with Spencer Greenberg
the podcast about ideas that matter

Episode 102: Cognitive biases and animal welfare (with Leah Edgerton)

April 28, 2022

What are some of the tensions between short-term and long-term thinking about how best to reduce animal suffering? Why spend time and energy working on animal welfare when human welfare hasn't even been secured? Why do so many animal rights activists and organizations have such negative reputations and elicit such strongly negative emotional reactions from the population at large when they're just trying to reduce suffering? How does animal rights activism from an effective altruism perspective intersect with the more traditional forms of animal rights activism and social justice activism? Humans tend to be more capable of empathizing (for example) with a cow than with a fish, and more with a dog than with a cow; so how can animal rights activists motivate people in a way that works with or around human cognitive and emotional biases? What are some tools for dealing with chronic pain?

Leah has been involved in the effective altruism community for a decade and in animal advocacy her whole life. She has 7 years of professional experience in farmed animal advocacy, primarily focused on movement growth and interfacing with funders. Most recently, she worked at Animal Charity Evaluators on the Communications team and then as Executive Director. Her previous work experience includes performing in the Zurich Opera, managing a small business, and founding and leading ProVeg International's China Program. She currently works as a freelance philanthropic advisor to high-net-worth individuals entering the farmed animal space. You can email Leah at or find out more about her on her LinkedIn profile.

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Host / Director
Spencer Greenberg

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