This ask report focuses on improving the environmental conditions of factory farmed animals. Specifically, it is focused on improving management of dissolved oxygen levels for fish.
Environmental factors can influence disease and injury rates as well as stress and anxiety levels. There is a wide variation of improvements possible in the environmental conditions for farmed animals, and many well-established charities tackling these. Among others, we explored interventions like improving light management or decreasing stocking density at broiler chicken and turkey farms. A relatively neglected area, however, is managing dissolved oxygen (DO) levels for farmed fish. Dissolved oxygen is the most important indicator of water quality and is critical for fish welfare. Evan small variations in DO levels can be associated with increasing cortisol levels in the blood.
Preliminary research suggests that proper DO management can make impressively cost-effective improvements to animal lives. We estimated that this intervention can gain fish 21.5 welfare points, which is considerably more than what could be achieved by a charity aimed at increasing the space given to broiler chickens.
We expect this to be in our top 5 most promising ask reports we will create in this research. This report considers why this is, and what bottlenecks this initiative may face.
Our priority ask reports are focused on what are the particular improvements or changes that can be “asked” for from corporations, governments, or individuals. Going cage free, making dietary changes, regulating slaughter practices, and many other asks all serve as examples here. They are compared based on the strength of the idea (including the evidence base and estimated cost-effectiveness), limiting factors, execution difficulty, and externalities. All of these factors together could begin to suggest which asks might be the most effective when combined with a priority animal, country, and approach. However, these ask reports are short summaries of longer unpublished reports and, therefore, even if an ask looks promising this does not necessarily suggest that it will end up being a promising charity once paired with other elements and cross-compared to the other strongest possible charities. It just suggests that it is worth further and deeper investigation from our team. You can see our full planned research process here.
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