Cade Mataya

44 karmaJoined Working (0-5 years)


Recently finished an undergraduate degree in Political Science with minors in History and Philosophy. Currently a research associate at a local state university. All opinions are my own and not reflective of those of my employer. 

How others can help me

My main focus is the reduction of animal suffering, which seems to me to be the largest source of suffering in the world right now. If there are opportunities to contribute to this cause, it would mean a lot to me to be shown these opportunities.


In the 80,000 hours interview, you noted that you thought the Animal Protection/Welfare movement ought to embrace being a more political movement. What forms of policy advocacy seem the most promising to you for improvements to nonhuman animals welfare (i.e. pushing specific states to adopt higher legal welfare standards, pushing for federal reforms, pressure on institutions to go plant-based in their catering, etc.)?

While I sympathize with the fact that going vegan is difficult for some, I do want to push back on the idea that the focus spent on adhering to a plant-based diet would be better spent elsewhere "if animals are [your] top focus." 

Broadly, the discussion around plant-based/vegan diets avoids the signal value of the dietary and lifestyle choices. If my top focus is non-human animals[1], then it seems to track pretty clearly to me that persons will take me less seriously if I do not make substantial lifestyle changes that indicate this. Whether or not this is justified rationally on part of the others is not the most important point,[2] but it remains the point that the populace at large do disregard the views of perceived hypocrites very heavily. I do not think it is a huge stretch to suggest that such a blow to credibility may impede one's work, at least in some circumstances.

 With that in mind, persons that are very dedicated to a particular cause--in this case advocacy for nonhuman animals--probably ought to seriously consider the signal they send to others with their lifestyle choices.

  1. ^

    Broadly, it actually is.

  2. ^

    I myself think hypocrisy in lifestyle choices is not that big of a deal; the climate activist that owns a gas guzzler or the longtermist who does not have kids is no less right or wrong about the issue at stake for having not done what is probably required of them within their own worldview. Similarly, the animal activist who cannot easily give up meat or dairy is no less right or wrong about the proposition that animal suffering is bad and ought to be addressed.

Hi! I think this seems like a really promising area of research. I have been working in public policy for awhile (admittedly not health policy, though). I am okay at making graphics in Tableau, though not #1 by any stretch. (I am 100% willing to learn, though!). If there is any other help that you may need, I would love to stay in the loop on this project. 


Furthermore, I would like to know if you have any particular goals for this research. Do you plan on starting a nonprofit, conducting advocacy, raising funding for more research on these potential treatments, etc.?

Hi, thank you for the report summary! This seems pretty promising, though part of me wonders if there would be some serious limits to using this in some of the ways that some EA organizations may like to. In general, these experiments deal with a calf that is victimized, yet a lot of EA interventions focus on chickens, fish, or shrimp. My intuition is that omnivores are less likely to feel an impulse to donate for a victimized shrimp or fish than a calf (and many of my non-EA/non-utilitarian friends often cut out beef rather than chicken in their attempts to do better out of a stated respect for the life of a cow). 
Is there perhaps more solid evidence or further investigation that may occur about the effect of species on total dollars donated?

Answer by Cade Mataya29

This is pretty basic, but a majority of my giving goes to GiveWell; I find that I unfortunately do not have enough time in a day to carefully plan where I want to give, so most of it ends up to GiveWell to use at their discretion. I also think it's important to give full-time experts that power as calculating the effectiveness of certain programs or inititatives is just impossibly difficult and I just don't understand the math well enough (yet) to claim to be in a strong position to make this decision. 

Through Giving What We Can, I give (in equal amounts) to: the Animal Welfare Fund, the Against Malaria Foundation, Evidence Action, and the Good Food Institute. 
For the Animal Welfare Fund, it is my reasoning that animal suffering makes up a disproportionately large amount of the world's suffering. It seems extremely cost-effective based on what I know to alleviate that suffering. It is very likely that I will donate any extra money that I come into this holiday season via odd jobs, gifts from family, or just excess in my budget to the Animal Welfare Fund.
The Against Malaria Foundation is GiveWell's #2-ranked charity right now, so I figured that I could further my impact in malaria prevention by donating some money here.
I care a lot about proper education for a lot of reasons. It has done me a lot of good, but I also think it could be effective at lifting others out of poverty, breaking the cycle, perhaps alleviating global poverty and human suffering, and so much more. In the long term, having more educated people working on important issues would also be good for morally relevant beings as a whole. Seeing that deworming initiatives are effective at driving up school attendance rates in underdeveloped nations, I see this as a good cause to donate to. I do sometimes feel torn, because if deworming does lead to higher rates of literacy and spurs economic growth, this could lead to an increase in a demand for animal-based food products in nations that currently do not eat very much of them (this is a trend visible in all developing-to-developed countries except for India), which would increase suffering. However, it is probably better in the long run to move towards a more educated world with less global poverty than it is to maintain the status quo in this area; perhaps other nations will follow closer to India's trends or once these populations reach a certain widespread level of education demand for animal-based products will fall.
Anyone who has read this far can probably tell that animal suffering is the thing I focus on a lot. So I donate to the Good Food Institute in hopes that lab-grown meat and other plant based alternatives can reduce the consumer demand for factory-farmed and traditionally produced animal products.