Last updated September 24, 2018.
The existing evidence on most of these topics is summarized in our Summary of Evidence for Foundational Questions for Effective Animal Advocacy.
Some technologies might not have been developed or adopted to the full extent possible because of ethical controversy, such as GMOs and nuclear energy (two case studies we have completed). Given that there could be very promising animal-free food technologies in the next few years, we will examine past examples of technologies that were not fully adopted to see how we can mitigate that risk in our situation. Our next study examines biofuels.
There is a gap in the effective animal advocacy literature for a randomized controlled trial (RCT) measuring the very-short-term effects of different advocacy message. If another group doesn’t fill that gap in the near future, we will consider doing so. We usually prioritize research on longer-term effects, but short-term effects can still provide useful indications of those long-term effects. This RCT would vary messages in different ways (e.g. reducetarian/vegan/activism ask, environmental/health/animal harm) and measure the short-term outcomes that seem most useful to farmed animal advocates (e.g. acceptance of animal farming, perception of vegans, assignment of sentience to farmed animals).
What findings have already been published about the moral circle and related constructs in psychology and sociology? This research is foundational to our work and we consider it due diligence to review and share it with our audience.
What does existing research on interventions to change people’s health-related behavior (such as smoking, healthy eating, and safe sex) suggest for efforts to reduce animal product consumption?
This blog post series will explore methodological questions and challenges in the use of historical research to inform advocacy. It is broader in scope, more theoretical, and more “meta” than most of our research, and will dive only briefly into this deep question, but we hope for a brief exploration to yield insights pertaining to the usefulness of our historical case studies.
There have been few if any formal literature reviews done in the effective animal advocacy community, which attempt to aggregate existing evidence in a different advocacy field and draw any conclusions possible for helping animals in particular. The literature on increasing voter turnout, such as through mail and door-to-door canvassing, is particularly robust, so we plan to work on this as an exploration of the value of literature reviews.
Animal Charity Evaluators conducted a partial case study of the environmentalist movement looking at Silent Spring, Earth Day, and some recycling campaigns. The results were useful, such as the potential impact of well-timed book launches and large public events. Given environmentalism’s significantly shared interests with farmed animal advocacy and the significant overlap between the two communities, we expect more research could be fruitful.
How does telling people that cell-based meat is morally driven vs. not morally driven affect its favorability? How does knowledge of a moral opposition to it affect this?
How strong of a “denial of mind” effect do eggs, milk, and cheese or other derivative products have compared to meat? This study may be accompanied by other explorations of the degree to which vegetarianism captures the speciesism-mitigation value of veganism.
How does hearing about animal-free food tech affect opposition to animal/factory farming?
How does discomfort with, concern about, or opposition to egg farming compare across external framings of battery cage conditions, free range conditions, pasture conditions, and internal framings of hen health conditions with and without mention of external conditions? This study aims to test which animal welfare harms are most compelling.
Around half of people think farmed animals are treated well. Is this because of a knowledge deficit, or denial/cognitive dissonance? (E.g. have they not seen investigations, or do they dismiss investigation coverage as being of bad apples?)
How do reform campaign messaging and industry counter-messaging (e.g. “Chicken Check-In,” humanewashing labels) affect consumer understanding of animal farming, attitudes towards animal farming, and/or willingness to pay or use alternatives?
How does support for a ban on meat vary between the framings of a ban on production/selling vs. a ban on consumption/purchasing? They theoretically have the same end, but their efficacy in reaching that end may vary.
This list is not exhaustive and may not contain all items on our internal research brainstorming document.