We are excited to announce the second round of grants from our Effective Animal Advocacy Fund (EAA Fund).1 In late 2018, we ran a matching challenge for the Fund with the support of a very generous anonymous donor. We raised a total of $1.94 million, of which we disbursed about $1.39 million in our first round of grants. Including the donations we received throughout the year, the EAA Fund contained $569,000 by mid-2019. We opened the Fund for applications again this summer, and by the deadline on July 15, we had received a total of 59 applications. The response from both donors and applicants has vastly exceeded our expectations, and we’d like to thank everyone who has been involved so far.
The goal of the EAA Fund is to allow ACE to support a larger and more diverse group of projects. For details on our thinking and process, see our announcement of the spring 2019 grantees.
Our experience with the EAA Fund so far has allowed us to upgrade and improve our grant-making process. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about the specific lessons we have learned and the improvements we have made to the Fund.
Overview of Grants
Of the 59 applications we received, we decided to fund 18 of them, or 31%2. We disbursed about $492,000 of the $569,000 in the Fund. We plan to disburse the remaining funds in future granting rounds.
Our EAA Fund grants are intended to support the animal advocacy movement by directing funding towards relatively neglected interventions or regions. Our first round of grants were specifically intended to support capacity building and legal advocacy, though the current round of grants did not have such a specific focus. We ended up funding 10 proposals supporting capacity building, 10 proposals supporting legal and policy work, nine proposals aimed at influencing public opinion, 10 proposals aimed at influencing industry, and three proposals aimed at building alliances.
Note that the number of grants supporting each type of outcome add to more than 18, our total number of grants. That’s because most of the grants support multiple outcome types. The items in our menu of outcomes are not meant to be exhaustive or mutually exclusive, but we’ve found them to be a useful heuristic for thinking about the distribution of resources among different approaches in the animal advocacy movement.
Descriptions of Grants
Assiettes Végétales ($17,000)
Assiettes Végétales works to introduce daily plant-based options in all university canteens in France. They meet with key decision-makers, work with chefs, and support universities with marketing. They engage students, scientists, and chefs to demonstrate to decision-makers the demand for vegan options. With this general support grant, Assiettes Végétales will be able to hire new staff members to fundraise, manage grant requests, manage volunteers, and build the capacity of the movement, which we believe is vital for the long-term sustainability of the organization. We appreciate that Assiettes Végétale aims to improve the accessibility of plant-based options on an institutional level in France and that its goals are specific, tractable, and measurable.
Biofutura A.C. ($25,000)
Biofutura A.C. works to strengthen the Mexican animal advocacy movement by providing legal tools to animal advocates. With this general support grant, Biofutura will organize events at universities, host workshops about legal advocacy, and create a legal animal defense manual. The workshops and the manual will be published online to be accessible to activists and animal advocates in Mexico. In addition to supporting advocates, Biofutura works to improve the Mexican legal system directly. Biofutura’s specialized lawyers will analyze the gaps in animal protection laws and draw attention to animal cruelty issues by filing legal complaints. We hope this grant will contribute to building the capacity of the Mexican animal advocacy movement and provide Mexican animal advocates with more tools to defend animals effectively.
The Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School ($30,000)
The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) at Lewis & Clark Law School recently launched an Animal Law Litigation Clinic (Clinic) focused exclusively on farmed animal issues. Law school clinics are tools for students to put classroom lessons into practice under the close supervision of an attorney. In addition, law school clinics have the freedom and flexibility to focus on social issues. The Clinic at CALS is designed to support animal advocacy in two ways. First, they train new generation lawyers in the field of farmed animal advocacy by providing them with hands-on experience. Second, they advance farmed animal protection via the cases that law students litigate. We believe that legal outreach is likely to be neglected, and we especially appreciate the focus CALS and the Clinic have on farmed animals. We are excited to support the Clinic by providing funding for salaries and materials.
Colorado Voters for Animals ($5,000)
Colorado Voters for Animals works to achieve animal-friendly public policy in Colorado. This grant supports their “Getting Political for Animals” campaign. The campaign includes a training program for advocates that covers tips for (i) passing animal-friendly laws at the local and state levels, (ii) educating lawmakers, (iii) writing letters-to-the-editor, opinion-editorials, and more. The “Getting Political for Animals” campaign does not support individual politicians. Rather, the trainings are designed to empower the attendees to become self-reliant in their civic engagement without needing the direction of a professional organization. While we are excited about both the type of work and the approach, we would like to see Colorado Voters for Animals place a higher emphasis on farmed animal issues. We believe that legal advocacy tools are neglected, and empowering individuals and groups to wield them could be a highly effective pursuit. With this grant, Colorado Voters for Animals will be able to rent facilities for their workshops, produce handout materials, cover transportation costs, and produce high-quality recordings. This grant will cover the cost of 20 presentations.
Czech Vegan Society ($10,000)
The Czech Vegan Society engages in various activities to increase the consumption of plant-based food in the Czech Republic. We are most excited about their work to increase plant-based options in restaurants and school canteens by working with decision-makers. In addition to this institutional work, the Czech Vegan Society runs events on the ethics of veganism and the practicalities of plant-based nutrition, and they maintain strong relationships with the media to bring plant-based education to a wide audience. This general-support grant partially covers current funding needs, which include producing educational materials, hosting cooking courses for school cooks, and providing salaries for a project coordinator and a media specialist. We are excited about the Czech Vegan Society’s institutional work and their media campaigns, as both are designed to reach a wide audience.
Equalia is working to achieve mandatory video surveillance in all Spanish slaughterhouses and preparing a campaign to improve the welfare of chickens used for meat. Equalia’s methods include conducting undercover investigations, building alliances with consumer associations concerned with food safety, negotiating with companies, and educating political parties. The Equalia team incorporates the principles of effective altruism in their work, which gives us additional confidence in their mission alignment. Equalia applied to the EAA Fund for their surveillance cameras campaign. Surveillance cameras in slaughterhouses will make it easier for the Official Veterinary Service to check for compliance with animal protection laws. This grant will go mainly toward hiring a new staff member who will be in charge of managing Equalia’s media connections and public communications. This general support grant will also help Equalia establish its infrastructure, supporting the long-term sustainability of the organization.
Humánny pokrok ($10,000)
Humánny pokrok is one of the largest Slovakian animal advocacy organizations focused exclusively on farmed animals. We appreciate their commitment to effectiveness, which has led them to pivot their approach from solely organizing vegan festivals to including cage-free campaigns, large-scale dietary change campaigns, and institutional outreach. Humánny pokrok works closely with organizations in neighboring countries and thereby contributes to movement-building in Eastern Europe. We are excited to fund Humánny pokrok because they are an ambitious group focused on effectiveness, but they don’t yet have the resources to keep up with their ambitious plans. This grant will go toward hiring a new staff member who will work on fundraising and/or volunteer coordinating to support the long-term sustainability of the organization.
The Kaplan Lab at Tufts University ($50,000)
The Cellular Agriculture Team of the Kaplan Lab at Tufts University is researching and optimizing scaffolding systems for cell-cultured meat. Scaffolding contributes to the structure, texture, and response-to-cooking of cell-cultured meat and is one of the key areas in need of further research and development. This grant will support the lab’s research by funding supplies and team-member stipends. The Kaplan Lab has extensive experience with cell-cultured meat research and is committed to the pursuit of a more ethical and sustainable food system. In addition to the team’s expertise, we appreciate their commitment to open-access publishing so that the entire field can benefit from the results of their projects.
Liberum is a Mexican organization working to influence industry, policy, and public opinion. They engage in awareness campaigns, promote plant-based options in restaurants, and advocate in local and federal Congress to tighten laws to protect farmed animals and promote plant-based diets. Mexico is a highly populous country with relatively high meat consumption. Therefore, we believe that advocacy in Mexico can be especially impactful, and we are excited to fund a local organization doing this important work. We also think that Liberum’s work to build alliances and maintain a network of academics, artists, politicians, public influencers, and NGOs is promising. This grant will go toward hiring staff for Liberum’s digital marketing department which supports the organization’s campaigns.
OBRAZ is a Czech organization working on corporate and legislative campaigns to eliminate the caging of hens used for eggs in addition to general movement-building activities. This grant will provide funding for their project Rostlinně, which is designed to complement their animal advocacy campaigns via the promotion of a plant-based lifestyle. Rostlinně works on the individual and institutional levels. On the individual level, they share plant-based recipes with their audience on social media. On the institutional level, they reach out to restaurants to support them in adding more plant-based options, even creating a guidebook for this purpose. In addition, Rostlinně awards a yearly prize to the best plant-based product as voted on by members of the public. We are excited to support institutional-level outreach in the Czech Republic and we appreciate OBRAZ’ strategic approach of having multiple, complementary campaigns. With this general-support grant, we aim to contribute to the long-term sustainability of Rostlinně.
Paris Animaux Zoopolis ($40,000)
Paris Animaux Zoopolis works in Paris on a variety of campaigns focused on highly neglected groups of animals such as fishes and “liminal” animals (animals who are wild but who live amidst human settlements) such as rats. We are impressed with the organization’s media presence and we hope that, with this grant, the organization will spread compassion for these oft-misunderstood groups of animals to the wider French public. Our grant will support two of the organization’s current projects. First, it will support a public outreach campaign aimed at banning recreational fishing in Paris. Paris Animaux Zoopolis’ methods include conducting investigations, advertising about fish pain in the Paris subway, and targeting the cruel practice of using live fishes as bait. Second, it will educate candidates for Paris city mayoral elections about animal issues and encourage them to protect rats, pigeons, fishes, and rabbits. It will also encourage them to decrease the free-roaming cat population in the city. Additionally, the organization intends to promote general animal welfare by providing plant-based food in public restaurants and engaging in public outreach—including attending conferences, hosting screenings, and producing exhibitions—to change the way animals are viewed.
Pour L’Égalité Animale ($15,000)
PEA (Pour l’Égalité Animale) is a Swiss organization that publishes undercover investigations, hosts vegan challenges, organizes public demonstrations, and works to put topics related to animal welfare on the Swiss political agenda. The organization works with the media in order to reach a large audience within the French-speaking part of Switzerland. In the next few years, the Swiss public will vote on a ban on factory farming, so we believe it could be especially impactful to invest in the Swiss animal advocacy movement now. We are excited to give PEA the opportunity to professionalize and increase public awareness about the inherent cruelties associated with factory farming in advance of the impending vote. A ban on factory farming would set an inspiring example for the rest of the world and would be a milestone in effective animal advocacy.
Plant-Based Policy Centre ($25,000)3
Plant-Based Policy Centre (PPC) supports plant-based food innovation in Canada by providing research, educational materials, and advocacy toolkits. Their resources aim to help grassroots advocates ask for non-legislative policies and actions related to plant-based food in their communities, as well as at higher levels of government. They support advocates by providing advice and letter templates, and they influence public opinion via media outreach. In addition, the organization encourages Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to include plant-based eating in its climate change strategies. We believe that PPC’s team is capable and strategic and that plant-based food innovation is an especially promising area of advocacy. We are particularly excited about the organization’s policy work to incentivize the plant-based food market.
Sneha’s Care ($43,000)
Sneha’s Care works to strengthen Nepalese animal protection laws for farmed animals by developing relationships with and educating politicians, members of the media, and religious leaders. The EAA Fund has granted to Sneha’s Care before. With the first grant, Sneha’s Care translated animal protection legislation into several regional languages in order to make the legislation accessible to more Nepalese advocates. In addition, Sneha’s Care organized several workshops and seminars to bring together people in politics, media, and religion to work on strengthening animal welfare in Nepal. Lastly, the organization has started to develop animal welfare standards for the industries using cows for dairy, goats for meat, and chickens for meat. We are impressed with the various ways in which the organization has worked to strengthen Nepalese animal protection laws so far and are excited to fund the remainder of the project.
Vegan Outreach ($17,000)
Vegan Outreach, which is active in various countries, applied for this grant to expand their Indian branch. Vegan Outreach helps institutions in India—such as universities, schools, and hostels—to reduce their environmental footprint by reducing the amount of animal products on their menus. While most conversations around animal agriculture’s impact on the environment center on eating less meat from cows, Vegan Outreach, an animal protection organization at its core, aims to reduce the consumption of all types of animals. Additionally, the organization conducts outreach to Indian students via virtual reality, humane education, and leafleting, and supports new vegans with a “10 Weeks to Vegan” program. We appreciate Vegan Outreach’s considerate approach to supporting local advocates and are excited about supporting farmed animal advocacy in India.
Vegans of Shanghai ($50,000)
Vegans of Shanghai works with food and beverage companies to increase plant-based options on their menus. In addition, they raise awareness about the health benefits of plant-based diets in collaboration with healthcare community leaders and nutritionists. Plant-based advocacy work in China is complex and poses many roadblocks due to the political context. We appreciate the strategic approach that the leadership of Vegans of Shanghai takes by focusing on health and environmental arguments in favor of plant-based eating, an approach that we would be more hesitant to fund if executed in a different country. China has one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies, but plant-based advocacy initiatives in this region are scarce. Vegans of Shanghai is one of the few organizations working in the plant-based movement in China, which makes them an especially appealing funding opportunity.
Wild Animal Initiative ($60,000)
Wild Animal Initiative (WAI) looks for ways to improve the welfare of wild animals via research and outreach. Wild animals are far more numerous than farmed animals and concern for their well-being as individuals is highly neglected. This grant is for general support. We are looking forward to the results of WAI’s research on insecticides and the tradeoffs between the resilience and reversibility of interventions. Interventions that are highly resilient might be expected to cost less in the long run, as they require less maintenance. However, if we encourage resilience at the cost of reversibility, we risk implementing large-scale interventions that have unexpected negative consequences that are difficult to remedy. WAI expects that with further research, they will be able to make concrete claims about when these tradeoffs are worthwhile and when they are not. We are excited about the potential direct impact of the interventions WAI identifies, as well as the indirect impact they will have by advancing the academic field of welfare biology. Wild animal welfare is a complicated but urgent topic and we appreciate the thoughtful approach that WAI is taking.
Anonymous grant recipient ($55,000)
The people involved in this project prefer for it to remain anonymous as they believe it is more strategic to position themselves as a public health and environmental organization, rather than as an animal advocacy organization.
Conflicts of Interest
To limit the potential influence of conflicts of interests (COIs) between staff members involved in the decision-making process,4 we took the following precautions:
- We considered that any serious COI (past employment, past or present involvement with Board of Directors or intensive volunteer work, close relationship with an employee) would disqualify a member of the grant committee from being involved with evaluating the relevant application.
- After all applications were in, but prior to any discussion of them, ACE staff members involved in the granting decisions listed any COIs they had on a spreadsheet.
- When the team discussed an application where a COI was identified for a particular staff member, that staff member would leave the call prior to the discussion and would not return until a decision had been made.
A few COIs were identified for charities that are not receiving grants. We are not listing those here in order to protect the applicants’ confidentiality. No conflicts of interest were identified for the charities receiving grants.
Effective Animal Advocacy Fund is now ACE Movement Grants. See this blog post for our reasoning behind the name change.
In October 2020, PPC returned 24,300 USD of the grant because their priorities changed, and they no longer have the capacity to carry out this project. While we are disappointed that the project could not be completed, we support PPC in the changing of their thinking, to only carry out the projects that make the most sense for them rather than stay committed to a project because they received a grant for it.
Staff members involved in the decision-making process were Leah Edgerton (Executive Director), Toni Adleberg (Director of Research), Erika Alonso (Director of Communications), Jamie Spurgeon (Researcher), and Marianne van der Werf (Effective Animal Advocacy Fund Program Officer). Staff members involved in vetting the grantees’ background information were Jaya Bhumitra (Managing Director) and Gina Stuessy (Director of Operations). As they were not involved in the decision-making process, we have not reported their conflicts of interest.