April 7, 2020
Guest Jayasimha Nuggehalli, Global Food Partners
Hosted by Jamie Harris, Sentience Institute
Jayasimha Nuggehalli on capacity building and animal welfare in Asia
“The three things that need to be done for Asia are capacity building, capacity building, and capacity building. There’s this tendency of wanting to do things at a global level, having uniformization across countries. But a lot of these policies that are written at the global level are not worth the paper that they’re printed on if there isn’t enough or more focus on building capacity on the ground. And it requires someone with grit to be there at the local level, speaking the local language, understanding the situation there. And I guess more and more international groups should be looking at building capacity rather than just nationwide or international treaties and legislation.”
Asia contains a large proportion of the world’s total farmed animal population. But what actions can be taken to most effectively reduce animal suffering in that context? And how can we build the capacity of local animal advocacy movements?
Jayasimha Nuggehalli is a co-founder and the Chief Operating Officer of Global Food Partners, a new nonprofit helping companies to implement animal welfare commitments in Asia. He was the Country Director of HSI’s work in India and has participated in animal advocacy in India for over 20 years.
Topics discussed in the episode:
- How and why Global Food Partners works with companies using, producing, and selling animal products, and why they do this in Asia (1:40)
- The objections that companies give to making further welfare commitments (13:24)
- Why Global Food Partners offers a “book and claim” credit trading platform to companies to support them to switch their “conventional eggs” to cage-free without passing on costs directly to consumers (17:19)
- Where pledges that affect Asian supply chains originate — Asian commitments compared to Western and international commitments — how this differs by country, and how Global Food Partners prioritize between different countries (21:42)
- How Global Food Partners secures its meetings and finds clients (32:59)
- How Global Food Partners’ work affects the profitability of the production and sale of animal products (35:02)
- How we can encourage better enforcement of existing animal protection laws in India — “capacity building, capacity building, and capacity building” as the key priority (43:39)
- The association between animal activism and right-wing political views in India (1:01:52)
- The pros and cons of focusing on companion animals in India (1:08:15)
- The main changes to the animal advocacy movement in India over the last 20 years (1:17:08)
- The origin stories of HSI India and PETA India, plus the importance of having local employees in animal advocacy organizations (1:24:21)
- Jayasimha’s career advice for advocates seeking to make progress for animals in Asia and the skills that are most urgently needed, such as animal welfare science and supply chain management (1:31:22)
- How transferable management and leadership experience from outside the animal advocacy movement is to the animal advocacy context (1:46:01)
Resources discussed in the episode:
Resources by or about Jayasimha Nuggehalli’s work:
Resources for using this podcast for a discussion group:
Transcript (Automated, imperfect)
Welcome to the Sentience Institute Podcast where we interview activists, entrepreneurs, and researchers about the most effective strategies to expand humanity's moral circle with the focus on expanding the circle to farmed animals. I'm Jamie Harris, researcher at Sentience Institute and Animal Advocacy Careers. Welcome to our seventh episode of the podcast. I was excited to have Jayasimha Nuggehalli on the podcast because the new organization that he co-founded, Global Food Partners, is working across Asia secure welfare improvements for farmed animals. I was keen to hear about the strategic decision making behind global food partners and to talk to him by his experiences of animal advocacy in India given his work for the humane society, international and people for the ethical treatment of animals in that country. On our website we have a transcript of this episode as well as timestamps for particular topics. We also have suggested questions and resources that can be used to run an event around this podcast in your local animal advocacy or effective altruism group. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have questions about this and we would be happy to help.
Our guest today is Jayasimha Nuggehalli, co founder and chief operating officer of global food partners and new nonprofit helping companies to implement animal welfare commitments in Asia. Jayasimha has worked for 20 years as an animal advocate in India. First as a volunteer, then as a campaign manager for people for the ethical treatment of animals and the humane society international in India. He was the country director of HSIs work in India for over seven years before he co founded global food partners. His academic background is in law and he was recently a research fellow at the animal law and policy program at Harvard law school. Welcome to the podcast Jayasimha.
Thank you so much for having me on the podcast. Super exciting to speak.
Great. Yeah, you're very welcome. Okay, so the impression I get from an article on the poultry site.com is that global food partners plans to operate in a supportive role to organizations rather than a kind of hostile campaigning role. So crudely, I tend to mentally divide animal advocacy organizations focusing on welfare change into a sort of good cop role and a bad cop role. With the bad cop roles, organizations apply pressure to companies from the outside and they don't necessarily need to have good relations with the companies. But I always wonder how the good cops first build those relationships with the companies to work with them. So what is global food partners plan and why would a company want to engage with you?
Right. So before I even get into what Global Food Partners' plan is, I would like to maybe take two steps behind and kind of go as to why we decided to establish and set up Global Food Partners itself. So as you said, uh, Elissa, Sabina and myself, the three co founders of this organization used to work for the humane society International. And we met with a bunch of companies who had animal welfare policies of developing animal welfare policies, primarily with relation to egg-laying hens. And you realize that while it was okay for the headquarters to go in and make these policies, there was a gap in capacity to actually implementing these policies. So there was a need for an organization who is going to help these companies implement. Putting these policies into practice and global foot partners kind of came into being though initially are set up as a nonprofit in the United States.
Our longterm plan actually is to charge companies and be a for profit organization. So in Singapore we are established as a consulting a for profit private limited company and a, so we are positing, we are a consulting companies are working with global food corporations in the world and focusing on Asia to help them implement animal welfare commitments in the region. As far as good cops and bad cops are concerned. We truly believe that companies want to make the change the minute when they say that they want to have animal welfare commitments implemented, sometimes it's just hard. It's hard for people to wrap their heads around as to what cage free means. Uh, and also because in many of the countries that we operate, there isn't the legislative minimum for animals or given the legislative definition for it. There's sort of, so we believe that just providing this help and support to companies is extremely essential. And that's what global food Partners does. And building a relation as in relations is something that would be built in the past. Working with these companies, working with HSI that are new relations. Maybe just reach out to companies looking at their press release and you'd be surprised as to how eager companies are looking to work with us and seek that help. And so that's how we build these relationships.
Is there you, you mentioned that there's a gap there. Are you aware of other organizations that have done anything comparable previously?
Um, so there have been organizations so done like this, especially in the sustainability world. So there are groups just CSR who've primarily provided a whole amount of us consulting when it comes to other sustainability initiatives. Uh, be it with relationship to fair labor, fair majors, uh, deforestation and many of them, there are few who do it in the animal welfare sector, but not so much who are actually focused in Asia and being in Asia. And that's one of the many reasons why we decided to pack our bags and move to Asia and be in Singapore because we felt that there was this huge gap or a vacuum where there weren't any groups. Our consulting companies who are focusing on animal welfare per se.
Okay. So yeah. So with Asia, was that, is that focus a kind of strategic impact for animals consideration primarily or is it in the sense of, yeah, if there's this idea that there's a gap and it's greater in Asia. Yeah, I'm still in, I'm still thinking the precedent is in terms of other organizations doing this sort of work, whether there are groups that you can think of that do similar things in the U S or the UK or Western countries generally like I'm, I'm wondering for example, would you say that Compassion in World Farming do similar work or anything like that?
Right. So there are groups of course like the Compassion In World Farming is a good example. There's a UK based group, FAI Farms -- they do similar work. But the, the real difference is that we are focusing on Asia and also we are going to be charging companies for the service that we offer, which most nonprofits don't. So I guess they have a differentiation is that we are actually consulting company to these organizations or food businesses rather than a nonprofit or is offering services to them.
Yeah. Okay. So I'm, another thing that I'm interested in here is, is how well what it is that the companies struggle with that they would want to turn to a consulting company for or to a nonprofit for support with. What are the aspects that they couldn't really do in house or they wouldn't do as well. So just to quote some examples of stuff from your website of what you mentioned that you do, you say you do leading technical workshops with companies and their current egg suppliers through to guidance with internal and external communication strategy to help strengthen businesses, brand reputation among media and peers. Yeah. What are your thoughts on things that they, I mean, those sound like things that you'd think that they would have a decent amount of expertise on within companies. So why would they want to turn to external consultants?
So, um, in making, in Asia especially, we find that companies don't necessarily have these expertise internally and they're really looking for help. Uh, sometimes just understanding what does cage-free really mean because many times there are things for people who are confused like broiler farms, is cage-free because they don't necessarily a house broiler birds on in cages. There are times when you've actually walked into meetings trying to explain that there are actually two kinds of hens; one raised for meat and one raised for eggs. So you would imagine that there is a huge amount of awareness already across the board, but it's not, uh, and uh, just explain to something that's even start off by saying, what does cage-free mean? What is a perch, what is a nest box? Because they're looking at markets where almost hundred percent of a production isn't cages. And what does not in a cage is a small hold backyard, a system.
So when we talk to a procurement manager saying that we would want you to implement a cage free become and policy or in their mind that thinking maybe a procuring from a small backyard farm and just to kind of say, well there are these modern systems which almost has the same number of birds as that you could in a cage facility. Or trying to just build that skillset is what we do on a very basic fundamental level of raising awareness. And then there are issues with Alicia to just communicating to vendors as to what does cage-free really mean. And many times, uh, just because of the supply chain complexities in Asia, when a producer claims to be cage-free, there's really no way to track back, but they're going up whether they're actually cage-free tense. Technical workshop becomes really important when you say that when you don't need mean cage-free, it's not just taking a bunch of books out of cages and living them in a barn.
It means providing for poaching, providing for nest, dust-bathing, providing an access to lay eggs in a nest box, uh, having adequate wicked you care of things for deletion, do feather pecking like you know, how do you prevent feather pecking in a cage-free facility. So there is a huge management system and a cage management system and the cage-free management systems are completely different. People tend to over simplify but they say, well we should just go cage free then you, all you have to do is take these bullets and leave them out. But that's not what it is. You need to teach these birds how to use vertical height or there's a better idea of information that needs to be provided to on farm managers, to supply chain managers to procurement managers. And that's the service that global food partners is offering to food businesses from farm to the fuck.
Okay, interesting about the idea of a lack of knowledge, and this is not something I would expect somebody to say for say Western farmers in say the U S or the UK. I would expect that they're fully aware of the pressures and the is the sort of public interest in that. So yeah. Interesting. Common there. I just want to pick up again on something you mentioned about tracking and there being a lack of tracking there in Asia, and sorry to keep going back to Preston in other countries, but is there w w who's doing that work in other countries? Is it governments or is it nonprofits?
So in the European union for example, there is the governments are doing that job and I wouldn't say all of all, of course, not all of European union, same, but broadly to, to look at develop nations with the new European union that has a legislative requirement that you would say, well except to be marked and you look get a number on an egg. And you know where they came from, a colony cage or they came from free-range, cage-free, organic. So then it's that level of traceability they're in and not the America I would say because the supply chain is so organized in that sense. So you already will do, go back and do traceability within the supply chain itself. However, in Asia, because there is no legislative requirement for any sort of placeability and the supply chain is extremely complex, there really isn't anybody who, uh, who's kind of building the capacity within the supply chain in Asia.
So in different parts I would say in North America into few States, of course in the United States there is a state required legislation. For example, in California you say, well, you can't be selling any eggs from birds who are confined in cages all together. However, there is still some amount of uh, traceability within the system. Plus, uh, there's also, uh, the supply chain being just so well organized that you're able to go back and trace and in Europe that has just an EU legislation and many countries have their own legislation. So I guess it's a combination of your legislation as well as a private traceability systems in other parts of the world.
Yeah, makes sense. Just, I'll just mention a couple of resources and things I'm aware of. There's a website called egg track, which I think is run by compassion in world farming that tracks commitments and whether they've been followed up on by companies. And I know that the humane league have recently created a similar website and we'll put links up to those on the show notes if people are interested in following up on them.
I just want to make a fine distinction between a track and traceability and tracking are the true tool that compassion has is basically tracking commitments to see whether, uh, how much of the [inaudible] it's actually made is uh, fulfilled. But as the traceability, that lack of traceability is really tracing back whether the a participant seem to be fee actually came from a cage free farm. So just like a distinction which a track let's not do as the legislations and put buddy 70 buyers who would do that in Europe and the United States or just when we were coming, you can find difference between a tracking process. Progress was just tracking the physical egg or liquid egg overall.
Let's go back to this idea of, of the lack of knowledge and the actual kind of, I guess I'm interested in what the objections are that you, that you encounter when you reach out to companies. I mean presumably, I mean you did say that lots of companies are interested in and are genuinely quite keen to make improvements, but yeah, presumably it doesn't, the conversations don't go 100% smoothly every time. What are the objections people have to making welfare commitments?
The primary objection is obviously cost. So there are still a sudden issues in Asia, which makes Asia unique. First of all, the food businesses don't have leverage within the market. Like for example, a McDonald's in the United States almost procures roughly 13% of all the eggs produced in the United States. So they have a huge leverage or within the egg industry, they made a commitment and if they ask for something, the industry will kind of go ahead and change for it. Similarly retailers in the United States or in Europe, there is a, they have leverage or the production system, whereas food businesses in the spine of the world don't have their leverage because a large chunk of eggs or chicken meat or any meat that is spread, use are sold in wet markets, they're sold open without any sort of packaging. Hence, uh, hence if, uh, if a, if a retailer were to go and ask for the change unless of ETL, it is a mega dealer and has a huge amount of a presence in that market.
It's really hard for the retailer to push them, push the producer from one production system to another production system. The second is that at this particular point of time, there really is no supply of cage free eggs at all in most markets and even if they do exist. Therefore a really niche, let's say for dealing with let's say really high income groups or expanded populations or asking for this. Hence cage free eggs in a market on a grocery store in despite of the world can be 200 to 300% more expensive than caged eggs and itself. And the third point is that there are really single producer, so these are, let's say there's like one kid for the producer in Vietnam. I'm just making this up and, and like the, it makes the food businesses really nervous, to change their supply chain to just procure from one key to the producer just in case if there is a, I don't know, a disease outbreak in this particular farm and the bloods had to be counted for whatever it is and then the food business really has no place to source eggs.
So the, that again ends up being a bit of a problem. So, and also, uh, the, the egg supply is part of a larger of fresh produce supply chain. And on a personal level from in a property in a hotel or a full business to change and say, well I'm not going to buy eggs from your anymore is really hard. Especially sometimes just culturally it's different where there is a bond between the person who is supplying to procuring, uh, eggs or any by any vendor, relational guess are all of these which are real supply chain issues within the market. And overall this ends up being extremely expensive for the, for the, for the companies and in a price and said their market, uh, the company, one of the biggest obstacle objection of where all of this is that eggs are really expensive. That isn't a viable supply chain.
There's just no competition within the market. And the, and what global food partners is trying to do is try and find solutions for each of these problems. And I'm happy to speak about our different solutions that they're offering to kind of circumvent each of these problems.
Yeah. Great. That was going to be my followup question. So let's go with that.
So one of the things that global food partners is really keen on is not to reinvent the wheel, but to, you can get other commodities and figuring out as to what booked and other commodities, especially a soy and Palm and other commodities to move from traditional practice to more sustainable one. And one of the unique solutions that we are offering is a credit trading platform. So the credit trading platform is a very yours in electricity, palm oil, soy and other supply chains.
So the way it works is, and I want to give take electricity because that's probably most easiest to understand. Let's say if a household or a company decides to procure renewable energy, it isn't like the company sets up a solar farm just for themselves and the grid draws a wire from the solar farm into the company's headquarters. Right. What ends up happening is that the company would continue to buy a electricity from the normal grid, but the normal grid would buy renewable energy on behalf of this particular company and the company would basically be extra for that particular budget of any of that. So its a form of a credit. So even though the actual electricity, like that electron that's burning the light might not have come far from under renewable energy source, the net, what you're kind of doing is increasing the production of renewable energy.
They're taking the same platform or the same methodology and trying to bring this to excess wealth. So the idea really is that we want the number of birds to be out of cages. It doesn't necessarily matter at the initial stage whether the egg actually reaches a company's supply chain or not. So the solution that we are offering to companies is; don't change anything in your existing physical supply chain. Just continue to procure conventional eggs that you are. What we're asking cage-free producers to do is produce case for the eggs and sell the cage free eggs as a conventional egg in the market. So you're basically selling it at a lower price for a total while. You have cage free eggs that the producer, producers, the producer gets a certificate from global Food Partners. The certificate is a tradeable certificate and sort of company would kind of offset, but it's not the right word, would offset the total total egg that they have bought in the conventional eggs by buying a certificate.
So what ends up happening is that the money from one end of the supply chain directly reaches to the other end of the supply chain. So what the buyer is, goes directly to the producer and there is no money seepage for the intermediaries in between. And so we're calling this "book and claim". So you basically book eggs in one place and in your team and claim on the other. And what we hope is that once we are able to create enough volume to credits, we will then be able to do ship companies from a book and claim or a credit platform to a segregated supply chain, but they're actually buying cage free eggs. So this is one of the solutions stuff you're asking.
Yeah, that's certainly a different solution to the problem to ones that I've been more familiar with. Can I just clarify who is bearing that increased production costs in that situation?
The food business has a varying the increased production costs.
Yeah. So the incentive for them to participate in the scheme is just, it's a preferable situation and all the sort of usual things we might... usual arguments we might give to companies?
So the, the most of these companies have already made a commitment, try it as if they have a commitment that they have to go cage free. And by 2025 is when these commitments kick in and at the given rate it can almost be certain that the companies will not be able to meet these commitments in Asia for sure. And uh, so, so the, the, the incentive for the company really is that, or you kind of go ahead and start buying these credits, these credits in Britain, they increase the volume of cage free eggs in the market and uh, an over a period of time. The companies will be able to transition from buying credits to actually buy physical eggs.
Okay. Yeah. So the important point there being that this is, as you mentioned before, this is about facilitating companies to deliver on pledges they've already made. Right? So these pledges, are they made primarily by international chains and that then these apply to Asia or were they made by Asian companies specifically?
So both. The lowest hanging fruit or other, uh, for us to go after or like get people to buy this? Buy credits are international ledgers, right? So these are food companies are based in Europe and North America who have made these commitments and who are looking to, uh, implement it. However, there is a growing number of Asian companies who are also going ahead and picking these comic glints. But what's really interesting is that they are having conversations with Asian companies asking them to make commitments. They kind of see it's really hard for us as in these multinationals are unable to fulfill it because the supply chain managers of all of these food business talk to one another. So, and they say, well this is a mega global company, they are able to prick your cage free eggs. It's going to be really hard for us. And hence that as some sort of an inner shell within Asian companies to actually make these commitments. So it's extremely important that these global commitments are met so that the global companies are laying way far local Asian companies to make a big new commitments and fulfill them. So, uh, I wouldn't say that it's only international companies or global companies. There is a growing interest in Asia. It's safe to transition from cage to cage free.
Yeah. Would you be able to make a really rough estimate of the proportion of, I mean obviously we talking about lots of different countries here, but what sort of proportions are we talking about in terms of the split between these products being produced and supplied by producers and suppliers who are connected to international multinational companies versus companies that are local or specific?
So I, I, it really is really from country to country. For example, are countries like Japan where you're seeing, it's not just international companies but also of companies who are making, so it's, it's, it's uh, it's really different, but there are also companies, um, I mean there are other countries where they're not necessarily seeing a huge amount of progress. It would be really hard even for me to do a guesstimate on it because the region is so diverse. So, uh, however, if one were to, uh, go and look at these commitment tracking websites that exist, you'd be able to see, uh, what percentage of them are global, what percentage of them are local companies, which of these global company commitments actually even extend to Asia. I guess that's something that's already there, but it will be very hard for me to do a guesstimate for the entire region.
Yeah, sure. Okay. So yeah, it's interesting this idea of the, the leverage that international companies have and, and that sort of trade off of focusing on international companies versus focusing on local companies. Which do you prioritize in terms of your own outreach? You mentioned that the international companies who are kind of more the low hanging fruit,
so we're doing both. So at this particular point of time when it comes to local companies, Asian companies, it's really been a meeting with both of them, but the picture's different, right? For international companies, it's more like how can we help you implement? So do we do it through a book and claim platform? Do we do it to a segregated supply chain? Do we do it through a mass balance supply chain? And so what be an offering for global companies is to do a free consultation of their existing supply chain and give them market-specific, um, uh, plans to implement these commitments. So as I said, the region is really diverse. Maybe in Japan, the, um, just like hypothetically in Japan, they probably could buy cage-free eggs. Probably there's another country where it's not positive to buy cage-free eggs. So they have to buy maybe a hundred percent credits.
So I guess like each of these countries would be really different or in a country as large as China. It could be in their operations. In one city, they could actually procure cage free eggs and an operation in another city. They might have to start buying credits and then slowly transition to a segregated supply chain where they're actually buying cage free eggs. So I guess so the pitch for international companies is that, well it's for the local companies, it's more like even introducing the concept of animal welfare or cage free what the global trend is and trying to even figure it out as to as income service in Asia, the consumer is now going to start wanting traceability within supply chain has got to start asking for a high, well, very project products and uh, helping companies actually even write meaningful animal welfare commitments because, uh, sometimes, uh, the and writing of the animal welfare commitment is actually dealt by the CSR departments and they might not be a huge amount of coordination with the supply chain departments. So for is to say, we're here to actually help you write these commitments and also localizing these commitments. Because if you just could like possibly have a one size fits all commitments everywhere. So localizing, however, not compromising animal welfare. So, uh, there's a, there's a, there's a, there's a broad idea of services to be offered to local companies.
Yeah. And this idea of, again, this idea of the international groups versus the kind of the slightly different leverage point with the, the local groups. Um, in terms of focusing on the, the local groups themselves, do you think that they would be more influenced and more inclined to make these welfare commitments by greater pressure on the ground in the countries that they operate in? So say by consumers or by animal welfare advocates, or do you think they'd be more influenced by more commitments by the kind of international big companies that they are, aren't they competitors?
So again, it's not one response to the entire region. Like there are countries like, Oh, where they really are not influenced by international commitments at all, but there are few countries where they are looking at what their peers are doing or within the international spit spectrum and they want to kind of be ahead of the curve there. So again, uh, I wouldn't say that it's like one responds to different countries and it also depends on what defined direct investment regulations are in each of these countries. Uh, there are some countries which are extremely protective, a five year deal where foreign companies cannot come in at all. So obviously those markets that are little bit more difficult to penetrate even from an animal welfare point of view because, uh, there isn't really a presence of multinationals at all, uh, in multibrand retail. But there are certain countries where the economy is way more liberal and you have international companies coming in.
So local companies are not as much protected. Hence the competition is kind of fierce that we in the local companies as well as international companies. And what they're also seeing is a bunch of mergers and acquisitions that's happening, uh, with local companies and international, especially in the multibrand fetus space. So again, uh, it's, uh, but what's really important is that, uh, there has to be more awareness amongst the public in itself. The, because one of the common things that we do hear from a lot of companies is that our consumers are price sensitive and uh, the consumers don't necessarily want to pay more. Uh, so I guess like as men awareness as well as just the poverty expend like the money increasing someone's to consume consumers hand, you kind of start seeing animal welfare being priority.
Yeah. Would you be able to expand on the idea of some countries being more or less influenced by international companies and by international trends? What are some of the, you said that some countries just don't seem to be influenced by these trends or by other countries, by international companies at all. What are some of those countries you're thinking of that are less influenced in that sense?
Like for example, Singapore is heavily influenced in that sense because like Singapore has extremely liberal economic policies. So you have all the major companies here, so you kind of see the, uh, of a competition. However, there are companies like India, Japan, China, where you kind of see that the local companies are large enough, uh, and there's not necessarily a liquids and they're large and they control the market and they don't necessarily see, uh, uh, uh, let competition and wanting to like be ahead of the curve, uh, and, and twice. I think what's really important, and I guess like what we say on our website as well, is for companies to see animal bill Finn as a business proposition in itself rather than just as a competitive advantage, uh, to another client. And hence, uh, it's important for us so that, uh, companies see that they need to be doing animal welfare for the, for the reason that it's an important decision to do as part of their CSR policies.
Yeah. So how do you prioritize between companies or, or countries as a whole as to where to focus? Um, interesting. You mentioned that Singapore is more open and uh, I believe you've got an employee in Singapore and that you yourself have just moved there.
So our global headquarters is in Singapore, so we are all in Singapore. And, uh, so we have, uh, Don, who is a Singaporean who knows who's, who works in Singapore, but in the region as well. Uh, so we all are going to be, we are based in Singapore, in fact in the in, so this is the first week where the entire team, uh, other than our animal scientists who is based out of, um, Australia for now and our general counsel who's based out of the United States, we have really the literally on the programmatic staff based out of Singapore in itself as far as the countries as to how we prioritize them. Oh, we basically looked at countries which are, where there is a large corporate presence. And also we've looked at company countries where there is a huge amount of productions. For example, Indonesia is because it's a production hub for the entire region and exports everywhere.
So obviously Indonesia is a country that we want to work in Japan because again, are the largest oil field. The largest poultry companies are based out of Japan and is a huge consumer. Uh, Thailand, uh, Singapore primarily because the headquarters of all of these companies are based in Singapore and obviously you want to start doing some work in China because just China is everything in China is because of the scale, because its more efficient to do. So I guess to these, to the fact that if you're looking is uh, is there a large enough corporate market where we're able to get clinets and is there enough production for us to shift from cage to cage free, I guess these are two parameters.
Yeah. Cool. And on this idea of getting clients, I'm just intrigued in the practical process. How does it actually work? Does it tend to sort of progress from an email to a face to face meeting? How would you actually get the initial contacts? How does that whole process work?
It's really hard to get the first meetings. Uh, so it's, it tends to be on an email and we also speak a lot at various industry events. So, in fact, we be a lot of our speaking events, I've got canceled because of the whole Coronavirus situation in the region. However, we regularly speak at industry events, our be the egg industry in the events or hospitality and food, the hospital food and beverage industry even send me the network with a lot of them and sometimes it just starts with an email following up, sending a call. And the also get companies, like we send quarterly updates on what's happening on animal welfare to some of the supply chain managers. So I guess it's a, it's a weird idea of stuff that we do to kind of build our presence in the regions and so that supply chain managers are able to take note of us and start working with us.
Uh, any thoughts, some of the sort of proportion that have been identified through attending those conferences? I would say 50 to 60% of them are attending to those conferences. Right. So it's mostly, and is it mostly organizations hearing about you through some mechanism, like a conference and then reaching out to you? Or is it you speak to them and then you make sure you send them follow up contact? It's mostly we speak to them and then we send them follow up. And also that's also, they're like these specific animal welfare. You went to them also they can play. So there was recently a round table in China that was organized on cage free itself. So we went there and we were on the speakers and then we went with a bunch of companies and it's so, yeah. So it's, it's, it's a variety of things that's being done.
Okay. A slightly different question. I just want to read a brief quote from uh, an article with um, Elissa Lane, who's the chief executive officer of Global Food Partners on each article on the poultry site.com I mentioned previously. So Elissa Lane says, "we believe that the key to success is collaboration and innovation among all stakeholders. But working together, we can achieve our common mission, which is to offer higher quality products aligned with consumer expectations and concerns about animal welfare and doing so increase longterm business profitability." Can you just expand on the idea of how this increases longterm business profitability?
Right. So at this particular point of di, when anybody looks at Asia, the first thing that people say, well it's a price sensitive market, right? As an uh, it's a huge market. It's a growing market. Uh, when you start looking at GDP figures, you'll kind of see that Asia is really growing, but it's a price sensitive market. Uh, and, and also the other thing that people would say, well, the corporates don't necessarily have a huge, and I spoke about initially, you know, it doesn't get a lot of leverage at this particular point of time of the corporates. Uh, and for us, the way we look at Asia is that it's without discounting the future as, and if you were to say from now to 20 years, the supply chain and the markets in Asia is going to get more organized, uh, is going and deeply as it just looking at all the economic trends that we are seeing, including focus, such as Bangladesh.
Uh, we've seen that they're on an upward trajectory. Uh, so, but so consumers are going to get more aware. There's an unbelievable amount of internet penetration that's happening in this region or the smartphone revolution as existing. So we can see that Asia is at the cusp of an economic revolution and does economically revolution as being in a whole kind of information as well and with information. Consumers are bound to start asking for high welfare products. Um, and especially with all the food safety scares that's coming in. Uh, so consumers really want to be paying and knowing from where their food's coming from and what we think is like making the business prepared or, or now of when they're much smaller, it's much more easier to implement. These systems have audit systems around them with both fair to have a robust procurement policy rather than wait for a time when this company's so large that it's really hard to implement any of these policies.
So the longterm sustainability is to see where's the market going, how's the market heading, and what can we do to, uh, ensure that could be a future proofing these supply chains.
Okay, so it's more a case of out competing competitors as opposed to something inherent in the process that would change costs.
That's true. Outcompeting competitors and this point of time and also, yeah, I and, and, and to kind of, uh, ensure that when, when the consumer is going to start asking these questions, you're not scrambling for answers at that particular point in time and you're ready and you're ahead of the curve rather than trying to, uh, you know, catch up. And what we actually see in many of the countries in Europe and other sweaters and companies are constantly playing catch up for it cause or you end up having a creepy policy then companies asking for cage-free or groups ask for cage-free policy. Then for the cage free it's slow-growing broilers from that to aquaculture so you're constantly playing catch up. Whereas when the market is pretty young, when you start getting mending animal voter policies so you don't necessarily have to play catch up, you are ahead of the curve and we feel that this is a golden opportunity for food companies in Asia to be ahead of the curve as far as consumer expectation goes.
Yeah, makes sense. And reassuring to hear you say that. I guess I was, when I read the quote, sort of alarm bell went off from a perspective of animal animal advocacy and impact for animals in terms of like if we're increasing the profitability of companies by actually sort of somehow streamlining the process that could actually facilitate greater animal suffering if it leads to a preference for animal foods of animal free foods or something like that. But it seems like you're saying this is essentially competition within the market. Less of a concern. But yeah, this is linked into a wider question about how welfare commitments and changes that companies make lead to either momentum for further change or complacency that sufficient change has happened already. Um, this is an issue that Sentience Institute has summarized some of the available evidence for and against on a section of our website called the foundational questions summaries. But yeah. Are you concerned at all by the idea that actually buy as, as an animal advocate and somebody who's previously worked for Peter and HSI or that sort of thing, are you concerned at all that companies making these commitments improving welfare could actually somehow lead to complacency for further, again, against further change?
Um, as in I'm aware that there is no universal agreement that a focus on refinement an intervention or even corporate campaigns as an intervention, uh, is going to meet a huge amount of difference. In fact, there's probably a school of thought that would say is that you should be looking at completely replacing eggs and not even get involved with refinement. But I would say that there is really no binary choice for being focusing on refinement and replacement. And if we were to agree that refinement is a good thing then you'll probably have three plausible interventions, right? Why would it be public policy? They give an intervention to outlaw cages like legislative, what legal actions to read your state funding provide benefits for establishing oddly housing and all of those things. So this is like the ballot measure and California are a such stuff.
The second is obviously the corporate policy, like you know, interventions to get like food business to commit to servicing only cage-free. The third option is social advocacy where your kind of a design an intervention to kind of change consumer behavior. But when you really look at the scale, obviously public policy has the most scale, right? But it's really hard to achieve, especially in countries where you don't, or even in jurisdictions, even in the first world where you don't have ballot measure, it's really hard to achieve these public policy changes because of legislative capture, regulatory capture that exists within the industry itself. And also in places where you have, these are decisions that really ill-enforced. India is a prime example, right? Where there's a high court order, I would say it's not new battery cages can be established. However, it's really hard to enforce these legislation.
A social advocacy also, uh, has, uh, is, is effective, but it has the least amount of scale as in just figuring out that Asia has like what 200, 2000, 300 different languages that are spoken. A Diamond demographic where Nepal has per capita income off like 863 the dollars to Singapore where it is a $57,000, a $58,000 almost. It's really hard to do social advocacy, one-on-one leafleting or any of those kinds of things. And even social media posts because in many of these jurisdictions, uh, social media is heavily that you need in. So let's say that there is, it's probably you want to have the least possible intervention that one could possibly do. And uh, hence you really are left with corporate policy. And, uh, and what we're kind of seeing is that the seat of success for these corporate campaigns is, uh, followed through.
And what you're really hoping is that with these corporate policies and ensuring a follow through of these commitments, what are at least setting up is a precedent to say, well, occasionally farms can be set up, they can be run. Well they are economically viable. So in the process of social change, when the comuntires in this region, are now we're willing to start looking at legislation or even standards overall. They have something to look back and say, well, there are successful examples to run. Let's kind of go ahead and make, uh, a legislation or even a standard to start with. So I guess like that's broadly why we feel that corporate policy in the region, even though the corporates control a small amount of the supply chain in the region is effective and cost effective.
Okay, great. Yeah. Um, let's pick up on this idea of enforcement of laws being a big problem in India especially that you mentioned. So I'm just, I'm a few years ago, Lewis bollard of open philanthropy project wrote a research note after a trip to India, which he describes as having been generously hosted by yourself, Jayasimha. So I'm going to just quote a chunk of the research note for our listeners. Um, so he says, advocates need to not just pass laws but also enforce them. For example, India's 1960. Prevention of cruelty to animals act prohibits cages that don't allow the animal a reasonable opportunity for movement. The Animal welfare board of India, an official advisory board established on the act has issued a directive that battery cages violate this provision and called on egg producers to phase out cages. By 2017 and 24 to 29 Indian States have reportedly agreed that battery cages are illegal.
But everywhere we went, we saw these cages in use with no plans to replace them. This is likely due to the political power, the Indian poultry industry, wheat penalties, the maximum penalty on the act for repeat offenses is 100 rupees, roughly 1.5 us dollars. And a government willingness to ignore the law after the Supreme court recently ruled that a form of bullfighting violated the act Tamilnadu openly flouted the ruling with support of the national government. So yeah, animal charity evaluators and Charity on Entrepreneurship's reports on India also concur. The enforcement seems to be a problem there and provide some other detailed examples that Bollard's note doesn't, and this is obviously a topic you're interested in. Um, you, there's a talk on YouTube given by yourself at the Federation for Indian animal protection organizations conference on the topic of legal enforcement. So yeah. What are the actions that animal advocacy that the animal advocacy movement should be taking to prioritize enforcing positive changes that have already been made in the law?
Right. I think building capacity, I did finally I thnk the three things that needs to be done for Asia is capacity building, capacity building and capacity building. Uh, uh, I guess building just capacity offline enforcement officers are, be the judges, the prosecutors as well as the police on, uh, on collecting evidence on how to prosecute, framing of charges. All of these is extremely important and they're feeling like very little is being done at this particular point of time. I think that, I can't imagine other groups, maybe I'd have that. The humane society international in India who actually even focuses on capacity building and those people vinyls, which is a local group, which also does that and as a good partnership of being Humane Society International and people for animals to do that. So I guess a lot of times we kind of get stuck with the big picture saying that need to pass legislation.
So we need to have and, and just make, might be specific to farmed animals like even in the white list here, like, Oh, let's work on the convention of international trade of endangered species. Or, uh, let's up list a particular species. All of this is only presuming that the forest officer who's standing there actually even knows how to identify this particular species. So I guess, uh, so what it really boils down is when we are able to think global on legislations, we got to be acting locally and building capacity and invest in grassroots. Anything where we kind of just underwrite the value of our grassroots movement is a, is a bit of a problem. And I genuinely do see that very few, uh, animal protection groups find that we need to go as in this there's this tendency of wanting to do things at a global level, having like unified messaging across countries, all of this is great. But sometimes there's really a lot of these policies that are done on a global level are not worth the paper that it's printed on if there isn't enough or more focused on building capacity on the ground. And that's probably even true for corporate policies. As in as much as we focus on getting these global commitments, if you don't invest in building capacity of farmers of producers, veterinarians in the region to transition from cage, the cage free, those policies are not worth the paper they're printed on.
Yeah. Okay. So you mentioned, I mean obviously this idea of capacity building. What does that look like specifically you said they're veterinarians and farmers, but you also mentioned the idea of supporting grassroots movements. What are some of your thoughts on how this can be done most effectively?
So I guess, uh, in India and I can, and I can speak about that or where there are, there is a law that requires that every district, so the district has the lowest form of administration in the States or various districts from the state and many States on the country. So the largely requires that every district needs to have a society for prevention of cruelty to animals. And there's a whole bunch of legal requirements as to what they deemed to be doing. A lot of it is not related to farmed animals at all as, and it's mostly to do with breeders spec shops and stuff like that. I guess just in groups sort of come and say, you know what, like we want to take States and say one state at a time and we ensure that the SPC had actually set up in each of these, uh, looking at the government mechanism itself, that there are adequate budget allocated by the state governments for the functioning of the SPCs.
And of course these are statutory required as in, uh, the statute requires that the SPCA needs to be given budget. So a lot of things wanted to happening is that we kind of like, and I think, again, not related to fond animal speculation, let's say spear and new to us keep dogs. Uh, there is a tendency that we want to just kind of do spay and neuter ourself. and how much ever money you'd be having to spend for 20 dogs, but they're not really bringing in a systemic change unless we kind of build the movement within that particular district. Where the district administration takes it upon themselves, that spaying and neutering of dogs and not culling is their responsibility and it's a responsibility that's provided by the statute and they got to do it and it's kind of happened on its own. Like the district officer has a million things to deal with and formation of an SPCA is probably least of his priorities. As in I would imagine like ordering staple pins is higher on his priority, than establishing of an SPCA. And so and, and it requires someone to be there at the local level, speaking to look a language, understanding the situation there and getting these farmed and I guess a more and more international should be looking at building the capacity rather than just a nationwide or international treaties and legislations.
I just think this is no way to critique of anybody and I just see like it is, it's just important. And I do feel that's kind of the prediction groups and again, not as a critic. And I feel like because I'm from within also have like the headquarters knows best syndrome and it might be worth to kind of like, uh, look at every, every state, every country, every district differently. Especially in a region like Asia, which is so diverse as in 2,300 official language just in one district and then like hundreds and thousands of dialects in every place. It's, it's diverse and we need to just be adapting to those, those diverse cultures.
Sure. Okay. Yeah, really fascinating. This idea of there being already this kind of legally mandated infrastructure there, which is so nearly exactly what, um, animal advocates want. I'm, I'm just trying to think concretely, what is it that, you mentioned the idea that international organizations could be focusing on developing capacity building in India. What is it concretely that they could be doing? Is it that they need to be just identifying advocates who are willing to do it themselves? Is it that they need to be providing coordination and resources to support advocates to actually make good on the opportunities they already have. What is the, the act, the intervention that could actually be sort of done by international organizations or some organization based in India, what could be done,
Raising funds for animal welfare within the country is super hard and especially for doing policy work right? As in it's pretty easy, I would say pretty easy liquid sampling for any of the culture and of in India. Uh, you're comparatively easier to raise funds than to say, well, I need money to set up a, a cleaning center for legislators or like policy enforcers or prosecutors in the country. Right. So I would say picking up a key districts as key States and having resources a central, that particular district identifying key people there, uh, upskilling them. Like, you know, just like there really is not capacity, uh, amongst like the enemy prediction jobs or even advocates, right. As in just sometimes it can be as simple as like, for example, a primer on the freedom of information act. Cause then what does it mean?
How do you use it? I feel like there's sometimes where a lot of it that we presume that people know they don't. Uh, and I think that's again true with Lego spec earlier conversation. Like you want to imagine that the procurement manager knows what Keech V is, but that's just a presumption that we have without actually checking. But the fact that sometimes when you called there Dawn, so just to kind of, I identified these key people whose heart is in the right place by providing them tools. And again, I would, I would be very, I think I would do the same mistake of headquarters knows best if I said that we just need to build this one skill to everybody. I would imagine that every case is going to be different, but there's going to be some amount of commonalities running focus groups, understanding what each of these communities need and uh, and building this and looking at it from a longterm process as in not as a kid, year on year campaign, but to say from now to five years, seven years, 10 years, how do I build an enough cohort of actors who know what the tool is or know what the [inaudible] is, who are able to build a strong government based movement for animal welfare in the region.
And the reason I emphasize so much on governments is because the civil society, I heavily districted in many of these jurisdictions and it's very hard to believe you work without competent support and just, uh, accepting and accepting and dealing with it is probably a good thing. And, uh, I'd try to use the system, uh, to help animals take the governmental system to help animals is important.
Yeah. So do you have any thoughts about if these advocates, potential advocates already exists, the effective animal advocacy community could seek to identify and support those advocates who might be well suited to work on animal advocacy and developing capacity building locally or that sort of thing? Like how can we identify those individuals?
I guess there's really no silver bullet measure as to how you could identify some. Like isn't like a database. But I do feel like a lot of it is just reference and a lot of times in the info emails of a lot of these groups, right? Um, you do get people writing in asking for response and many of times what they really get is of fibrous once, you know what I mean? Like there's somebody who was saying, how can I help? I need help. And then you get a farmer sponsored say good website. I feel like, and again I'm no expert in social mobilization, but I do feel like I'm prediction groups or we're all in info email having like a ton of information or like people who have written in and would probably be a good starting point to cultivate potential supporters and it really needs support us.
I don't mean people who can be acquired onto a house fine for monthly giving, but like actually see can, can they be actually acquired to be people who can act on it because a lot of time what it's happening is that when a, when an email comes into an info file or something, you want to kind of cultivate them, but he wanted to cut through them to become a monthly donor or a monthly killer, but to kind of say, well, it's not just about being a monthly giver or a monthly donor, but what we would really want to do is reach out to them, provide for tools in language that they could possibly read and understand and start cultivating. I would say the info emails of all groups is a great starting point+.
Yeah. Great. That sounds like a really useful practical tip to get started in that process. Almost the idea of there being this kind of body of like we use the term low hanging fruit for companies but low hanging fruit of potential activists here who have already reached out to organizations and express an interest. Uh, and maybe some, some efforts there to actually just acts on that interest in support them to, to take.
Yeah, like for example, sometimes you have an email, right that says I want to start a shelter. Can you give us a grant? Right. As an, it's like if you were to ask for anybody who was manning an info email for any group, like this is probably one the most common thing and I'm sure even within the EA community, like if you're looking at an EA grant or something. If it's bigger, well-known, you probably get this kind of thing. Right. And the typical response would be that a wellbeing don't be another grant making body. We don't give grants to shelters or you know what I mean? Like this is how we can help and stuff like that. The conversation goes to agree at saying that it's great that you want to do is do a shelter, but maybe can we start off on something really, um, local in fact, and, and, and kind of say what's the, what's the, the issue like sometimes just speaking up a phone and speaking.
No, again, I must say when I said the initial time, this is time consuming and resource incentive as it is a tractable on a landscape. Probably not, but it might be if, if all the major groups where they'll come and say, well this is so was also said, this is where we want to do it. And a concerted effort could possibly happen. But uh, but it's, it's hard as then you don't kind of get, um, uh, like a big response, like in a sense that you don't really get that tractability of solutions to sway. But I can looking at stuff like, uh, within the ear community bankers in bed nets that we give that, that is given out there, there are foot soldiers who will go out and kill these bed nets. Right. Car like giving deworming it isn't like there is a deworming kit that you could offer online and then it just comes to you and then you just define yourself as in there, the people who are going to deworm right.
So I feel like it's, we underestimate the value of having a ambassadors on the ground doing stuff. And I would say my general outlook has been -- and broadly what Humane Society International did for the longest period of time and continues to. And obviously I'm not with the organisation and can't speak for them, but it is to kind of be this, uh, build this network and have a huge amount of my focus while I ran the humane society international India was to build as uh, extremely localized solutions to problems
[inaudible]. Okay. Yeah. Another concern that was mentioned, this was mentioned in animal charity evaluators report on India. They mentioned this. So according to some of our interviewees, people don't tend to consider animal advocacy a viable career choice in India. Yeah. Do you have any thoughts on what might be on, any thoughts on interventions that could be used to address that attitude towards animal advocacy in India?
I think that kind of just overall goes to increasing the profile of animal welfare itself, right? Uh, in fact even in animal advocacy. I would say that a lot of people don't even consider the professional veterinary medicine as you want a real profession. Right? So as it is a saying that says that you want to be a doctor, you can't be a doctor, you want to be a dentist, you can't be a dentist and you can't be a physical person, you can be a physiotherapist. Then you finally get into a vet school, which is which there is a really dedicated bunch of veterinarians. It's the way it's kind of happened is that the veterinary service has somehow become interlinked with animal husbandry and animal productions. So people don't necessarily see this as an animal welfare thing.
all they want to say, Oh, can you help us increase milk production? Right. So I guess like just increasing the profile of animal welfare itself kind of goes hand in hand. And I would say a lot of the times when I was faced with the fact as to whether my time had to be spent doing companion animal work, it was less for the fact that it was reducing suffering, but more to the fact that it led the work was to increase profile of animals overall. But in the societal structure, um, there are some animals in India like cows whose societal structure is extremely high, but it's less to do with their welfare, but more to do with the religion and religious aspect that's involved and should not be confused with animal welfare because it's purely based on utility value of the cow in itself and home value within the system.
So, uh, so I guess like it's building the profile of animal welfare and also building capacity. Again, because qual goes back to capacity building of local animal protection groups has to pay a decent wage to have insurance to have a decent food, a place to stay. And, and all of that again goes back to resources. It's it's cycle, but I guess like I don't think you can, there's one magic solution to it, but overall, building the profile of animal welfarer. And again, uh, uh, sort of, so having, having a nice looking office, having benefits packages, that's attractive. So people start seeing animals welfare as part of a societal change. And especially in India, this is very difficult, right? As an animal welfare is so much getting linked with right wing activism and when there's a lot of progress of activists are left the unit writers, not necessarily with animal welfare, we're doing food and look at um, any, uh, any social movement. You kind of see that the actors tend to be on the left where there's animal, the benefit is in India is the associated that extreme right wing Hindu activism. And I guess like it is the responsibility of the animal production community in India to rebrand it as a mainstream, um, middle part rather than how it's seen as an extreme brightening. Something started attracting, uh, activists who are maybe left winning to start considering animal welfare as a career option.
Okay. And you're more optimistic about the idea of reaching out to left wing groups rather than just running with the idea that yeah. Although you don't necessarily endorse some of the actions that are associated with the right wing groups. Uh, I wonder, yeah, I just, it's, it's almost like a reverse of a problem that we have in, in Western countries where there's this association and potentially excessive association with the left wing. And I just wonder whether there's more potential for some sort of nonpartisan approach that also taps into some of that right wing interest, albeit not explicitly endorsing, say, the nationalist argument.
Right. I think like there's, it's one thing to just be politically right and it's another thing to be like a Hindu nationalist to be right. Right. As in like, there's a still difference, a different there. Uh, and again, it's not just being right and dumps up all animals. It's like being totally with relation to cow and being equated to cow production. And when they left me, I don't even do like left-wing activist groups. I just mean people who are just left leaning, right? So they might not necessarily be part of a radical, like a group, right. Other than like a feminist group or whatever. It doesn't, you don't necessarily have to be that to be left leaning as, and you just have people who are, who taught him probably left-leaning. And I guess they, that they, they're in the sweet spot to be attracted to animal welfare. And it's important that we rebrand, animal welfare neither to be right, neither to be left in the center, maybe right. Left of center. Uh, but, uh, or overall all within the Indian, uh, social movement. And, but I, I wouldn't necessarily think that this is true for Asia overall, but this is a problem.
yeah. Just for benefit of listeners, there's a wider debate about the extent to which and the animal advocacy movement should align itself with the political left wing or retain a kind of nonpartisan focus. And usually I, and this is again, this is something we've summarized the evidence for and our foundational questions summary page. Usually I find myself leaning towards advocating for more nonpartisan focus, but I'm less certain about the optimal strategy when it comes to India. Yeah. Especially with this concern about running the risk of sort of of encouraging Hindu nationalism or encouraging persecution of minorities, that sort of thing. But I don't know. So like another example of something that was more focused on a kind of potentially right-wing approach was I saw on HSI India's blog from 2017 there was a post with the subtitle, cruelty animals, and in the antithesis of Indian culture, it seems like that kind of softer view of appealing to cultural traditions seems more promising and less and less concerning in that sense. You got any thoughts on that sort of messaging framework?
There's a growing sense of nationalism, right. And a lot of the time, and I think that blog, if I'm, if my memory serves me, don't was in context to Jallikatu and bullfighting and bull taming and stuff like that. Am I right on that?
Yeah, I think so. Yeah. It wasn't so much the content of the article is just the general framing.
The question really there was that culturally bull fighting or animal sacrifice and that does have been part of it. And what was kind of seen was that any legislation or even court order to private, it was seen as an attack on the culture itself and sometime a attack on one particular religion or one particular language or culture that's associated with that particular language.
So it's to broadly frame saying that, well, why is, there might have been some of these traditions that have been more, but it's, which I'm not necessarily copied to left, right. If for example, he needs to be the only common in India for [inaudible] to be bond like the study. Uh, and what do you kind of saw wasn't like a guerrilla left movement that outlawed... Legislation that was brought in and lobbied by people who were a bit of left-leaning but on the center of the, on the political spectrum to outlaw it. So there is definitely a change where we've seen that, uh, it's to kind of go back to say, well we might have the, there's culture, there are some practices, but there are some essential tenet of, of, of a particular religion and and then to go back and see that whether if some of these practices be it in relation to cockfighting, bull fighting slaughter practices, animal sacrifices are the really the essential elements.
And also are these essential tenets set in stone or do they kind of get a reframed as things change like for example, let's say the concept of Ahimsa itself in Hinduism is something that probably Jainism and Buddhism came in and that there was there was, it is pretty common for animal sacrifice for happen in Temple's across, in fact, our mythological stories have a fire sacrifice where horses and other animals are being burnt alive for sacrifice. But you kind of saw that there was a Hindu religious reform movement to move away from animal sacrifice, more of it from some of these kinds of practices, uh, where, uh, you know, polygamy was kind of abolished and stuff like that. So, so what you kind of see is that that is, is to say that an essential tenet of religion on an essential tenet of a culture is not necessarily set in stone and needs to get altered as society changes and yet, so it's not necessarily an attack on culture, but it's to kind of say that the culture is just keeps evolving because there isn't like one culture or one tenant of any religion. Does that make sense?
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Really interesting point. I want to move back to something you mentioned earlier. You were talking about the idea of focusing on companion animals and working animals as a kind of method for capacity building in India. And the idea at being more tractable to make some concrete progress there and then that therefore being a good sort of foot in the door for animal advocacy movement building in general is a really interesting point. And I, I just want to outline some context here, uh, for listeners and just the extent to which there is a focus on companion animals. So having a quick scheme of HSI, India's Facebook page, it appears that it's still quite a substantial proportion of the organization's posts and work continues to focus on companion animals and yeah, also ACEs report on India, they noted that according to an interview they had with somebody from HSI, India of the 20,000 to 30,000 animal advocacy organizations operating in India, more than 90% focus their work on protecting street dogs.
So there's this astounding number of animal advocacy organizations, but they have this focus on dogs and companion animals. Yeah. And then if we contrast this to the, this sort of compelling argument that work on farmed animals will in most scenarios be more cost effective than work on companion animals. Mainly because it's so much more neglected. There's far less funding focusing on that work and yet the scale of suffering is so much larger. Yeah. I find your, your argument that it's a useful foot in the door compelling but do it would have to be supported by really concrete targeted efforts to funnel that interest into interest for farmed animals as well. And my guess would be that just just by how, how neglected farmed animal advocacy seems to be compared to companion animal advocacy, uh, that that's not being sufficiently done, I guess. Why do you think that there's continues to be that such extensive focus on companion animals?
A big chunk of the animal protection groups in India are dog, cats, or cow welfare's, there's a big chunk of the big chunk of the number that was coded is all also gaushallas, which basically are infirmaries where spent cows are housed as in welfare-wise is possibly horrible, but did something that's really common and you find them across the country. So there's dog, cats and cows. My argument is not to count the cow will let go, shall as assignable benefactors because they mostly are motivated by religion and they kept with therefore religion. But they're gonna be people who would say, well, it doesn't matter what your motivation is as long as the animal welfare is taken care of. But I have my, my response to that is that the net life of most of these animals in these gaushallas is negative.
I would say some of these animals are probably like not leading a good life in any of these businesses and they're literally standing in maybe feces, uh, hoping for somebody to come and give food. So I wouldn't necessarily think that the welfare of these animals, these infirmaries have any high at all as far as dogs and cats are concerned, as in, in India, there are a ton of street dogs, right and a lot of the, like the dogs, dogs and cats everywhere and a lot of ski dogs. So when you walk on the street, the suffering is extremely evident. So, and the something that is not just evident with relation to street dogs. But it's also evident with relation to chicken meat. It's evident to slaughter houses like this entire argument of if slaughterhouses had glass walls to where it would be vegetarian would not hold good for India at all because slaughter houses have no walls in India selecting literally you could must be there Saturday or Sunday when they want to eat it is to go to a live bird shop, select the bird that they want to kill.
It's killed right in front of them dressed and given in a bag and they come back home and cook and eat. So it's not like that is a cognitive dissociation between the meat that one eats and the animal that is actually killed far the same. Now with that being in mind as it seems that a lot of the times it's actually not even association of the suffering of dogs and cats. As in, generally, we ended up saying that, Oh, people tend to be more compassionate to dogs and cats, but I would broadly say, that's not necessarily true as an in, The number of dogs who have mange, who either have met with an accident, have maggot wounds and suffering on the streets are so high and people just continue with their day to day life because they don't even kind of absorb it because it's just, it's all a overwhelming, I would imagine from the brain's point of view and your brain just shuts down to see all of the suffering because if you're going to get affected for every single mangy dog or a dog with a maggot that you see, but you're trying to work from home, you would basically be paralysed and do no work at all.
So to me it seems sad. Why? Why are you focusing on street dogs is to say, well, it seems like very easy species for people to like for whatever reason historically, evolution. It isn't. And if you would just maybe start getting to see that there is some amount of suffering and kindness type, get the interest. It's probably important to get that. And then you slowly start developing into a farm animals and things like that. So let's say on a Facebook page, on a Twitter page, it's way more easier to say, you know what, uh, somebody tried to kill a dog and somebody tried to poison it and me giving like a hundred thousand to be a wife and any information about it, it gets shared, it gets like, and then kind of you use that as a way back and you not the reader or your audience to say, well now that you acquired them on a low hanging fruit, then you kind of start doing this.
And I think that kind of kicks well with overall on the theory of nudge itself and like how social engineering works really well when you nudge people on the right now the problem that I generally feel is that a lot of groups would just focus on street dogs and cats, forget the nudge and forget to wear the fall. And so you'll kind of acquire supporters or by followers. And as a matter of fact, the times when you went to reach out to street dog groups or like there's this; I'm not going to name an organization? They've got all you do, only big, uh, legendaries dog and cat and, but if an organization in India, uh, and who run this mega shelter in a big city and I remember approaching them saying that he, Oh, what do you want to do some advocacy work on battery cages?
And they were like, no, we don't want to do any. And it was like, why? And they're like, Oh well a big chunk of I our supporters are meat eaters and if we did anything like this, it would, would just basically upset our board, upset our staff and others. And to me, I feel like that's where the problem really is. I said, that isn't anything fundamentally wrong in acquiring a somebody on a, on an issue that's easier then upselling the issue, right? As in marketing company, you do that all the time as in you buy something easy. Then by the end of the checkout, there's a top up and by the end of the second chunk of does the top of, then you get another email saying to do want to extend your subscription. And I did not just to do things that we do it all the time.
It's my fundamental problem really is that when, when the, the acquisition happens, but the groups are not willing to go forward with the nudge, uh, on farm animal issues. And uh, and I, I guess I guess, uh, the humane society, international India, uh, it was one of the few organization that kind of brought in and didn't continue to nudge on more difficult issues like fall dental. So you kind of see that when you go down the Twitter stream or Facebook stream there is information on factory farming. There's information on , animal testing so that you kind of acquire it and then you start upselling many other causes. Maybe there are a few followers or few supporters that you can they be acquired on what complex issues like animals they're seeing or are farmed animals. But at least in my experience, I don't think that's the majority of the goat herd that exists on online to acquire.
Yeah, really interesting idea of it being great to do. As long as there's that clear nudging into the a and that kind of followup into those other key cause issues and almost the idea that maybe outreach to other animal advocacy organizations that don't incorporate any content on farmed animal advocacy might be promising. I just, yeah, I mean my initial thought is, and, and, and your, your story shares the same concern I guess is that it's not very tractable because organizations have these, they have this mindset where, uh, that's where their funding comes from or that's where their interest comes from. And so shifting any focus towards farmed animals would be really difficult. Okay. So let's zoom out a little bit and thinking still about India. Um, it's an, I mean, you've been working in animal advocacy in the animal African movement in the country or involved with it for about 20 years. Uh, cause you started working with Peter as a campaign intern in the year 2000. So that's a long time. What are some of the main changes you've noticed to the animal advocacy movement in India in that time?
So I would say plant-based, options were always available in India because like is huge or whatever today in population. Right. But I guess like when it comes to analogs, yeah, I've seen that the market has really moved fairly well in the past 20 years. Like, uh, you know, like I remember going into grocery stores and not finding any sort of nut milk or any side of plant based and meat analogs or, uh, animal source protein analogs within the market. So there's definitely been an evolution in that in the country, which I think is a good thing. There's also draws in policy based animal welfare organizations. So it could be, Oh, people find a little such as like, uh, one of the country's largest animal events that organization focused on street dogs and cats and carbon fair has now set up a people for animals, public policy foundation under the leadership of a very able advocate.
[inaudible], uh, and they're doing a ton of legislation. Uh, what he wants to see is like, I remember like my most favourite story is that in the year 2000 when I started volunteering for animals, I was just out of high school like, and uh, India had been banned dancing bears like, so it's extremely common in India to see, uh, bears being useful performance on the streets. And uh, so in Bangalore, the city that I grew up in, uh, we found two dancing bears. Uh, so naively called the police saying that, Hey, do you want to come and help? And the policy come and they brought the forest forces and confiscated these two bears. And, uh, we went to the court tech say, where before a magistrate with the prosecution or the trial were to happen and the magistrate was like, the Prevention of cruelty to animals act.
He hadn't even heard about the act that there was something called his Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, even though it existed since 1960. So it was 40 years since the law that was passed. It wasn't part of the curriculum that it had. I remember that he said that, Oh well it's an animal that you've confiscated and it's a perishable good and according to the criminal procedure in India. If you're confiscate a patient records, you need to auction them. So he was like, do you want to just auction these animals? And for the longest period of time when animals, like especially cattle and horses ere being confiscated, the court would just order them to be auction and uh, the slaughter houses would just buy them back on. Illegal transporters would just buy them back. Uh, so changed the past few years. Now there is a provincial cruelty to animals Act, case property animal rule, which now prohibits auctioning of animals, who are caught, who kind of say that the position of the animal pending litigation cannot be given back to the accused.
It has to be kept by the state. Or kept at an animal protection organization. The national judicial Academy, which is like a training Academy for judges in India. The state judicial academies are all started to have regular courses on animal welfare to public prosecutors and now are way more aware. So I would say that in the past 20 years there definitely has been a lot of progress for animals. It's now illegal to test cosmetics on animals. It's now illegal to import cosmetics testing on animals in India. India has banned shark finning and also exportable. Any shark fins at all. It was one of the largest shark finning nations in the world, uh, India has banned dual testing of uh, uh, genomic drugs and even on the spirit of battery cages. I think just the fact that a court has said that confining these animals is illegal and no new battery cage facilities can come in, be that, that says to me that the enforcement is very lag.
I feel that for one of the top three egg producers in the world for a constitutional court to say that you can confining them os, wrong. And you cannot be as in no new facilities tend to come in. It's in itself is pretty huge. So I would say that there's been a phenomenal change for the animals, which is really good. But I would say the only regret that I have is that the deploying Hindu nationalism and we've been fed is now being more than war associated with him to fundamentalism. And they hoped that there was some way, but it is that part of the story. But overall our team that things had been really well for animals that are past two decades in India.
Great. Yes. Um, some promising stuff there. Going back to our conversation about enforcement and uh, and enforcement through capacity building with the idea that some of the enforcement and progress has made through the development of kind of, uh, or at least the introduction of awareness about the existing laws to the legal training and that kind of institutionalization of enforcement in that sense. You mentioned also that the idea that you'd started, and I've see just out of of high school, how did you first become involved in, and obviously how did you hear about it? How did you almost become recruited in that sense?
So I wish I had like a heart warming story. I don't like, I didn't like, I like, I never had a companion animal in my life. I still like, it's not like a kind of like a, I know like people say and I like a really heartwarming story with a companion animal that they've had. It was just, I have no, so I have not equally collection as for how it happened. I remember that a friend of mine and be like [inaudible] who in fact now runs, the country's only freely I really, the country's firs free-range farm and a few others have come in. Uh, we, we basically went like, what do we do with we were out of high school? We had a huge break before college started and the pre-university call had started and so we were like, what did we do? And he decided to just go in, um, meet with somebody who was running an animal protection group. Quite People For Animals and just one thing after the other. And um, yeah, it's 20 years from now I'm here setting up Global Food Partners. So yeah, I really don't have a heart-melting story.
No, we don't need heart melting. Yeah. Just interested in, in, I guess the logic behind the question, apart from general interest is, is thinking about the possibilities for, like we were talking about earlier, the idea of how organizations can reach out to potentially interested individuals and, and also I'm interested in the idea of not just advocacy, sorry, sorry, advocates beginning their advocacy journeys, but also how organizations get set up and how that, that process starts. Do you have any thoughts on, or are you aware of how Peter, India and HSI, India was started and who set them up and who, whether that was, was it local Indians or was it people from, from other countries coming over and intentionally setting up the organization?
Yeah, I definitely had to study for what the organization for PETA India, Michael Fox, um, and who used to work for the humane society. Uh, was it an India with his wife and they were traveling in Uti and Southern India and they saw a whole lot of illegal transport that was happening. And I think they made a video of it, went and circulated the video in the United States, uh, Ingrid Newkirk, uh, happened to see this video and then she decided to come to India and she filmed this really famous video, which was narrated by Pamela Anderson, lead them like back in 99 or 2000 and a was a call for a global boycott of Indian leather. And I guess like that kale, one thing get to the other, which founded people for the ethical treatment of animals. And um, yeah, so I guess like [inaudible] people find the ethical treatment of animals initially was run by maybe two US people like Jason Baker who now runs a PETA Asia Pacific based out of Manila and a admin who now is with FARM Forward. Uh, so I guess, uh, and then later on Sahani who kind of just took over and ran the organization for a long period of time. So I guess that's where people for the ethical treatment of animals as far as humane society international goes. Uh, Humane Society international was involved with providing support to local animal prediction groups under street dog, uh, program [inaudibile] who used to run the humane society internationals farmed animals, decided to come to India. And uh, and she in fact I would say was a pioneer of building capacity of the local clubs on farm animal issues. So she was instrumental in helping found the Federation of Indian animal production organization. They make it focused on it and I bumped into her in one of these conferences at Biolase just to vote for Beto then and one thing you have to the other. And uh, I moved from PETA to Humane Society to found humane society international India.
Okay, great. Yeah. Interesting. With the, this involvement from, with people from outside India and yeah, I mean just genuinely, my guess is that it's preferable to have local advocates who are more familiar with the cultural context and perhaps more, uh, more able to just just in various ways find it easier to do that capacity building work. And yeah, just interesting. The idea that is is, is possible at least in in in the Indian context to have those external international organizations come in and set up work, but also, yeah, I dunno. Do you share my impression that being able to identify those local advocates who are talented, dedicated, well-suited to starting up organizations is far preferable and is also a substantial bottleneck to the growth of the animal advocacy movement in India and other Asian countries? I guess
I agree. I think, I think there's probably nothing more key than doing that and also, and I keep going back, is that organizations, especially when new staff come in, in the leadership and headquarters tend to have the headquarters knows best syndrome and to say, well, why aren't we doing this? Why I'd be doing that? But if you should be doing this globally, I think there's this, I don't know, like maybe romanticism of deal with harmonization, but then the groups, because they said, well, you know, having a uniform messaging for the organization that are the glow. Sadly, unified messaging does not work because the world is not uniform. I guess like, um, I guess human society International that few early right things on just like building capacity locally, giving a lot more autonomy. But I would, my, my solution has the like it'd be it, I know for a fact that like for example, mercy for animals has now, uh, [inaudible] a local managing director, good food Institute, letting the countries to work for [inaudible] and eat the good food Institute as well on dish finding who runs this fabulous, uh, person who's now been able to take the learnings of
the good food Institute and localize it to Indian context. So at the current manager director of HSI India has is from India. I look back in ourself, I guess like a lot of the successful organizations, animal protection organizations in India have been able to find key. But to me I can say as a world of unsolicited advice for any international group that wants to kind of come in, are you an existing groups is still a giveaway? The headquarters knows.
Okay, great. What about with the, so we haven't spoken about Global Food Partners for while in terms of global food partners work in other Asian countries. You mentioned you work in various countries, Japan, Indonesia, etc. Is this idea of a lack of dedicated well-placed advocates or people who are I guess or maybe not necessarily even just a lack of them, a lack of ability to actually identify and reach out to those people. Is that also a bottleneck for your work in those countries as an organization?
So Global Food Partners is a bit different from other animal protection groups or advocacy groups we are then. But there's definitely a bottleneck on trying to find, let's say on farm managers who have the capacity to raise words in cage free. And another one of the things that we are doing is setting up off a training center, uh, a model farm. Uh, so that the build capacity as well. So, but then definitely I do agree that it might not be the lack of an animal advocacy that directly impacts us because we are not necessarily in the animal advocacy business overall. But when it comes to just subletting managers, veterinarians on farm support, it's the fact that there is a lack of animal welfare and knowledge within this community is a problem and that's something that we want to focus and ensure that that that kind of exists because like a farmer who wants to go cage-free, it's obvious it's going to discuss with a veterinarian with whom she consults to say, Hey, we're planning to go cage-free.
If the veterinarian does not have the capacity and if the veterinarian says, Oh my God, don't do that. There's going to be a mega feather pecking in the farm. It's going to be a cannibalism outbreak and you're going to lose all the money. Then the fire is not going to be brave enough to want to more so I guess the build of confidence within the reptilian saying be cognizant that feather pecking can be an issue in a cage-free facility. You know, if you don't let the birds understand how be useful or decal hype, a kid, one fracture can be an issue. In a cage-free facility. However, these are all management issues that can be circumvented by building capacity and it just giving the confidence that one could do it is it's extremely essential and that's what Global Food Partners is going to focus on.
Okay. We've, I mean we spoke there about the idea of international and advocacy groups folks sort of expanding into other countries. What about individuals say an individual from a wealthy Western country who's talented, excited about and excited about maybe moving to a another country, moving to an Asian country, doing an intensive course in the language and then going to work for global food partners or or a comparable organization. Would you be excited about that sort of career route if they were well-placed to work on a, if, if you thought they might potentially be a great candidate for a particular role or would you just encourage them to focus on say maximizing their income in their country and donating it to food partners or other or nonprofits in working in advocacy in Asian countries?
I guess it depends on what the skill set is, right? For example, if, if somebody is a physician, like a like a human physician, an MD and says, Oh, well I want to work for animals and like comes and like tries to build a skill of running a supply chain and like, whereas you could literally hire a person all has skills and sublet chain for money. I would imagine that you're probably better off in earning and giving so that you're able to hire, right? Uh, it depends on like what your cave is. However, if you are a well-seasoned supply chain manager who's loved for MegaFood businesses in Latin America, in, in Europe, and you'd really know the food businesses supply chain really well and you say, you know what, I want to come and help you guys with your established institutions with different traceability models that they are offering.
Obviously I guess like that's going to be really helpful as an L a and I guess that's one of the meanings is like we decided to move in saying that we have a certain amount of skill set but we can upskill ourselves and continue to do all the actual work. So the question that really comes in is that what's is to map once on skill set and say, is this skill set something that can be hired locally? If yes, I am able to make enough money where I am to hire one of those sort of sources, but if I do think that the skill set is absolutely necessary, it's not something that can be hired locally with any amount of money. Can it makes just sense. For example, you have there is an animal behaviorist who was an expert in laying hen welfare and if he just wants to move Indonesia, Singapore, and China learn the language and say, you know what?
I'm going to be doing animal behavior work. I think that really that does make sense because there is a lack of that gap. So I guess like, uh, if there's anybody I've listeners to wonder who are considering their career path, what we could do as work with them to figure out what's the current skill set. Is there a talent gap here? Is that talent gap that can be something that filled with additional financial assessors or is the talent needs to be water one country to the other and then you'll make that particular choice. But I do know like many people who say a really nice investment banker decided to move to Thailand do work like, I don't know, clean kennels in a dog shelter in Thailand. I'm not saying that cleaning dog shelters is a bad thing. It's just that if you're an investment banker, you could potentially hire a hundred people in Thailand and keep that shelter spic and span rather than you flying in yourself.
Yeah, that seems like a fairly clear trade off. In that particular example. Um, I'm thinking more say somebody who is, hadn't, haven't yet decided what they're going to focus their university education on or something like that. And I'm also, um, yeah. You mentioned there the idea of there being particular skill sets. What are the skill sets that you think are most in need either for global food partners working in various Asian countries or just for, I mean you can focus on India if you'd like, but what, what skill sets would be most helpful to kind of ship in from other countries?
So for Global Food Partners' point of view, uh, uh, definitely veterinarians who understand animal welfare, uh, especially if as in not just animal, if I mean like rearing birds and cage free environment, understanding cage-free flock management and some of the challenges that come with this and mitigating, uh, we have Kate who works with us, uh, but we have like one resource person to cover the entire kitchen and that's really hard.
So definitely if, if our listeners are somebody who has like a PhD in laying hen welfare or if you're considering a PhD or something to that end, you're on laying hen welfare is something that we definitely feel like not just with laying hen, be it with relation to broilers, animal culture. Just there is a need for more animal scientists in this particular field bead with relation to whether you have like a pure science background, veterinary background and also folks who understand supply chain and sustainability within supply chains and trying to organize complex supply chains and bringing in [inaudible] farms. Within that. I would, I would probably expect these two as top careers, uh, who would make the most impact if they did decide to move to Asia.
Yeah. This idea of managing supply chains. This is interesting because it's almost a, from your, your own career path, something that you've kind of shifted a bit more into I think at least, uh, given your, you had a bit, you had a campaigns background when you were at PETA and for some time at HSI India, but now your, your role is as chief operating officer and so it's a bit of a shift towards kind of that operations role. Have you got any thoughts on what makes great operations staff? And I guess it's maybe slightly, it's different working for an organization like Global Food partners and working in industry obviously, but I guess there's some commonalities there. Any thoughts on the skills that, yeah, just what makes great operations staff.
Okay. So when we co-founded and wanted to take on different roles we could take, I raised, I said that I wanted to call the operations. I think the two aspects of that one is just the operations of like outside to the client that we are offering. And I speak to that later. But I also do feel like operations bottleneck can be a great impediment for success for any opposition. But then right, ensuring that contracts are turned around on time, explicit reports are paid. We have systems set to make life of staff easy because even like cutting down searing one hour or two hours a day through any efficient staff person, it just really adds up when you really look at like a person's Katy or an even like a year or two. And, um, I, uh, I've had times where I've honed and then I'm sure I think it's a common trait that you kind of healer, but animal protection movement.
Even in mega organizations where the program, there's is like a divide or siloing between program staff and operation staff internally. Uh, be it the accounting office or like HR and stuff like that. So where you've raised money to raise a position, but the HR will not fill it up for whatever few months time or things like that. So I decided to sell it that as an operations role because I was like, you know, being on the programmatic side, I do understand that. So how frustrating it can be to like, you know, be out of pocket for a few weeks time because you've got been able to send away at out and stuff like that. So, so at global Food Partners my role is to ensure that there's absolutely no bottleneck. That then operations cleared, uh, for doing good. And all our staffs have the best soft of it infrastructure and support be it with relation to communication.
And everything else associated with it to, uh, to do the best. Good. So I guess that's something that's a role that I have. Uh, I could write a book about what could be wrong in operations. So I'm just kind of saying that, okay, can I just make this right and get global food Partners and also building the right culture of inclusivity for all staff. And I think that that's something that I'm fairly passionate about, uh, as just starting off very foundationally. And also it's also interesting because, you know, we kind of find the founders, so we are not necessarily answering and seeking permission to, uh, do something. So it gives us a lot more freedom to experiment on and do. And also because we are like a new organization, we have the agility to kind of adapt. And like for example, like a lot of people were like, Oh, you're a startup.
What's your business plan? And like, Oh, we, we have an idea as to what we do when we don't have a written dance silence, sign a business plan. Because at this particular point of time, the business plan is a fictional document because like we could where they just suck. So many unknowns a worker you want to be doing is have key to sentences written down and keep revisiting it. Not on a six month basis. I'd like revisiting it irregularly so that we have agility in operations. So I guess that's the operation doll. And the second part of the operations is with relation to just servicing the client to ensure that the front facing with global food partners is pretty smooth of the Island. The uh, the uh, understanding, uh, what the different countries requirement is. For example, let's say you're writing a technical report on transitioning from case to case free within our Southern countries where it's almost impossible to find a neighbor.
Like you just cannot find anybody because you just have so much labor and like the, the society's bent in such really to kind of fire, uh, anybody but the modern kids because if he's sometimes competent automated menu or boat automated feed collection belt, so where the number of labor required would automatically drop. And the farmer is like, well, I cannot find anybody. I just need to be doing this. So a going back and saying that, well, it's not just taking a model of an aviary system and giving it to a country like Vietnam, I'd say go ahead and set it is to say, well, how can I localize this to fit within the social, economic and political aspect of that particular country? As in I know that there are certain places where they say, well, we can't have a temperature controlled facility because there's really no electricity.
The electricity costs off for the car, like what do we do? So it's to say, okay, can we like to sign an open house on the sides for the birds so you're able to do this? I guess a lot of that particular operations very I've worked with the producers is to do and also setting up and running of the book and claim a credit rating system that I spoke about. It was a huge amount of operations as well and trying to get the buyers as well as the farmers on board trying to broker a good deal. Amongst both of them, they're able to speak and to ensure that none of this comes off is even remotely anti competitive or is antitrust like in a sense like, you know, just to ensure that we are building competition within rather than creating an environment of antitrust within our markets. I guess like all of these complex, these come in and I totally enjoy, this role. Its been a really uphill Learning curve. But, uh, but it's really interesting.
Yeah. What are some of the ways that, well, obviously it's been a bit of a shift in terms of your personal focus. So if you've got any thoughts about ways that, to develop that, the relevant skillset in terms of resources or experiences. And again, going back to the idea of talented, excited people trying to work out how to use their careers to, to help animals, if they were interested in working in a similar area, what would be some of the best ways you'd recommend that they built up their expertise with that sort of,
right. So I guess like, uh, the key issue they said is, um, to kind of use the explore, exploit algorithm in one's life, especially if you're early career, because I know like a lot of time and I used to teach a credit course of animal lie in like few universities in India and like students would come up and say, well, I want to beat this in life. And like, it's really early on, like, you know, like, uh, but I would say maybe it sounds really cool to say that cynical, you're so done lined with, uh, like have the grit to want to do something. But I feel like, uh, it's extremely important that you explore a different thing, especially in early career. So for example, I think I explored on a multiple aspects being with like, people for the Ethical treatment of animals and being on like the activist side, working with humane society, which just like more mainstream.
And while I was working on both of these issues to kind of like, I've worked very closely on the leather supply chain in India and trying to improve the leather supply chain. Then left some models slaughterhouses and stuff. like that. So all I want to, what we put the kind of founders that at this particular point of time then my career capital has peaked is when I want to go back and say, well off all the things that I did, reforming supply chains was something that I really liked and was most impactful. And it's, there's a need for it. And I want to take kind of explain that for my career capital, I guess like if you're early stage, it's important that you kind of explained to you develop this career capital and then look back and kind of do it. That's what worked for me and I'm copying that maybe it will work for others as well.
Yeah. Just, was there anything in particular that you think was, would be hugely, you mentioned explore and exploit anything that you'd encourage people to explore if they're considering, uh, supply chain management and operations work as potential avenues for their careers.
So I would say maybe we look for other commodities, especially supply chain and operations or select the supply chain, look for other commodities like Palm, soy, sugar, electricity, uh, like all of these supply chains have had a tremendous environmental impact and have kind of either going in the right way or maybe seem like, Oh, I need to buy grapes. It might be worth to kind of take internship [inaudible]. And then also start maybe interning with poulty producers, trying to work with them to kind of understand what the situation is. There isn't best way rather than just travel call ahead and do it as in like, you could read as many books. What hasn't, that is a value in just doing stuff. So I guess, um, uh, it's extremely important to kind of figure out what did other movements do, right? What did other movements do wrong and what can be kind of learned from there and, uh, implemented for, to improve the life of birds or animals for them.
Cool. Yeah, some interesting concrete suggestions there. You've also, obviously, when you were managing director of HSI, India, you've had management and leadership responsibilities. Uh, do you have any thoughts about, yeah. About how people can best prepare for management leadership?
So I would say that if I had to rank my own management and if I, they just say India, like on one to 10, I would give myself four at best, uh, maybe I would give myself larger if I were to look at managing and leading, uh, campaigns on programs, when I think what's different than just managing and leading animal welfare, managing and leading an office overall, because I have no training at all, am like running an organization, you know what I mean? It is a of stuff. Uh, so I guess in hindsight, uh, uh, what would be really important is that there are people who are trained to run organisations. Um, it might just be better to kind of bring in HR executives, legal consultants, accountants and others who are really trained at the initial stage itself.
And I guess like, um, a lot of things, even if they're just saying just started to mainstream when we, for example, you find the right vendor to do appeared or it'd be find the right vendor to do with the HR policy, find the right vendor to do like the training for other stuff, deal with the harassment complaint. So whatever that comes sent. Right. So I would say that, uh, uh, if one has a chance of running the country office or does, rather than trying to build on the skill set within, it might just be that your, the draw is to identify the skills that's required and recruiting the right skills and you will literally playing the role of the master of an orchestra rather than playing all instruments yourself.
Okay. Interesting. The idea of this idea of sort of bringing in external experience from external context. When I've been speaking to some other managing leaders at other organizations, there's, there's quite often a strong preference for people working their way up from within organizations and sort of familiarity with the culture and familiarity with animal advocacy as opposed to sort of importing this external talent. Do you, it's interesting your suggestion kind of was almost the opposite of that, that you think the relevant expertise from external industries, it can be transported in. Would you agree with that?
I think so. I mean again it depends on what the position is, right? As an um, like for example, if you fill out an account and trade you really wonderful vegan cause aligned accountant or do you want an accountant who knows how to process in wise the most effective way? Right? And if you really have like a big accounting firm who knows, like this is a system and we will process this invoice within 24 hour slots you're submitting, it doesn't matter whether the particular account is cause aligned or not, just hire that person. However, if its a media spokesperson. However, well that particular media or spokesperson might have contacts for the world media if the media spokesperson is not cause aligned and it's not speaking like it's putting in the effort to understand the shoe and stick to the organization. The messaging that could be a problem.
So don't think there's a single approach saying that you're always from what internally are you always bring in external folks? So I guess like there are certain positions where you would want to kind of nurture that culture, bring in spend on building capacity. Again, maybe I can like to use the word capacity building like a million times in this podcast. But again, internal capacity building of the group because I feel like majority of the groups, like we spent very little time actually building capacity of our own staff meet with like for example how do you Slack and it goes and we just presumed that everybody knows how to use Slack and cause it's sometimes just let team this is how you use Slack is might be a good idea to do. Or like how do you develop an OKR and you're like, Oh let's all develop an OKR and lets retreat away and like what is an OKR, how do you say, what's an objective?
What's a key doesn't, how many measure these results are like how to run RCTs as, and these are skill sets that as a campaign or as you never know because like hold back, it's like nobody, right. So I guess like building capacity within so that you're able to, grow that is a good idea. But there probably also some of the roles where being constantly trained is not the most important thing. You really want it to be super efficient. So like a general counsel who was super efficient who is able to review a contract and turn it on it like in within 24 hours is great rather than a gender counsel who would say, well you know, you're sending to me, I have three protest to enter and I need to do like a direct action tomorrow. I might get to this contract like in four, five days from now.
You know what I mean? So I guess they are certain roles where you might want to hire extremely efficient outside staff, but if you end up lucky like how we got lucky where arch and your constant is not only efficient but also cause aligned that's fabulous. But if not, if not just hire the best for the roles were being classified as not absolutely essential.
Yeah. And to clarify, you think their management or leadership roles, I mean some cause alignment is, is obviously necessary, but you're optimistic that for those sorts of roles it would be possible to bring in external talent as long as there's this sort of minimum level of engagement and, and mission aligned.
Right. I agree. I think, I think so. Like I said, like there's times when people are like, Oh my God, uh, have you seen the new CFO? And like, I saw him eating a bucket of chicken and a chick fillet. And like it doesn't matter if he's CFO and if he's saving the organization's time and money. And even though if he's in the top or she's in the top of the supply chain within the pecking order, of an organization, uh, it doesn't matter. Like as long as they're in good CFO, it's okay. Uh, but I guess like there is a tendency within programmatic staff could be judgmental to say, Oh, how could we have a meat-eating CFO? I'm like, all you really need is a CFO saving time and resources. So that we are more efficient. It doesn't matter whether it's the CFO eats meat or not, but however, if that is like a director of programs who is like going to speak on, um, uh, puppy mills but like goes and orders puppies online, that's obviously a problem there. Right? Yeah.
Okay. Yeah, makes sense. Um, yeah, I mean there's plenty of other questions I'd love to ask you about your career and uh, your thoughts on capacity building. Keep using that word, but there's plenty more to talk it talk about, but we've run out of time unfortunately. So yeah. I'm just going to have to say thank you so much for joining us on the podcast, Jayasimha.
Yeah. And any of the listeners want to kind of set up a one to one and like, like disagree want to have more conversation, get my more thoughts and, and have any inputs for global food partners itself. I would... If there's some way you could like stick in my Calendly link or something on the podcast notes. I'd love to chat and kind of understand what it is, and I must say, I take those info emails very seriously, so anybody who writes and will definitely be responded to.
Okay, great. Yeah, we could definitely do that. Uh, any other place, uh, that you say the info emails, how should people best gain contacts apart from Calendly?
Uh, I would say, uh, uh, I'm happy to, give my email address so people could email me. Uh, that's probably when I with my crazy travel. The emails have probably the most easiest way.
All right. Well, yeah. Thanks again.
Thank you so much for having me on your show.
You're very welcome. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed this episode. You can subscribe to the sentience Institute podcast in iTunes, Stitcher, or other podcast app.