Making factory-farm cruelty a liability.
Why did Legal Impact for Chickens receive our recommendation?
LIC’s work to improve welfare standards and increase knowledge and skills for animal advocacy is highly promising because it focuses on animal groups, a country, and interventions that we consider high priority. Their litigation, corporate outreach, and education work to help farmed chickens in the United States seems particularly likely to be impactful. While we expect all of our evaluated charities to be excellent examples of effective advocacy, LIC is exceptional even within that group. Giving to LIC is an excellent opportunity to support initiatives that create the most positive change for animals.
Are Legal Impact for Chickens’ programs cost effective?
After analyzing the recent achievements and expenditures of Legal Impact for Chickens’ programs, we assess that they utilize their available resources in a cost-effective manner. Of Legal Impact for Chickens’ achievements, we think the Costco shareholder derivative case is particularly cost effective because the achievement had strong potential for indirect impact and received a high amount of media attention. We predict Legal Impact for Chickens will use your donations responsibly.
How is Legal Impact for Chickens’ organizational health?
Organizational factors can influence a charity’s effectiveness and stability. Our assessment showed that Legal Impact for Chickens has the key policies and processes in place necessary for healthy workplace conditions, governance, and staff engagement. We also positively noted their proactive approach to soliciting feedback from staff.
Why should you support Legal Impact for Chickens?
We estimate that Legal Impact for Chickens could effectively use $1,000,000 in additional donations (beyond their projected revenue) through 2025. With that funding, they plan to conduct more corporate litigation work. By supporting Legal Impact for Chickens, you play a crucial role in helping them achieve their plans and creating a better world for chickens in the United States.
Read our comprehensive review of Legal Impact for Chickens to learn more about their work and our evaluation methods.
Support Legal Impact for Chickens or all of our Recommended CharitiesMake a Donation
At Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE), we provide comprehensive reviews of all the organizations we recommend after conducting our yearly charity evaluations. During the evaluation period, our researchers thoroughly analyze publicly accessible information about each organization. Additionally, we ask participating organizations for supplemental materials and information to aid our assessments and help us identify the charities to recommend.
This review is based on our assessment of Legal Impact for Chickens’ performance on ACE’s four charity evaluation criteria. Each section of the review focuses on a different criterion: (i) Impact Potential, an overview of the charity’s programmatic work and an assessment of its impact potential; (ii) Cost Effectiveness, an analysis of the charity’s recent expenditures and achievements; (iii) Room for More Funding, an overview of the charity’s future plans and an estimate of how much additional funding they can effectively use in 2024 and 2025; and (iv) Organizational Health, an assessment of whether there are any management or governance issues substantial enough to affect the charity’s effectiveness and stability. Each of the four sections is divided into these subsections: Introduction, Our Method, Limitations of Our Method, Our Analysis, and Our Assessment of the charity in that criterion. Finally, we conclude with a summary of why we recommend this charity based on our evaluation.
Impact Potential: How promising are Legal Impact for Chickens programs?
With this criterion,1 we assess the impact potential (IP) of a charity’s programs without considering their specific program achievements. During our assessment, we analyze the groups of animals the charity’s programs target, the countries where they take place, and the intervention types they use. We also examine how the charity allocates expenditures among different animal groups, countries, and interventions. A charity that performs well on this criterion has programs with great potential to reduce animal suffering or improve animal wellbeing. The key aspects that ACE examines when evaluating a charity’s programmatic work are discussed in detail below.
Our Analysis of Legal Impact for Chickens’ Impact Potential
Legal Impact for Chickens’ programs focus exclusively on helping farmed animals, which we assess as a high-priority cause area. In particular, Legal Impact for Chickens focuses on helping farmed chickens.
Fig. 1: Legal Impact for Chickens’ spending toward each animal group
In the table below, we report for each animal group our scores (on a 1–7 scale) for Scale, Tractability, and Neglectedness, as well as the general IP score and the uncertainty score. We also provide our overall impression of each animal group based on the latter two scores. For more details on how we scored animal groups, see the Prioritizing animals section.
|Animal group||Scale||Tractability||Neglectedness||IP Score||Uncertainty||Overall impression|
|Farmed chickens||4.1||6||5||5||2.8||High priority, moderate uncertainty|
|Farmed animals (general)||4.4||5.8||5.3||5.1||2.7||High priority, moderate uncertainty|
Legal Impact for Chickens’ headquarters are currently located in the United States. They do not have any subsidiaries.
Legal Impact for Chickens runs their programs in the United States.
Fig. 2: Legal Impact for Chickens’ spending toward each country
In the table below, we report our scores (on a 1–7 scale) for Scale, Tractability, Global Influence, and Neglectedness, as well as the IP score for each country where Legal Impact for Chickens runs programs to help farmed animals. We also provide our overall impression of each country based on the IP score. For more details on how we scored countries, see the Prioritizing countries section.
|Country||Scale||Tractability||Global Influence||Neglectedness||IP Score||Overall impression|
|United States||5.5||6.6||6.9||4.1||5.8||High priority|
Legal Impact for Chickens uses the following intervention types to improve welfare standards: corporate litigation and investigations. They also educate students about factory farming to increase knowledge/skills for animal advocacy.
LIC notes that they work to make factory-farm cruelty a liability. They develop methods to enforce existing cruelty laws in factory farms, and to sue companies that break welfare commitments.
Fig. 3: Legal Impact for Chickens’ spending toward each intervention
We use theory of change diagrams to communicate our interpretation of how a charity creates change for animals through interventions and outcomes. It is important to note that these diagrams are not complete representations of real-world mechanisms of change. Rather, they are simplified models that ACE uses to represent our beliefs about mechanisms of change. For the sake of simplicity, some diagrams may not include relatively small or uncertain effects.
Fig. 4: Legal Impact for Chickens’ theory of change diagram
In the table below, we report for each intervention-outcome combination our scores (on a 1–7 scale) for Scale (short term), Scale (long term), Tractability, and Neglectedness, as well as the general IP score and the uncertainty score. We also provide our overall impression of each intervention type based on the latter two scores. For more details on how we scored interventions, see the Prioritizing interventions section.
|Intervention||Outcome||Scale (short term)||Scale (long term)||Tractability||Neglectedness||IP Score||Uncertainty||Overall impression|
|Corporate Litigation||Improvement of welfare standards||4.3||2.8||5.8||3.8||4.2||4.2||High priority, moderate uncertainty|
|Investigations||Improvement of welfare standards||4.0||2.3||4.5||2.8||3.4||5.2||Moderate priority, high uncertainty|
|Education||Increased knowledge/ skills for animal advocacy||4.5||5||4.5||4.3||4.5||4.6||High priority, high uncertainty|
Research on the impact potential of interventions
Below, we summarize the most relevant research on the effectiveness of each of these intervention types.
A 2022 report by Faunalytics suggests that litigation can be an effective way to influence animal agriculture subsidies.10 This is because organizations that have sued Big Ag companies reported that doing so increased their ability to pressure animal agriculture industries. The report concludes that while litigation can be challenging and advocates should be mindful of which cases are more difficult, it can be used outside the courtroom as a tool to obtain meetings with politicians, media coverage of the harms of Big Ag, and legislative changes that reduce such harms.
A 2023 article presents a case study of a campaign against a U.S. zoo, arguing that litigation can yield important benefits for social movements and the communities they serve.11 These benefits can be juridical (e.g., court orders that improve conditions for exploited individuals) and extra-juridical (e.g., public outreach that influences broader shifts in social norms).
Another 2023 article investigates law enforcement efforts, trends, and dynamics that have emerged over the past decade, which have effectively excluded farmed animals from coverage by animal protection laws.12 The article asserts that this situation is mainly due to inadequate enforcement and limited access to enforcement avenues rather than inherent flaws in the laws themselves.
A 2013 study on the Australian public’s reaction to investigative footage of cows broadcasted in the media concluded that they were emotionally affected, but that did not translate to significant behavioral change.13 A 2015 study on the same footage concluded that many people who view animal cruelty footage would have a long-term memory of it but would still prefer to be informed about the issues rather than protected from them.14 A 2020 study examining the impact of an Australian media campaign—which exposed animal cruelty during the live export of sheep—found no apparent difference in people’s concern for sheep or cow welfare, attitudes toward animal agriculture, acceptance of the meat industry, or trust in meat farmers, after the media campaign.15
A 2023 experimental study in Germany found that most participants perceived all forms of undercover investigation as legitimate, and perceived legitimacy was considerably higher when blatant animal abuse was uncovered.16 The study also suggests that apart from where property damage was involved, which was mainly considered unacceptable, harsher punishment for animal welfare organizations generally obtained little social approval.
A 2020 report by Farm Forward argues that because undercover investigations are expensive and have significant risks, they are most effective when used together with campaigns targeting specific companies or practices.17 The report states that legislators in 28 U.S. states have introduced “ag-gag” laws that make it illegal to capture images and videos of farms without written permission.
Some evidence suggests that educational interventions decrease meat consumption in undergraduate students. A 2019 study found that a lecture on the environmental and health benefits of reduced meat consumption led to an increase in plant-based meal purchases among U.S. undergraduate students.18 A 2023 study by the same authors suggests that climate change informational interventions can be cost effective and reduce meat consumption among students for three years.19
A 2020 report that evaluated the impact of the Educated Choices Program found it had positive effects on student attitudes, behavioral intentions, and self-reported behaviors with regard to their food choices.20 Similarly, a study from the same year analyzed the effects of ordinary philosophical ethics classes on moral choices and found it led to a reduction in meat purchases and influenced attitudes toward eating meat.21 Moreover, a 2019 study found that a university course on the carbon footprint of meat and other foods reduced students’ red meat consumption.22
Legal Impact for Chickens’ programs can be interpreted as six combinations of interventions used, countries where those interventions are conducted, and/or animal groups aimed to be helped. In the table below, we report the IP score (on a 1–7 scale, ranging from lowest to highest IP) for each intervention-animal-country combination that applies to Legal Impact for Chickens. For more details on how we scored the synergy impacts, see the Assessing synergy section.
|Synergy combinations||% Annual Expenditures||IP Score|
|Corporate Litigation to Help Farmed Chickens in United States||65||6|
|Investigations to Help Farmed Chickens in United States||23||6|
|Education to Help Farmed Chickens in United States||7||6.3|
|Corporate Litigation to Help Farmed Animals (General) in United States||3||5.8|
|Education to Help Farmed Animals (General) in United States||1||6|
|Investigations to Help Farmed Animals (General) in United States||1||5.8|
Our Assessment of LIC’s Impact Potential
We estimate that all of LIC’s expenditures on programs go toward high-priority animal groups (farmed chickens and farmed animals in general), and high-priority countries (United States), and 76% goes toward high-priority interventions (corporate litigation and education). Their work on education, litigation, and investigations to help farmed chickens in the United States seems to have a particularly high impact potential.
In general, we are highly uncertain about education work and investigations relative to other interventions. This high uncertainty is due to high standard deviation in team IP scores, which can be interpreted as a relatively high level of disagreement among our team members regarding the impact potential of using these intervention types. It is also due to the relatively low quantity and quality of research about the effectiveness of education and the relatively low quantity of research about the effectiveness of investigations. Also, we note that we are uncertain of corporate litigation as it is a relatively neglected intervention type and is not used by many farmed animal advocacy organizations.
Overall, we assessed the impact potential of LIC’s programs as high, with an overall IP score of 5.2 (on a 1–7 scale), placing them in the 4th quartile (top 25%) of the charities we evaluated in 2023. Based on the final uncertainty score, we assessed our overall uncertainty in LIC’s impact potential as moderate. For more detailed information, see LIC’s IP Assessment spreadsheet.
Cost Effectiveness: How much has Legal Impact for Chickens achieved through their programs?
With this criterion, we assess the effectiveness of a charity’s approach to implementing interventions, their achievements, and the costs associated with those achievements. Charities that perform well on this criterion likely use their available resources in a cost-effective manner. The key aspects that ACE considers when examining cost effectiveness are reviewed in detail below.
Our Analysis of Legal Impact for Chickens’ Cost Effectiveness
The following tables show Legal Impact for Chickens’ key achievements and achievement expenditures per intervention category from January to December 2022, the quantity of achievements per $1/$100,000, and the achievement cost-effectiveness score. The tables show the five highest-expenditure achievements per intervention category. For a full list of Legal Impact for Chickens’ achievements, please see their Cost-Effectiveness Assessment spreadsheet.
|Key achievements||Achievement expenditures (USD) 35||Number of legal actions per $100,000||Achievement score (1–7) 36|
|Filed the Costco shareholder derivative case Smith v. Vachris||$204,428||0.5||3.9|
|Began preparing a lawsuit against the chicken-meat company Case Farms (filed in May 2023)||$1,566||63.9||2.6|
|Submitted a public comment to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) about transparency about chicken welfare||$1,566||63.9||2.2|
|Key achievements||Achievement expenditures (USD)||Number of individuals reached||Number of individuals reached per $100,000||Achievement score (1–7)|
|Gave presentations on factory-farm litigation at four law schools (Yale, Stanford, Columbia, and Vermont)||$9,113||44||483||1.6|
|Key achievements||Achievement expenditures (USD)||Number of media appearances||Number of media appearances per $100,000||Achievement score (1–7)|
|Spoke on 7 podcasts||$4,556||7||153.6||1.9|
Our Assessment of Legal Impact for Chickens’ Cost Effectiveness
Legal Impact for Chickens’ overall cost-effectiveness score is 3.7, placing them in the 2nd quartile (scoring higher than 25% of charities) among all charities evaluated in 2023. This score was reached by averaging the individual scores calculated for each achievement, weighted by the relative expenditures on the achievement.37 This overall score is an estimate of how well Legal Impact for Chickens has implemented their interventions from January to December 2022, taking their expenditures into account.
We think that out of all of Legal Impact for Chickens’ achievements, the Costco shareholder derivative case is particularly cost effective because it scored high on achievement quality. We thought the achievement has strong potential for indirect impact, and it received a high amount of media attention. In contrast, we think that the presentations at law schools are less cost effective because, relative to expenditures, fewer students were reached compared to other achievements in this intervention category, and there is limited evidence for the impact of the presentations on students.
We think our score may overestimate Legal Impact for Chickens’ cost effectiveness for the following reason: Legal Impact for Chickens submitted preparation for a future investigation as an additional achievement. Because this achievement lies in the future, we were unable to score it and it did not contribute to the overall cost-effectiveness score. It is possible that including this achievement could have decreased the cost-effectiveness score because we rate investigations lower in our prioritization of interventions than Legal Impact for Chickens’ other main interventions.
We think our score may underestimate Legal Impact for Chickens’ cost effectiveness for the following reason: The Costco shareholder derivative case accounts for 91% of Legal Impact for Chickens’ program expenditures, and therefore for 91% of the cost-effectiveness score. Given that the lawsuit was dismissed, its impact is largely indirect (e.g., inspiring similar lawsuits). The indirect impact occurs over a longer period of time and is difficult to estimate. If we underestimated the indirect impact of this achievement, Legal Impact for Chickens’ cost-effectiveness score would reflect that and generally underestimate their cost effectiveness.
Our uncertainty in the cost-effectiveness score is high (above the median of all evaluated charities). This is based on a low amount of missing information when scoring achievements, moderate uncertainty scores for the relevant intervention categories, and the outcome of our verification process. Of the three achievements selected for verification, one was verified as true, one was partially verified as true, and one was rated as unverifiable. Additionally, we increased Legal Impact for Chickens’ uncertainty score because of the low number of achievements they submitted. Because one achievement accounts for most of the score, this cost-effectiveness score should be interpreted with particular caution.
Room For More Funding: How much additional money can Legal Impact for Chickens effectively use in the next two years?
A recommendation from ACE could lead to a large increase in a charity’s funding. With this criterion, we investigate whether a charity would be able to absorb the funding that a new or renewed recommendation may bring, and the extent to which we believe that their future uses of funding will be as effective as their past work. All descriptive data and estimations for this criterion can be found in the model spreadsheet.
Our Analysis of Legal Impact for Chickens’ Room For More Funding
The chart below shows Legal Impact for Chickens’ revenues, expenditures, and total staff size from 2020–2022, as well as their own projections for the years 2023–2025.
Fig. 6: Legal Impact for Chickens’ financials and staff size (2020–2025)
Assessment of Projected Revenue and Expenditures
|Concerns about alignment with previous projections44||Level of concern about charity’s sustainability (1–7)||Reasoning|
|N/A||4||Projecting a budget deficit in 2023 and 2024 and planning to rely on cash reserves while focusing on cultivating new donor relationships and increasing the amount of recurring revenue|
We consider the charity’s projected growth (uncertainty level 4 out of 7) to be supported by contextual information and history. A more detailed summary of their financials, including breakdowns by intervention, animal group, and country, can be found in the “Overall Financials” tab of their model spreadsheet.
Assessment of Hiring Plans
|Year||# FTEs||Hiring plans||Uncertainty (1–7)|
|Projection for 2023||2.5||Two recent hires in 2023||1|
|Projection for 2024||3||Taking a break from hiring||1|
|Projection for 2025||3||Taking a break from hiring||1|
A more detailed summary of their hiring plans and our reasoning behind their uncertainty scores can be found in the “Assessment: Hiring Plans” tab of their model spreadsheet.
Plans for expansion
Legal Impact for Chickens plans to carry out more litigation work and ramp up expenditures on education. They will stay primarily focused on chickens (and other farmed animals when excellent opportunities arise) in the United States. They will first focus on fundraising to ensure that their annual income can match their annual expenditures prior to additional hiring.
A more detailed summary of their future plans can be found in their model spreadsheet.
Legal Impact for Chickens shared that they could absorb a total of $1,019,260 beyond their most likely scenario projections while still meeting the high standards of their current programs and provided the following plans:
|Priority for Funds||Amount of Funds||Type of Work Funded||Uncertainty about Effectiveness of Plans (1–7)|
|1||$376,860||Fourth litigator for two years (and corresponding increased capacity)||3|
|2||$203,700||Paralegal/operations professional for two years (and corresponding increased capacity)||3|
|3||$238,700||Communications/development employee for two years (and corresponding increased capacity)||3|
|4||$200,000||Two more undercover investigations||3|
Based on these plans and Legal Impact for Chickens’ financial projections, we believe that the charity can effectively use approximately the above amounts in the next two years in a way that is as effective as their past work. Overall, we consider their future corporate litigation work to be moderately uncertain but promising, based on the positive results from their Costco shareholder derivative case.
A more detailed summary of their plans for unexpected funding and the reasoning behind our uncertainty assessments can be found in the “RFMF Estimate” tab of their model spreadsheet.
With more than 100% of annual expenditures held in net assets (as reported by Legal Impact for Chickens for 2023), we believe that they hold a sufficient amount of reserves at the moment as they work up to their target amount of 300%.
Our Assessment of Legal Impact for Chickens’ Room For More Funding
Based on our assessment that they have sufficient reserves and our assessment of their plans to use unexpected funding, we believe that overall, Legal Impact for Chickens has room for $500,000 of additional funding in 2024 and $500,000 in 2025. These two figures represent the amount beyond their projected revenues of $403,200 and $552,900 in 2024 and 2025, meaning that we believe that they could effectively use a total revenue of up to $903,200 and $1,052,900.
Organizational Health: Are there any management issues substantial enough to affect Legal Impact for Chickens’ effectiveness and stability?
With this criterion,45 we assess whether any aspects of an organization’s leadership or workplace culture pose a risk to its effectiveness or stability, thereby reducing its potential to help animals. Problems with leadership and workplace culture could also negatively affect the reputation of the broader animal advocacy movement, as well as employees’ wellbeing and their willingness to remain in the movement. For example:
- Schyns & Schilling (2013) report that poor leadership practices result in counterproductive employee behavior, stress, negative attitudes toward the entire company, lower job satisfaction, and higher intention to quit.
- Waldman et al. (2012) report that effective leadership predicts lower turnover and reduced intention to quit.
- Wang (2021) reports that organizational commitment among nonprofit employees is positively related to engaged leadership, community engagement effort, the degree of formalization in daily operations, and perceived intangible support for employees.
- Gorski et al. (2018) report that all of the activists they interviewed attributed their burnout in part to negative organizational and movement cultures, including a culture of martyrdom, exhaustion/overwork, the taboo of discussing burnout, and financial strain.
- A meta-analysis by Harter et al. (2002) indicates that employee satisfaction and engagement are correlated with reduced employee turnover and accidents and increased customer satisfaction, productivity, and profit.
Our Analysis of Legal Impact for Chickens’ Organizational Health
People policies and processes
The policies that Legal Impact for Chickens reported having in place are listed below. They reported that they proactively make all of the relevant policies accessible to their staff.
|Has policy||Partial / informal policy||No policy|
|Paid time off|
|Paid sick days|
|Paid medical leave|
|Permission to use sick days for mental health purposes|
|Healthcare coverage or health insurance|
|Paid family and caregiver leave|
|Paid internships (if relevant)|
|Compensation strategy (i.e., a policy detailing how the charity determines their staff’s pay and benefits in a standardized way)|
|An anti-retaliation policy protecting whistleblowers and those who report grievances|
|Board meeting minutes|
|Conflict of interest policy|
|Records retention and destruction policy|
|A clearly written workplace code of ethics/conduct|
|A written statement that the charity does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, or other irrelevant characteristics|
|A simple and transparent written procedure for filing complaints|
|Mandatory reporting of harassment and discrimination through all levels, up to and including the board of directors|
|Explicit protocols for addressing concerns or allegations of harassment or discrimination|
|Documentation of all reported instances of harassment or discrimination, along with the outcomes of each case||N/A|
|Training on topics of harassment and discrimination in the workplace|
|Organizational design and communication|
|Clearly defined responsibilities for all positions, preferably with written job descriptions|
|Clearly defined objectives and expectations for all roles|
|Documentation of all key knowledge and information necessary to fulfill the needs of the organization|
|Mission and/or vision, defining the purpose and future of the organization|
|Clear organizational goals and/or priorities communicated to all employees|
|Performance and recruitment assessments|
|Annual (or more frequent) performance evaluations for all roles|
|Performance evaluation process based on predefined objectives and expectations|
|Annual (or more frequent) process to measure staff engagement or satisfaction|
|A process in place to support performance improvement in instances of underperformance|
|Learning and development|
|New hire onboarding or orientation process|
|Training and development available to each employee|
|A simple and transparent written procedure for employees to request additional training or support|
|Flexible work hours|
|Remote work option|
|Representation, equity, and inclusion|
|Process to attract a diverse candidate pool|
|Structured hiring, assessing all candidates using the same process|
|Standardized process for employment termination decisions|
|Two or more decision-makers for all hiring, promotion, and termination decisions|
Legal Impact for Chickens was transparent with ACE throughout the evaluation process.
Leadership and governance
Legal Impact for Chickens’ President is Alene Anello, who has been involved in the charity for two years.
The board of directors has five members. The President is a voting board member but does not vote on her own compensation. The charity has a conflict of interest policy in place regarding the relationship between the President and the board. All staff also have access to an anonymous reporting portal so they can communicate with the board directly without fear of retaliation from the executive director.
We found that the charity’s board aligned with our understanding of best practice. Most of their board members are independent from the organization, board meetings take place once or twice per year, and the board has robust term limits and performance evaluation processes in place.
Among Legal Impact for Chickens staff who responded to our engagement survey, the average score across questions regarding confidence in leadership and management was 4.7 on a 1–5 scale, indicating very high confidence. 100% of respondents agreed with the statement “I have confidence in the leaders at our organization.”
Staff engagement and satisfaction
At the time the survey was administered, Legal Impact for Chickens had three staff members (all full-time). Three staff members responded to our engagement survey, yielding a response rate of 100%.56
Legal Impact for Chickens has a partial or informal compensation plan to determine staff salaries. Survey respondents’ average score to questions regarding satisfaction with wage and benefits was 4.8 on a 1–5 scale, indicating very high satisfaction.
The average score across all questions was 4.9 (on a 1–5 scale), suggesting that, on average, staff exhibit very high engagement and satisfaction.
Harassment and discrimination
We did not receive any reports of harassment or discrimination at Legal Impact for Chickens.
Our Assessment of Legal Impact for Chickens’ Organizational Health
We did not detect any concerns in Legal Impact for Chickens’ leadership and organizational culture. Based on our assessment, they appear to have strong policies and processes in place and high levels of staff engagement. We also positively noted their proactive approach to soliciting constructive feedback from staff. For example, the President invites weekly feedback on the organization and her own performance, and has arranged a third-party 360 review of her performance using interviews from staff (both current and former) and board members.
Legal Impact for Chickens’ work to improve welfare standards, and increase knowledge and skills for animal advocacy is highly promising because it focuses on animal groups, countries, and interventions that we consider high priority. Their work on conducting litigation, corporate outreach and education to help farmed chickens in the United States seems to be particularly likely to be impactful. We assess Legal Impact for Chickens’ recent work as highly cost-effective and believe they are in a strong position to use additional funding. These efforts are well-aligned with ACE’s organizational values and theory of change.
Legal Impact for Chickens performed very strongly compared to other charities we evaluated. During the decision-making phase of our evaluation process, we took into account their performance on our four evaluation criteria—Impact Potential (high), Cost Effectiveness (high), Room for More Funding across 2024 and 2025 ($1,000,000), and Organizational Health (no major concerns)—as well as our level of uncertainty in their scores. In this particular case, our uncertainty in Legal Impact for Chickens’ Cost Effectiveness score was higher than our uncertainty in their Impact Potential score, so we put more emphasis on the latter when making recommendation decisions. Overall, we find Legal Impact for Chickens to be an excellent giving opportunity for those looking to create the most positive change for animals.
To view all of the sources cited in this review, see the reference list.
This criterion was called Programs from 2020 to 2022. We decided to rename it Impact Potential to better reflect its focus on assessing the effectiveness of charities’ programs without considering their implementation. This name is more specific and less confusing internally, especially since we recently changed the name of our research team to the Programs team.
Rethink Priorities adjusted their welfare range estimates for use in ACE’s evaluations. Because ACE compares animal charities with each other rather than with human charities, Rethink Priorities reindexed the ranges to pigs instead of humans—see this page for more information.
The framework we used to prioritize countries only applies to farmed animal advocacy. We have not developed a framework to prioritize wild animal welfare work because there are very few organizations that work on wild animal welfare, and those we have considered so far are focused on indirect work such as research and academic development, which is less country-specific.
For example, when scoring the intervention category “apps and other digital resources,” we considered the following tractability proxies: the Global Innovation Index, Education (mean years of schooling), and Internet Penetration rate.
We asked that reported achievements and associated expenditures amount to at least 90% of a charity’s total program expenditures during the reporting period. We also adjusted achievement expenditures by taking the charity’s reported expenditures and adding a portion of their non-programmatic expenditures (i.e., overhead or administration). This process allowed us to incorporate general organizational running costs into our consideration of cost effectiveness.
For more information about Weighted Factor Models, see Charity Entrepreneurship (2019).
We standardized this unit to achievements per one U.S. dollar or per $100,000, depending on which was easier to interpret, to allow for comparison across achievements. For example, we calculated how many individuals a social media campaign reached per dollar spent or how many legal actions a charity filed per $100,000 spent. For some intervention categories, the number of achievements was too low to normalize the achievement quantity. In these cases, we used the average of two researchers’ subjective assessment of the quantity on a 1–7 scale.
See here for the full rubric. Two researchers scored each achievement on the rubric, and discussed significant disagreements before a second round of revising scores. We averaged the two researchers’ scores for each factor. Where we did not have enough information to score an achievement, we set the corresponding factor weight to zero.
We defaulted to giving achievement quality 75% and achievement quantity 25% weight. In some cases, e.g., if we were particularly uncertain about the achievement quantity, we gave achievement quality a higher weight.
By using a multiplicative method, we avoid giving high scores to achievements that implement promising interventions poorly (i.e., high intervention score but low implementation score). Consider the example where a charity focuses on an intervention like cage-free campaigns, which has the potential to be highly impactful, but fails to achieve any significant commitments. With a weighted average approach, the charity would still receive a relatively high score despite an unsuccessful implementation of their campaigns. However, by using a multiplicative method, the overall score accounts for the interaction between intervention and implementation scores. This means that if the implementation quality is lacking, the overall score will appropriately reflect that.
We encouraged charities to give as much information as possible about each achievement. In order to protect their capacity, we also marked some questions as optional. Where we did not have the relevant information to score an achievement on a factor in the scoring rubric, this increased our uncertainty score for that achievement.
We increased the uncertainty score for charities that reported fewer than 10 achievements to account for the fact that measurement errors and uncertainties have a higher impact on the final score when fewer achievements are averaged.
For interested readers, we compiled a list of existing quantified cost-effectiveness estimates for animal advocacy interventions here. You can find our summaries of existing empirical research on the impact potential of interventions here.
For more information about Weighted Factor Models, see Charity Entrepreneurship (2019).
We adjusted the achievement expenditures charities reported to us by adding a portion of their overhead costs, weighted by the relative achievement expenditures, in order to take general organizational running costs into account in our cost-effectiveness assessment.
To calculate the achievement score, we multiplied the intervention score by the implementation score. We then min-max normalized those scores against all other achievement scores across charities and converted the result to a 1–7 scale.
This criterion was called Leadership and Culture from 2020 to 2022. We found that ‘leadership’ was often misunderstood as referring solely to the qualities of individual leaders and that ‘culture’ was understood in very different ways across countries and demographics. With the new name Organizational Health, we intend to highlight the broad focus of this criterion and to clarify that its goal is to identify any significant risks to the organization’s effectiveness and stability.
For example, in a study by Anderson (2020), 49% of paid animal advocates and 28% of unpaid animal advocates reported having experienced discrimination or harassment. Advocates who were members of a minoritized group (i.e., people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people) were significantly more likely to leave the movement as a result of discrimination than non-minoritized advocates.
Examples of such social characteristics include: race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender or gender expression, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, marital status, national origin, citizenship, amnesty, veteran status, political beliefs, age, ability, and genetic information.
ACE defines “harassment” as bullying, intimidation, and other behavior (whether physical, verbal, or nonverbal) that has the effect of upsetting, demeaning, humiliating, intimidating, or threatening an individual. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
ACE defines the “workplace” as any place where work-related activities occur, including physical premises, meetings, conferences, training sessions, transit, social functions, and electronic communication (such as email, chat, text, phone calls, and virtual meetings).
Charity Navigator defines transparency as “an obligation or willingness by a charity to publish and make available critical data about the organization.”
BoardSource (2016), p. 4
For example, see Mitchell et al. (2001).
The publicly accessible version of this form can be found via ACE’s Third-Party Whistleblower Policy on our website.
Legal Impact for Chickens also has five contractors, whom we did not include when considering the engagement survey response rate in this case, given their relatively limited involvement with the organization.