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Ben Stevenson

Animal Welfare Research Assistant @ Rethink Priorities
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I was surprised to learn from GFI's 2023 State of Global Policy report that "Uruguay, through a quiet amendment to a budget bill passed in October, banned the “importation, manufacture and commercialization” of cultivated meat for human consumption in the country for a period of five years".

My understanding is that Uruguay, Italy, Florida and Alabama now have cultivated meat bans, with Italy's held up by the EU. I believe the Uruguayan ban is the only one with a sunset clause.

EDIT 2024-06-10: We are no longer accepting applications. Thank you to all who got in touch.

The Animal Welfare Department at Rethink Priorities is recruiting volunteer researchers to support on a high-impact project!

We’re conducting a review on interventions to reduce meat consumption, and we’re seeking help checking whether academic studies meet our eligibility criteria. This will involve reviewing the full text of studies, especially methodology sections.

We’re interested in volunteers who have some experience reading empirical academic literature, especially postgraduates. The role is an unpaid volunteer opportunity. We expect this to be a ten week project, requiring approximately five hours per week. But your time commitment can be flexible, depending on your availability.

This is an exciting opportunity for graduate students and early career researchers to gain research experience, learn about an interesting topic, and directly participate in an impactful project. The Animal Welfare Department will provide support and, if desired, letters of experience for volunteers.

If you are interested in volunteering with us, contact Ben Stevenson at bstevenson@rethinkpriorities.org. Please share either your CV, or a short statement (~4 sentences) about your experience engaging with empirical academic literature. Candidates will be invited to complete a skills assessment. We are accepting applications on a rolling basis, and will update this listing when we are no longer accepting applications.

Please reach out to Ben if you have any questions. If you know anybody who might be interested, please forward this opportunity to them!

Hi Miguel! Sorry I'm a week late replying to you here. I agree with your point, and I'm updating my document to reflect this. I'm copying your wording, but please let me know if you'd rather I rewrite. I was initially trying to balance minimising respondents' time commitment with pushing on the most important/tractable questions, but I think you're right that expanding the scope of affected animal products could really matter.

This was meant as a joke (I think OP got this) but on reflection it probably wasn't funny / a good opportunity to try to be funny. I actually agree with your empirical/normative point, and I'll retract the comment so others aren't confused.

Moral trade opportunity: Alice donates a kidney, Bob donates part of their liver?

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Hey!

The responses were written with input from animal welfare professionals, but they're only suggestions and I would encourage you to share your own opinions too. I'm happy to talk through the object-level of any disagreements, if helpful.

On images specifically, I agree that misleading pictures could undermine the label's effectiveness but I personally doubt the risk outweighs the reward of informing consumers about the real conditions of animal farming. Whether you choose 'agree' or 'disagree', I think you should detail your thoughts in the 'explanation' section and emphasise that businesses shouldn't be allowed to use misleading photos of animals.

The labels will be imperfect, and it's an open question whether policymakers and the public will stall on further progress. More empirical research here would be good. (If you've not seen it, you might find this resource interesting although it is a few years old). But I think that we have to try to score a goal whenever the opportunity presents itself, and that it's very plausible both that political wins build momentum for the animal movement and that labelling increases public salience of welfare issues.

Independent assessment of welfare claims is covered in question 72. I've suggested strongly supporting it, except in cases where it made the labelling scheme unworkable.

I think it takes about 30 minutes to reply to this consultation, and I think it's absolutely worth doing.

This Google Doc indicates the animal welfare-relevant questions and suggests responses. I encourage anybody to copy-paste these suggestions, or use them as inspiration for original responses. Note that the government recognises "that respondents may choose to use some standardised text to inform their response", and accepts them as legitimate responses.

Thanks @haven for help writing this!

Thanks for writing this, Bella. I relate: I lived with mice recently and spent a lot of time fretting about their well-being as the landlord closed in.

I think that sympathy towards small, liminal animals speaks to an expanded moral circle and that, when we feel powerless to save the animals, bearing witness to their deaths as you've done here might be an important way of paying respect to them.

This is a great success story - well done to all involved!

the core message - some interventions are magnitudes more promising than others - was retained and even extended to other domains: from education, social programmes, and CO2 emissions reductions policies to efforts to change habits of meat consumption and voter turnout (Todd 2023)

 

Could you point me to the discussion of meat consumption in this source? I can't seem to find it. Thanks!

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