What myths or misconceptions prevent people from supporting EA organizations that work on animal welfare or long-termist causes?

post by Surbhi B · 2020-12-16T22:26:16.549Z · EA · GW · 6 comments

This is a question post.



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comment by Surbhi B · 2020-12-16T22:13:08.784Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

[More detail for question]

I am updating GWWC's page on Myths about Aid and Charity and hope to address common questions or misconceptions a newcomer to EA might have. These may be fueled by biased mainstream portrayals of certain cause areas (e.g. "overspending" on foreign aid) or just a different set of priors coming into EA (e.g. people near me need the money more). 

In particular, I am looking to crowdsource ideas on common myths and misconceptions that people may have come across in regards to giving to EA-oriented animal welfare and long-termist organizations. For instance, "the state of the world in 100 years does not affect me so I don't need to give to long-term causes."

Replies from: David_Moss, RandomEA, Denise_Melchin
comment by David_Moss · 2020-12-17T09:47:48.996Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Another one that plausibly applies to aid/charity within the global poverty field is that many donors under-estimate the difference in effectiveness between interventions relative to experts. (Caviola et al, 2020)

comment by RandomEA · 2020-12-17T04:54:53.523Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

For animal suffering:

  1. we can't say that farm animals live lives that are not worth living;
  2. advocating higher welfare standards legitimizes factory farming;
  3. corporations are unlikely to adhere to their higher welfare pledges;
  4. commercial fishing is okay since fish usually die painfully anyways;
  5. bad to transition from animal farming since jobs would be lost;
  6. the world will eventually transition to cultivated meat anyways;
  7. should end human suffering before addressing animal suffering;
  8. advocates ignore how food system affects communities of color;*
  9. I can't donate to farm animal advocacy if I haven't gone vegan; and
  10. wild animal advocates support radically altering the ecosystem.

*There is some truth to this statement, especially regarding the past, and the answer should candidly acknowledge this. (There may also be some truth to some of the other statements, but I thought this one was especially worth highlighting.)


I do have a question for you. On GWWC's "Best Charities to Donate to in 2020" page, under the "Give together, as a community" section, GWWC omits ACE Movement Grants. Is this intentional, and if so, can you publicly state GWWC's reasoning?

Replies from: lukefreeman
comment by lukefreeman · 2020-12-17T23:32:27.319Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hi RandomEA,

That section of the website discusses why a fund can be a good option and then lists the funds that are available on EA Funds (the four EA Funds plus the Regranting organisations listed on EA Funds, minus CEA's Community Building Grants as we felt that was less targeted towards a general public audience that would typically visit that page).

Hope that helps to clarify.



Replies from: RandomEA
comment by RandomEA · 2020-12-22T08:18:47.435Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks Luke. Do you know why EA Funds excludes ACE Movement Grants? There is substantial overlap between the recipients of ACE Movement Grants and the recipients of EA Animal Welfare Fund grants, which is why I wanted clarification that exclusion is not meant to imply anything negative about ACE Movement Grants.

comment by Denise_Melchin · 2020-12-17T13:16:17.928Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

For instance, "the state of the world in 100 years does not affect me so I don't need to give to long-term causes."

This is not answering your question (and probably not very important), but I am a bit confused why you think this is an example of a myth or misconception?

Is this because you think there is a good chance of curing aging within the next 100 years, or because you might interpret the claim non-literally (e.g. people often do care that their grandkids have a good life, even though this still does not affect them personally), or something else?