My gracious employer, Wild-Animal Suffering Research, is doing its end-of-year fundraiser.
What is Wild-Animal Suffering Research?
We research wild-animal suffering. (See, there is an advantage to clear names, despite the apparent opinions of all the EA organizations named something like Center for Effective Future of Open Global Action Priorities Research Institute.) Our goal is to understand wild-animal suffering, build a community of wild-animal-welfare researchers and advocates, and hopefully eventually discover cost-effective tractable interventions into wild-animal suffering.
We’ve only been around since June, but so far we’ve written a research agenda, released two cool review papers, given talks about the importance of wild-animal suffering and about human appropriation of net primary productivity, and subsidized a lot of writing on this very blog about wild-animal suffering.
What are you going to do with the money?
Most importantly, if we hit our goals, I am going to get a raise and to go to more conferences.
My coworkers Persis Eskander and Georgia Ray are not only going to get a raise, they’re going to get to work more hours, which means that we will produce more of the cool papers you have come to expect from us. There are some great papers in the pipeline, guys. I know, I get to read them.
We are a tiny organization– our whole room for more funding is only $160,000. Even a relatively small donor can have a really big effect.
Okay, so, raises, conferences, and more hours. What is all that going to actually accomplish?
We’re going to get a bunch of useful things that it is helpful for charities to have, such as “a strategic plan” and “an evaluation plan.” We’re going to summarize the evidence about the capacity of wild animals to suffer, the quality of wild-animal lives, possible interventions into wild-animal suffering, and how human activities affect wild animals. We’re going to make connections with academia, effective altruism, animal activism, and people with an interest in wild-animal suffering in the hopes of building an anti-wild-animal suffering community. By the end of the year, we should know more about what we should be doing and have more of the tools available to actually do it.
What are your philosophical commitments about wild-animal suffering?
Wild-Animal Suffering Research has employees with very different values and has no official position on complex and uncertain issues like population ethics, whether wild-animal lives are worth living, habitat destruction, etc. (We do all think that animals matter morally, at least a little bit, because otherwise we’d be working a different job.) Since the movement is in such an early stage, people who are concerned about wild animals can work together to improve our state of knowledge and the strength of the pro-wild-animal community, even if our values mean we will come to different conclusions in the end.
But I heard there were no tractable interventions into wild-animal suffering!
We don’t actually know that. The argument for donating to WASR is that, even though it’s possible that we’re going to finish up our research in five or ten years and go “nope, there’s nothing we can do,” if there are trillions of suffering beings and no one has even checked if there’s something we can do about it, then probably someone should check.
If you are persuaded, please donate!