153 minutes | Feb 15, 2021

#91 – Lewis Bollard on big wins against factory farming and how they happened

I suspect today's guest, Lewis Bollard, might be the single best person in the world to interview to get an overview of all the methods that might be effective for putting an end to factory farming and what broader lessons we can learn from the experiences of people working to end cruelty in animal agriculture.

That's why I interviewed him back in 2017, and it's why I've come back for an updated second dose four years later.

That conversation became a touchstone resource for anyone wanting to understand why people might decide to focus their altruism on farmed animal welfare, what those people are up to, and why.

Lewis leads Open Philanthropy’s strategy for farm animal welfare, and since he joined in 2015 they’ve disbursed about $130 million in grants to nonprofits as part of this program.

This episode certainly isn't only for vegetarians or people whose primary focus is animal welfare. The farmed animal welfare movement has had a lot of big wins over the last five years, and many of the lessons animal activists and plant-based meat entrepreneurs have learned are of much broader interest.

Links to learn more, summary and full transcript.

Some of those include:

Between 2019 and 2020, Beyond Meat's cost of goods sold fell from about $4.50 a pound to $3.50 a pound. Will plant-based meat or clean meat displace animal meat, and if so when? How quickly can it reach price parity?
One study reported that philosophy students reduced their meat consumption by 13% after going through a course on the ethics of factory farming. But do studies like this replicate? And what happens several months later?
One survey showed that 33% of people supported a ban on animal farming. Should we take such findings seriously? Or is it as informative as the study which showed that 38% of Americans believe that Ted Cruz might be the Zodiac killer?
Costco, the second largest retailer in the U.S., is now over 95% cage-free. Why have they done that years before they had to? And can ethical individuals within these companies make a real difference?

We also cover:

• Switzerland’s ballot measure on eliminating factory farming
• What a Biden administration could mean for reducing animal suffering
• How chicken is cheaper than peanuts
• The biggest recent wins for farmed animals
• Things that haven’t gone to plan in animal advocacy
• Political opportunities for farmed animal advocates in Europe
• How the US is behind Brazil and Israel on animal welfare standards
• The value of increasing media coverage of factory farming
• The state of the animal welfare movement
• And much more

If you’d like an introduction to the nature of the problem and why Lewis is working on it, in addition to our 2017 interview with Lewis, you could check out this 2013 cause report from Open Philanthropy.

Producer: Keiran Harris.
Audio mastering: Ben Cordell.
Transcriptions: Sofia Davis-Fogel.
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