We believe in the value of openness and honesty and feel it is important for us to respond to recent feedback and allegations regarding our review process. On August 4th, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) released a Youtube video in which they make some false accusations about our charity recommendations.1
Some members of the animal advocacy community have expressed dismay about our consideration of Ducks Unlimited. To be clear, we rejected Ducks Unlimited during our initial screening phase, the very first step of our evaluations. Consideration is not a recommendation: we have never recommended Ducks Unlimited, whose promotion of hunting personally appalls everyone on staff at ACE. With feedback from the community, we have decided we must find a way to make it clear that we do not approve of any similar organizations.
The video claims we have only conducted 21 comprehensive charity reviews, which is misleading. We consider as many charities as possible, then choose the most promising charities for comprehensive review. Currently only 21 charities have comprehensive reviews available on our website; however, we have conducted 48 comprehensive and over 50 exploratory reviews for a combined total of over 100 reviews. This confusion is due to a misunderstanding of how our review process works.
Conflicts of Interest
SHARK alleges that we recommend charities based on their connection with Nick Cooney. This is not true. We have always been transparent with SHARK, treated them with the utmost respect and answered all questions via email and Skype. We are very open about all conflicts of interest, and do not allow our Researchers to participate in charity reviews if they have a conflict of interest with the organization.
Nick Cooney’s association with our Top Charities has always been publicly available information. We did consider that some individuals may mistakenly assume we made recommendations based on this connection, but we decided to select the most effective charities despite this. It is our duty to make recommendations based on objective information and changing our recommendations for the sake of appearance would be wrong.
We firmly believe everyone deserves to have their voice heard, which is one reason we choose to speak for animals. To stay true to this value, we continue to welcome feedback and critiques of our methods. We encourage thinking critically and will continue to do so. But when that feedback turns malicious or disrupts our community’s common mission to help animals, we have little choice but to intervene. We will not tolerate harassment or personal victimization; we hope we can continue to respect each other and work toward our mutual goal of improving the lives of nonhuman animals.
Lastly, we appreciate the messages of support we have received. The animal advocacy movement never ceases to amaze us. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions.
Edit August 14: We initially stated that SHARK’s claim was that ACE only reviewed 21 charities. However, SHARK’s claim was that ACE has only conducted 21 comprehensive reviews. While this is also inaccurate—we allow organizations to ask us not to publish our review, which means that we have written many reviews that are not published online—we’ve updated our response to correct this error.
Edit September 1: Added links to email correspondence with SHARK.
For context, see our email correspondence with SHARK prior to their releasing this video.
- Hindi, Steve. “Questions Regarding Animal Charity Evaluators.” Email to Jon Bockman, June 01, 2017.
- Bockman, Jon. “Re: Questions Regarding Animal Charity Evaluators.” Email response to Steve Hindi, June 03, 2017.
- Hindi, Steve. “Serious Concerns Regarding Animal Charity Evaluators.” Email to Jon Bockman, June 09, 2017.
- Hindi, Steve. “Continuing Concerns.” Email to Jon Bockman, July 07, 2017.
- Müller, Jonas. “Re: Continuing Concerns.” Email response to Steve Hindi, July 21, 2017.