Reading and discussion group Effective Altruism

This is a past event

6 people went

Every 2 months on the 1st Wednesday until March 3, 2020

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(these meetups will be held in English when non-Dutch speaking participants are attending)

In addition to our informal monthly Effective Altruism meetups we will hold reading and discussion meetings every two months. During these meetings we will read and discuss articles or books that are about Effective Altruism or topics that are related to it. Effective Altruism consists in the honest and impartial attempt to find out how to do the most amount of good with our available time and resources by applying rational reasoning, data and scientific evidence. Effective Altruism covers alot of different themes and domains that concern effectively helping others, be it in the short-term or the longer run. If you want to delph deeper into the question on doing good better, you're more than welcome to join these twomonthly meetings.

For the fourth session we will talk about ending factory farming and the role cultured meat could play for this purpose. Ending and reducing animal suffering is one of the cause-areas within EA. Every year tens of billions of animals (around 50 billion) are raised in terrible conditions in factory farms before being killed for human consumption. In addition, industrial livestock farming causes more than one-fifth of global greenhouse emissions. It uses more than 70% of total agricultural land. Despite the enormous scale of suffering this causes, the issue is largely neglected, with only about $50 million dollars spent each year tackling the problem globally.

One of the reasons the cause is neglected might be speciesism. Speciesism involves the assignment of different values, rights, or special consideration to individuals solely on the basis of their species membership. Could this be a good explanation? Bruce Friedrich, executive director of The Good Food Institute (GFI), thinks this might be the case.

Before the US Civil War, it was easier for the North to morally oppose slavery. Why? Because unlike the South they weren’t profiting much from its existence. The fight for abolition was partly won because many no longer saw themselves as having a selfish stake in its continuation.

Bruce Friedrich, (GFI), thinks the same may be true in the fight against speciesism. 98% of people currently eat meat. But if eating meat stops being part of most people’s daily lives — it should be a lot easier to convince them that farming practices are just as cruel as they look, and that the suffering of these animals really matters.

That’s why GFI is “working with scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs” to create plant-based meat, dairy and eggs as well as clean meat alternatives to animal products. In 2016, Animal Charity Evaluators named GFI one of its recommended charities.

What is your take on animal-suffering? Do you think it is a promising and important cause-area to work on? And do you believe cultured meat might have an important role to play in ending animal suffering from factory farming? Come and discuss!

In preparation you can look at the articles, podcasts and videos below:

https://80000hours.org/podcast/episodes/lewis-bollard-end-factory-farming/

https://80000hours.org/problem-profiles/factory-farming/

https://80000hours.org/podcast/episodes/bruce-friedrich-good-food-institute/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkQtYj_az10

About[masked] hours:[masked] hours does research on what careers are the most promising to work on different cause-areas and advices on with what careers you can do the most good.

The last three meetups we discussed issues like cause prioritization, extinction risk and EA and mental health.