ACE reviews evidence on the efficacy of tactics in animal advocacy in order to help determine which are likely to be most useful, and updates these as new evidence becomes available.
Interventions we have evaluated are listed below. Although they are arranged roughly according to our confidence in their cost-effectiveness, the evidence available is variable by the type of the intervention. Therefore, some of the interventions whose cost-effectiveness we have not been able to estimate with confidence may nevertheless be highly cost-effective and have large impacts.
Corporate Outreach: Charities work with restaurant chains, supermarkets, and other businesses to strengthen a variety of possible animal welfare policies. These include cage-free-egg campaigns, but also campaigns to increase the availability of vegetarian and vegan food options and campaigns against gestation crates and other particularly cruel practices.
Undercover Investigations: We use the term “undercover investigation” to refer to any project where activists obtain documentation (e.g. photos and videos) of the treatment of animals without the explicit cooperation of the people/organizations/businesses using the animals. We focus primarily on investigations of farms and other animal agriculture facilities.
Protests: Protests occur when groups of activists join forces and confront an opponent in an attempt to spur change. Animal advocacy protests take many different forms, including but not limited to: rallies, demonstrations, picketing, sit-ins, marches, and vigils. We believe that the animal advocacy movement should allocate slightly greater resources to protests than it does currently.
Online Ads: Charities show ads on Facebook or other websites that link to a webpage with pro-veg/anti-meat information, often a video or text page that emphasizes a Vegetarian Starter Guide, and encourage the users to pledge to go vegetarian or enter their email address for more information. Currently, ACE does not recommend that charities create new online ads programs or expand existing programs, at least when that funding could be used for more promising interventions such as corporate outreach and undercover investigations.
Leafleting: Charities provide veg advocacy literature and/or send teams to distribute that literature on sidewalks and college campuses. Individuals can also easily obtain leaflets to distribute on their own and it takes only a small time commitment to do so, making leafleting alone or with a group a promising volunteering activity.
Humane Education: Humane education is a form of animal advocacy in which speakers visit high school and college classes and give presentations on the effects of factory farming on animals, the environment, health, and other areas of concern. Currently, ACE does not have enough strong evidence to recommend humane education as an intervention.
Interventions we are considering but which we have not yet evaluated are listed below. For some interventions, the evaluation is currently in process. Other interventions are listed although we have not yet begun formally evaluating them.
Advertising: Charities pay for advertising on billboards, commercials (television and online), and other advertising platforms. Advertisements use limited space and time to educate viewers about industrial agriculture, farmed animals, and vegetarian or vegan eating, often subject to content restrictions for the platform.
Animal Welfare Food Labels: Charities promote the use of clear food labeling that informs consumers about the conditions of animals used in producing food items. Alternatively, charities oppose the use of misleading labels.
Boycotts: Charities or individuals refuse to buy certain products or to do business with certain companies in protest of their policies. Veganism can be thought of to some extent as a boycott of animal agriculture, but boycotts are typically more organized and include clearer sets of demands indicating under what circumstances the boycott would end.
Cultured Meat Research: Scientists and companies perform basic and applied research intended to lead to the availability of meat grown in labs as a competitor to industrial animal agriculture. Charities help researchers secure funding, gain publicity, and make connections.
Demonstrations: Charities or coalitions of individuals air their grievances in public space. Demonstrations target systemic problems rather than specific policies of individual companies or agencies, and can range from a few individuals holding signs to mass marches or creative protests.
Farmed Animal Rescue: Charities and individuals rescue animals from farms or slaughterhouses. Rescues sometimes involve taking videos or photographs of the conditions the animals were living in and generally involve rehabilitating them and either placing them for adoption or offering them sanctuary for the remainder of their lives.
Grassroots Political Campaigning: Individuals and groups affect the political process in many ways, including letter-writing campaigns and demonstrations, to encourage the passage of bills that would benefit animals or the defeat of bills that would harm them. Grassroots campaigns involve the participation of many interested individuals, often at a local level or through networks not deeply embedded in the political power structure.
Humane Farming Promotion: Charities research how farming practices can be improved to increase animal welfare and promote such improvements. Means of promotion include grants to farmers to implement new practices and educational and publicity efforts supportive of certain uses of animals.
Institutional Meat Reduction Campaigns: Charities work with institutions including school districts and hospitals to implement a variety of meat reduction techniques such as Meatless Mondays and increased availability of vegetarian and vegan options in cafeterias.
Letter-Writing Campaigns: Individuals or groups send letters addressing animal issues to government officials or to newspaper editors or publications. Charities orchestrate campaigns of this type by distributing sample letters to their members, encouraging them to adapt them and send them to their elected representatives or local papers.
Lobbying: Charities work with lobbying firms or meet with state or national elected officials on their own behalf to influence the legislative process, specifically legislation affecting animals. They help write bills and find co-sponsors, or explain how they think the officials should vote and why.
Meat Substitute Creation: Scientists and companies develop plant-based meat substitutes and market them to compete with the products of animal agriculture. Charities and businesses help promote and publicize these products through activities such as feed-ins.
Media Campaigns: Charities and individuals disseminate information about industrial agriculture, farmed animals, and vegetarian and vegan diets through traditional media. For example, charities produce videos of their investigations of farm conditions which are shown on the news media, sometimes along with interviews of people involved in the charity.
Pay-Per-View Video Outreach: Charities and volunteers bring video equipment to areas with heavy foot traffic and pay passers-by small amounts of money to watch brief videos about farmed animals and industrial agriculture. They also provide resources to support diet changes inspired by the videos.
Veg Starter Guide Stands: Charities and individuals distribute Veg Starter Guides and other literature using newsracks or by placing the stacks of the literature in coffee shops and other businesses that allow this. Individuals in the area then have immediate access to the guides’ information.
VegFests: Charities organize celebrations of veg eating ranging in length from a day to a week. Events include food vendors and samples, educational experiences such as movies, lectures, and reading material, and community building.