This ask report focuses on improving the environmental conditions of factory farmed animals. Specifically, it focuses on improving management of dissolved oxygen levels for fish.
Environmental factors can influence disease and injury rates as well as stress and anxiety levels. A wide variation of improvements is possible with respect to the environmental conditions for farmed animals, and many well-established charities are 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. Even 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 estimate 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 among the top 5 most promising ask reports we will create in this research. This report considers why this is, and what bottlenecks the initiative may face.
Our priority ask reports focus on the particular improvements or changes that can be “asked” of corporations, governments, or individuals. Going cage-free, making dietary changes, regulating slaughter practices, and many other asks can all serve as examples here. Our research process compares asks according to the strength of the idea (including the evidence base and estimated cost-effectiveness), limiting factors, execution difficulty, and externalities. All of these factors together begin to suggest which asks might be the most effective when combined with a priority animal, country, and approach.
Please note that these ask reports are short summaries of longer unpublished reports. That an ask looks promising in a short report does not necessarily mean it will be a promising charity, but simply that it is worth further and deeper investigation by our team. Final recommendations take other elements into account and cross-compare the other strongest candidates for charities. Find details of our full research process here.
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