EA-aligned podcast with Lewis Bollard

post by Garrison · 2019-08-15T14:48:19.569Z · score: 32 (18 votes) · EA · GW · 7 comments

I’ve started a podcast called the Most Interesting People I Know, featuring interviews on science, ethics, and (mostly) politics (found under that name or “Garrison Lovely” wherever you find podcasts). I've released episodes with Chloe Cockburn from Open Phil and Spencer Greenberg, and have one scheduled with Leah Garces to discuss her book on campaigns to improve the welfare of farmed chickens (Grilled, out Sept 3rd).

Episode link: http://bit.ly/2KCmFQg

Unsurprisingly, Lewis was a great guest. For those who don't know, he leads the Open Philanthropy Project’s strategy for farm animal welfare. He directs roughly $30M in grants annually to nonprofits working to reduce suffering of farmed animals around the world. By virtue of his position, Lewis has deep insight into the state of the farmed animal welfare movement, which we get into in some detail.

We specifically cover: Open Philanthropy’s approach to ending factory farming, the scale, tractability, and neglectedness of factory farming, the transition to plant based meat alternatives, the hierarchy of suffering per calorie, whether you have to be a vegan to be an animal activist, the advocacy campaigns that Open Philanthropy is supporting, America’s role in defending factory farming worldwide, whether factory farming is efficient, whether we need to end capitalism to end factory farming, the psychological challenge of seeing the horror of factory farming in everyday life, undercover farm investigations, civil disobedience and violence in fighting for animal rights, the ethics of pursuing corporate campaigns, criticisms of Open Phil's approach to farmed animal welfare, and, of course, how you can get involved.

Unfortunately, there are some audio issues with this episode- Macbook Airs are the bane of my existence. Otherwise, I think this was a great conversation. Lewis is a world-class expert on this topic, and his passion for the cause is clear.

Any feedback on the show and guest suggestions are welcome!

Show notes:

Lewis:

His Twitter: https://twitter.com/lewis_bollard

His monthly newsletter

His conversation on the 80,000 Hours Podcast

Effective Altruism Animal Welfare Fund

Other links:

Infographic showing number of animals killed on farms compared to labs and shelters

Amount of animal suffering per calorie for different foods

Meat and the H Word: Given the amount of suffering involved in the mass killing of animals, how is it not one of the greatest moral atrocities of our time?

Hedonic Treadmill

Video: Baby Pig Fresh Pork Sausage Prank

At Least 3.4 Million Farm Animals Drowned in the Aftermath of Hurricane Florence

Anarcho-pacificism

Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE)

Books:

Animal Liberation

Eating Animals

Animal Machines

7 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Henry_Stanley · 2019-08-15T15:59:57.982Z · score: 16 (9 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Awesome - looks like a great podcast. Looks like it's still early days, but would love to see a write-up of your experience getting a new podcast off the ground. Seems like it's something more EAs could be doing.

comment by Garrison · 2019-08-18T22:48:47.097Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks! That's a really good idea. I definitely think there is an appetite for more EA-aligned podcasts and the barrier to entry is pretty low. I'll work on this in the next few weeks.

comment by WilliamKiely · 2019-08-21T16:21:01.339Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Title advice: Instead of "EA-aligned podcast with Lewis Bollard" (since by posting on the EA Forum we already assume it is EA-related) something like the title of the episode would have been better, e.g. "Podcast: Lewis Bollard on Ending Factory Farming" or if you want to distinguish it from the 80,000 Hours podcast episode on the same subject, perhaps add the date "Podcast: Lewis Bollard on Ending Factory Farming (Aug 2019)".

comment by WilliamKiely · 2019-08-21T15:34:30.923Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I enjoyed the podcast! I think that assuming your audience is familiar with EA like the 80,000 Hours podcast does is a good thing. Two questions I really like were (1) when you asked how Lewis feels when he sees people eating factory-farmed meat all the time and (2) when you asked Lewis to describe some of the horrible conditions that factory farmed animals live in. I really liked the thought experiment Lewis gave involving the neighbor barbecuing a piglet and your related comment about a Parks and Recreation scene.

comment by Garrison · 2019-08-21T17:58:19.210Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Wonderful feedback, thanks! It's tricky because it's not just an EA podcast, so I have to assume many of my listeners aren't familiar with EA. I could cover the EA side of things at the beginning of the show when it's relevant, then tell people who are EA veterans when to skip to. Rob does this and I find it pretty helpful. I always find it interesting to hear about the personal experience of people who "stare into the abyss" for the careers (see my episode with asylum attorney Brianna Rennix). For future posts will use your title advice.

comment by michaelchen · 2019-08-19T00:44:31.487Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

The episodes "Tiffany Cabán's Election Mini-analysis" and "(Cabán for Queens District Attorney Re-release) […]" feel ...off since

  • the election is over, so there's no need to have an re-release episode to encourage people to vote for a particular candidate
  • "Tiffany Cabán's Election Mini-analysis" speaks as if Cabán would win, but that did not happen (unfortunately)
  • I was expecting the podcast to be about interviews and I wasn't expecting this level of personal political endorsements. The vast majority of the minutes are still interviews, but the political endorsements feel sorta out of place.

It might be odd to redact the podcast at this point, however.

Anyway, I'm impressed that you already have 11 episodes out in just three months, and I'm excited to listen to it!

Side note: why did I think the h word was going to be "humane"?

comment by Garrison · 2019-08-19T00:55:31.850Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

The endorsement episode was released before the election and the mini-analysis was released the day after the election, when it appeared that Caban had won. I was personally involved with the campaign and thought it would be helpful to direct anyone who was inspired by the conversation with Chloe to take a concrete action. I could redact, but agree it might be odd.

Thanks! I was doing one per week at first, but have found that to be unsustainable.