"Effective Altruism for Animals" Panel


The New York University Animal Studies Initiative Invites You to Attend a Panel on:

Effective Altruism for Animals

What is the best way to improve the lives of animals? Animal protection involves various, sometimes contradictory forms of advocacy and activism, most of which claim to be effective. But not everyone agrees on what effectiveness really is, how it should be understood, and whether it should be more important than, for instance, considerations of justice and institutional change. Being effective has been at the forefront of debates among activists since the infancy of animal protection movements. But while the alleged opposition between animal welfare and animal rights still nourishes debate, an emerging movement called "Effective Altruism" has, in recent years, attempted to reshape our views of charitable giving and advocacy, shifting the focus towards evidence-based assessments of cost-efficiency. "Effective Altruism" also evaluates the importance of animal suffering relative to other causes and, within animal advocacy, the most efficient ways to reduce suffering across species. Effective altruists thus believe there is a strong case to focus on animals, given that each year about 60 billion of them are raised and killed for food worldwide and how intense and widespread their suffering can be. Should one then focus on farm animals? Which tactics are legitimate, which have the largest impact? How should we assess effectiveness? Should one's efforts aim at individual or systemic change, should one target food choices or overall animal exploitation? Is suffering in the wild equally important?

RSVP required here.



Jon Bockman (Animal Charity Evaluators(ACE), Executive Director) has held diverse leadership positions in nonprofit animal advocacy over the past decade. At ACE, Jon works to identify the most impactful ways to help animals through research, evaluations, and data-driven analysis, and his efforts have helped influence over half a million dollars in donations towards ACE recommended charities. Jon's career prior to ACE included serving as a Director at a shelter and wildlife rehabilitation center, as a humane investigator, and as a Founder of a 501c3 farm animal advocacy group. Accomplishments during these positions include releasing over 2,000 rehabilitated animals back into the wild, conducting investigations into dozens of cases of neglected animal care, leading hundreds of outreach events, and implementing international online campaigns to expose factory farm practices to over 25 million Mandarin, Hindi, and Russian-speaking Facebook users.


(Photo credit Derek Goodwin)

Jasmin Singer (Our Hen House, Executive Director) is a writer and activist living in New York City. In addition to her work for Our Hen House, which she co-founded in January 2010, Jasmin has written for numerous magazines and blogs, and recently wrote a chapter in the anthologies Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat; Running, Eating, Thinking; and Circles of Compassion. Her own personal memoir about food and activism, entitled Always Too Much and Never Enough, will be published by Penguin Random House’s imprint, Berkley, in February, 2016. Along with her wife, Mariann Sullivan, Jasmin is the co-host of the Webby-recognized Our Hen House podcast. She is a former contributing writer for VegNews Magazine, and was named by VegNews as one of twenty standout stars of the animal rights movement. From 2007-2010, she was the campaigns manager for Farm Sanctuary. Her workshops on activism have been presented at conferences, universities, law schools, and VegFests around the globe.


(Photo credit Tony Phillips - ICEL 2014)

Peter Singer (Princeton, Melbourne),was born in Australia and is a world-famous philosopher. He has been Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University since 1999. From 2005 on, he has also held the part-time position of Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. Peter Singer's influential publications include Animal Liberation; Practical Ethics; The Expanding Circle; The Ethics of What We Eat (with Jim Mason); The Life You Can Save, andThe Point of View of the Universe (with Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek. Books he has edited or co-edited include In Defense of Animals; Animal Rights and Human Obligations; A Companion to Ethics; The Great Ape Project; A Companion to Bioethics; In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave.  His works have appeared in more than 20 languages. Peter Singer is widely recognized as a leading figure of the booming "Effective Altruism" movement, which is the topic of his latest book, The Most Good You Can Do.


(Photo credit Derek Goodwin)

Mariann Sullivan (Our Hen House, Program Director) is a lawyer and an adjunct professor of animal law at Columbia Law School, as well as the co-host of the Our Hen House Podcast and the host of The Animal Law Podcast. She has served as chair of both the Animal Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association and the American Bar Association’s TIPS Section’s Animal Law Committee, and has taught animal law and farmed animal law at a number of law schools, including NYU Law School. Among her publications is a trilogy of essays, co-authored with David Wolfson, on farmed animals and the law.