Bolivia, exploring connections between ethics and advocacy. Additionally, Animal Ethics hosted a live YouTube session as part of our ethics course in Brazil.

In addition, a new paper was published countering objections to helping wild animals. It provided concrete interventions to prevent suffering, from disaster response to vaccination programs. The paper called for interdisciplinary research to better understand and help wild animals. The authors draw on arguments from a survey conducted by Animal Ethics involving natural science scholars and students to gauge opinions on research to help wild animals. The survey revealed promising avenues like rescue measures for extreme weather events, animal vaccination initiatives, and projects to reduce urban animal suffering. These endeavors garnered support due to their potential for catalyzing further research.

In addition, we published an article and a video on World Day for the End of Speciesism, in which we analyzed how sentience should be the criterion for respecting or not respecting someone. We also discussed how this relates to our obligation to help animals in nature.

In September, Oscar Horta gave a talk at the Vegan Fest Catalonia about why and how to get involved in animal advocacy. In partnership with the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Animal Ethics also began this year’s session of the online course An Introduction to the Debate on the Moral Consideration of Non-Human Animals. The Portuguese team held two live streams to answer questions from the public about animal ethics.

We published about discourse ethics in English and Portuguese on our website. According to discourse ethics, we should arrive at moral principles through open discussion and debate, and consider the interests of all who will be affected by our decisions, including nonhuman animals. Animal Ethics does not endorse any particular ethical theories, but we show how all major ethical theories lead to the conclusion that we should give greater moral consideration to all sentient beings.

In October, Oscar Horta gave a talk online about the implications of the major ethical theories for animals at the International Conference on Animal Law organized by the University of Chile. He also presented his book Making a Stand for Animals at the Animal Week Conference organized by the Animal Liberation Federation of Colombia. In addition, Oscar gave a talk on longtermism and animal law at the 8th Animal Law Colloquiums, which were organized by scholars from Chile and Mexico. He also participated in an event on climate change, environmental ethics, and animal ethics at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, with a talk focused on wild animal suffering.

We held two live streams on YouTube to answer questions from the public about animal ethics. One livestream focused on animal ethics in general, while the other specifically addressed the issue of wild animal suffering. We also recently completed an online course examining ethical theories and their implications for animals. Currently, we are running two additional online courses – one providing an introduction to animal ethics and another exploring the topic of wild animal suffering in depth. The course content is in Portuguese, but automated translations allow non-Portuguese speakers to understand the material.

Aditya S.K. recently attended three animal advocacy events in Malaysia – Asia Farm Animal Day, Asia Strategy Workshop for Animal Advocacy in Kuala Lumpur and the Asia Animal Coalition conference in Kuching. At these events, he was able to connect with many other advocates and discuss Animal Ethics’ work. Aditya also spoke at EAGx Philippines in Manila, where he covered the longtermist approach to animal advocacy and was part of a panel about expanding effective animal advocacy in Asia. Through these various events, he is connecting with key actors in the region to share perspectives on priorities and strategies for helping animals.

We also gave the first online workshop of our teacher training program on animal ethics for Spanish-speaking teachers. This time we addressed the topic “Introduction to animal ethics.” The goal of this program is to enable teachers to discuss the topic of animal ethics in their classes, with students between 12 and 18 years old.

In November, we are giving more talks in Europe and Asia, and we’ve been getting ready to release a custom chatbot for our website. This will allow visitors to discuss topics in animal ethics in most major world languages. It will also ease our process of onboarding volunteers, which will enable us to work with even more people around the world. We expect to release the chatbot in December.

As part of our effort to reach a younger audience and to balance our content for the learning styles and diverse concerns of our audience, we upgraded our look on social media and began posting more frequently. We are also giving more attention to insect and aquatic animal exploitation, longtermism, and future suffering risks. Check out our Instagram. Our newsletters complement our social media posts, giving mini-lessons in one topic each month.

Throughout the year, we have continued to expand our reach, particularly in Asia, reaching new countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Nepal. We increased our activities in India even more. We also established a presence in Hong Kong through talks, meetings, and sharing sessions with animal advocates, effective altruists, academics, and a prominent animal lawyer.

Our translation activities continue, and this year we began translating into new languages, including Arabic, Korean, and traditional Chinese.

Keep an eye out for two new reports that will be published over the next few weeks, one about helping wild animals through contraception and the other about using passive acoustic monitoring to learn about what the lives of wild animals are like on an ongoing basis.

Animal Ethics has maintained an active agenda in 2023, and we remain dedicated to our mission of education and outreach to reduce wild animal suffering. Through multifaceted efforts, we continue promoting animal wellbeing and long-term, antispeciesist priorities.

If you would like to contribute to our work and give us your feedback, please support us on Patreon and join our members’ Discord.