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Telofy comments on Four Organizations EAs Should Fully Fund for 2018 - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Telofy  (EA Profile) 12 December 2017 12:16:32PM *  10 points [-]

That’s an awesome selection! I’m also planning to support WASR in 2018 and perhaps longer, and I’m about to donate CHF 5k from my 2018 budget (for tax reasons) to their fundraiser.

I’m particularly optimistic about the field of welfare biology because it can draw on enormous resources in terms of institutions, biology and ecology research, and scientific methodology to generate break-throughs in an area that has been greatly neglected so far. The situation may be similar to that of medicine in the early days (1800s or so) when the foundations for systematic inquiry into health had finally been laid and then just needed to be applied to generate invaluable new insights.

Surely many animals in the wild have net positive lives, but so do many humans around the world. I think it’s valuable to research how we can improve the well-being of humans who suffer – perhaps even to the point of having net negative lives, but not necessarily – and so I value the same even more for wild animals who are so much more numerous and still live under worse conditions at much higher rates.

There’s also a Sentience Politics initiative going on in Switzerland (automatic translation) that has a shot at banning factory farming in the whole country via a popular vote. I see this in the same reference class as, for example, the ban on battery cages in California, though on a smaller scale because of the lower population size. Import of factory-farmed products may be more difficult than in the case of California, though, which is a big plus for the initiative. And they’re also far short of their fundraising goals.

Comment author: avacyn 12 December 2017 06:27:00PM 8 points [-]

I think it’s valuable to research how we can improve the well-being of humans who suffer – perhaps even to the point of having net negative lives, but not necessarily

I agree with this. Just to expand a bit - wild elephants might generally have net positive lives, but there still might be worthwhile interventions, e.g. to ensures some number that would have been killed by predators instead die in their sleep. The most relevant question is not whether wild animals have net positive lives, but how much their welfare could be improved per dollar.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 12 December 2017 09:01:44PM 1 point [-]

That's a great way of putting it. Thanks for the clarity!

Comment author: VinceB 31 December 2017 08:24:13PM 0 points [-]

a shot at banning factory farming

What would this entail? should we start a new thread for this? sounds great but small-medium farmers could get their butts whipped if its implemented too broadly no?

Comment author: Telofy  (EA Profile) 12 January 2018 12:01:32PM 1 point [-]

Sophie and Meret will know more, but from what I’ve heard, they’re pretty much on board with it because it will shift demand toward them. I can point Sophie to this thread if you’d like a more detailed or reliable answer than mine. ;-)