Conducting research is essential for identifying high-impact interventions and assessing the effectiveness of existing strategies. Unfortunately, the historical impact of research within the animal welfare space has been limited by poor quality studies, a lack of experienced researchers, and organizations’ lack of responsiveness to findings. In this report, we consider various approaches to animal welfare research and their prospects of being translated into positive impact for animals.
This report identifies nine crucial considerations regarding the funding and talent landscape of the animal welfare movement. These considerations are used to evaluate 16 potential paths to using research to enhance the impact of the movement. The report analyzes the interrelationships between the actions of researchers and NGOs and summarizes some historical evidence regarding the influence of research on the effectiveness of activist movements.
Of the approaches considered, we think that research that informs existing corporate campaigns is among the highest impact paths for research. For example: should activists prioritize demanding that corporations keep chickens cage-free, slaughter chickens less painfully, or nutritionally fortify their chicken feed? Research that helps corporate campaigners identify which of these asks makes a bigger difference to the welfare of the animals could double or triple the impact of the considerable resources invested in these campaigns.
Another important finding was the importance of a research agenda that influences funding landscapes, which would potentially direct money from lower to higher impact interventions and shift the incentives under which organizations operate. This would involve surveying larger and more well-informed funders to determine what types of research would further improve their funding decisions and then conducting that research. This methodology could be used in parallel with many other research strategies.
Some additional paths that we considered include research coordination, randomized control trials on animal welfare interventions, deeper reports and summaries on interventions, and improving impact evaluations for existing animal organizations. These were assessed to have less potential for impact.
The full report includes a summary of our research, taking into account the uncertainties associated with different types of campaigns.
Did you know that Charity Entrepreneurship can help you start
an effective charity for animals?
If you want to be the first to know when we will start accepting applications to our incubation program, subscribe to our mailing list.