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TruePath comments on Where can I donate to support insect welfare? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: MetricSulfateFive 31 December 2017 03:19:16AM *  12 points [-]

The closest is probably Wild-Animal Suffering Research, since they have published (on their website) a few papers on invertebrate welfare (e.g., Which Invertebrate Species Feel Pain?, An Analysis of Lethal Methods of Wild Animal Population Control: Invertebrates). However, their work doesn't focus exclusively on invertebrates, as they have published some articles that either apply to all animals (e.g., “Fit and Happy”: How Do We Measure Wild-Animal Suffering?), or only apply to vertebrates (e.g., An Analysis of Lethal Methods of Wild Animal Population Control: Vertebrates).

Animal Ethics and Utility Farm also work on issues relating to wild animal suffering. My impression is that AE mostly focuses on outreach (e.g., About Us, leaflets, FB page), and UF mostly focuses on advocacy and social change research (e.g., Study: Effective Communication Strategies For Addressing Wild Animal Suffering, Reviewing 2017 and Looking to 2018), although AE also claims to do some research (mainly moral philosophy literature reviews?). Again, these organizations don't only focus on invertebrates. In fact, AE doesn't even focus solely on wild animals, as they seem to spend significant resources on traditional animal advocacy (farm animals, veganism) as well.

I don't know of any insect-specific charities, although some may exist. Unfortunately, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Insects is only satire. If we widen the scope a bit and include invertebrate-specific charities, I know only of Crustacean Compassion, but there may be others. There was also at one point a website called Invertebrate Considerations that seemed to be EA-aligned, but it's gone now and I don't think it was ever anything more than just a mockup.

Humane insecticides might be a promising area for future work.

Comment author: TruePath 31 December 2017 08:23:24AM 1 point [-]

I'm disappointed that the link about which invertebrates feel pain doesn't go into more detail on the potential distinction between merely learning from damage signals and the actual qualitative experience of pain. It is relatively easy to build a simple robot or write a software program that demonstrates reinforcement learning in the face of some kind of damage but we generally don't believe such programs truly have a qualitative experience of pain. Moreover, the fact that some stimuli are both unpleasant yet rewarding (e.g. encourage repetition) indicates these notions come apart.

Comment author: Brian_Tomasik 31 December 2017 11:15:20AM 2 points [-]

It's a big topic area, and I think we need articles on lots of different issues. The overview piece for invertebrate sentience was just a small first step. Philosophers, neuroscientists, etc. have written thousands of papers debating criteria for sentience, so I don't expect such issues to be resolved soon. In the meanwhile, cataloguing what abilities different invertebrate taxa have seems valuable. But yes, some awareness of the arguments in philosophy of mind and how they bear on the empirical research is useful. :)