The campaign to promote veganism by exposing the destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM SCHISM: Are farmed animal sanctuaries at risk?

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The particular peril facing farmed animal sanctuaries appears to be a 'movement' based on the principles of Effective Altruism. People who pursue the goals of effective altruism donate to charities based on the goal of maximizing impact. Nothing is wrong with that necessarily, except that its exclusive focus on measurable results, metrics, statistics and data ignores benefits and positive outcomes that do not easily reduce to utilitarian, 'measurable' criteria. The danger is a sensibility of sterility and emotional detachment from our flesh and blood kindred. An insistence on Systems and Species versus the Individuals.

KAREN DAVIS: There is a movement of sorts to reduce or eliminate funding for farmed animal sanctuaries. It goes without saying that a loss or reduction of funding will prevent countless chickens, cows, turkeys, pigs and other abused and neglected animals from ever finding a safe haven…

The particular peril facing farmed animal sanctuaries appears to be a “movement” of sorts based on the principles of Effective Altruism… As defined on Wikipedia, Effective Altruism is a philosophical and social movement that advocates “using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible, and taking action on that basis.” People who pursue the goals of effective altruism, called effective altruists, “often choose careers based on the amount of good that they expect the career to achieve or donate to charities based on the goal of maximizing impact”.

Nothing is wrong with that necessarily, except that its exclusive focus on measurable results, metrics, statistics and data ignores benefits and positive outcomes that do not easily reduce to utilitarian, “measurable” criteria. By these criteria, farmed animal sanctuaries, individual animals, leafleting for animals, personal actions for animals, vegfests, choosing to be an ethical vegan, or not – all of these are child’s play – girl’s play! – compared to the hefty utilitarian calculus…

There have always been people in the animal advocacy movement who disparage farmed animal sanctuaries as a waste of money that could be better spent on other animal advocacy projects. Nearly everyone has their idea of what “works” versus what doesn’t in their opinion. Often they select one particular strategy they believe works, rather than conceiving of a plurality of strategies, campaigns and projects working in concert to liberate farmed animals from abusive human attitudes and behaviors. This is not to suggest that every strategy or tactic or philosophy is of equal value. What it does suggest is that it can be very hard to tell what “really works” either by itself or within the larger context of animal advocacy and activism…

A good farmed animal sanctuary offers a unique opportunity not only to save a portion of otherwise doomed creatures, but to learn from them and educate the public on their behalf. Direct experience conveyed through storytelling, photographs, video footage, and sanctuary visits provides an informed challenge to the misinformation about these animals spread by the animal farming industry intent on convincing people that chickens, cows and others so categorized have nothing in common with “wild” animals or “our pets,” and that farmed animals are merely passive, brainless “food” in the making…

If there is no direct action of this kind, you get either demoralized doing animal advocacy work, or you become abstract—abstract as a defense against demoralization. Will our educational efforts make a difference? This is purely speculative, but saving that chicken is saving that chicken.”

Disparaging a focus on “individuals,” be they our fellow animals or people taking personal responsibility for their food and other moral behaviors, has always beset not only the environmental movement, but also elements of the animal advocacy movement. The danger is a sensibility of sterility and emotional detachment from our flesh and blood kindred. An insistence on Systems and Species versus the individuals who compose these otherwise empty categories, as if the one and the many were mutually exclusive, diminishes our commitment and facilitates betrayal. SOURCE…

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