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Animal Charity Evaluators

Helping People Help Animals

Last Updated: April, 2018


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.

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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.

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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.

Learn about our Review Process

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.


Advocacy Methods

Marked variations in APD configuration can also be seen in single cells obtained from the remodeled LV wall, remote from the infarct [54] . Outward K + currents in rat remodeled LV decay with two phases. The characteristics of the fast component are similar to I to , while the slow component is termed I K . A difference in the ratio of the relative densities of I to to I K can explain the difference between APs of epicardial and endocardial myocytes. Noninfarcted RV myocytes from the 3-day-old rat infarct show no reduction in I to or I K density compared to myocytes from sham-operated hearts, however, both K + channel densities are increased relative to control RV myocytes, possibly as a result of surgical trauma [53] .

For the rat LV myocytes not overlying the 3-day infarct but adjacent to it, I to densities are reduced with more severe reductions occurring in myocytes from the epicardial versus the endocardial layers. Furthermore, I K is reduced in density evenly across the myocardial wall in surviving cells remote from the infarct [53] . By 3 weeks post MI in the rat, the hypertrophied LV myocytes continue to show reduced I to and I K densities with little change reported for channel kinetics [54] . These latter studies are consistent with the persistent AP prolongation in these myocytes.

In studies of 3-week post MI myocytes isolated from regions remote from the arrhythmogenic substrate, reverse NaCa exchanger current density is reduced [40] . No kinetics of NaCa exchanger function were examined. Reduced NaCa exchanger current density would be consistent with less outward and inward currents during AP repolarization in these myocytes. Whether APs of these post MI myocytes had voltage profiles consistent with reduced NaCa exchanger density is not known.

In general, there are no differences in resting potentials in myocytes from epicardial and endocardial areas that are remote from the 2–6-month-old infarcts [15,29,56] .

Myocytes from the LV free wall remote from 2-month-old infarcts in rats have a significantly reduced V̇ max of phase 0 [15] . No studies to date have identified whether there are persistent changes in the density or function of I Na in these cells.

Ca 2+ currents: Typically, areas remote from the infarct scar show a tendency toward an increase in Ca 2+ current magnitude [15,29] , regardless of the holding voltage. Current–voltage curves have the typical bell-shaped configuration, with similar peak potential ranges in both post-infarct and sham or control cells. However, peak I CaL density is reduced as a result of an increase in capacitance of the remote area myocyte [15,29] . When barium is used as the charge carrier, inward current in remote cells is enhanced compared to control cells, suggesting that voltage-dependent inactivation is decreased, but more importantly, that calcium-dependent inactivation may be increased. Time course of decay of calcium currents is biexponential, voltage-dependent and unchanged in remote cells [15,29] . Steady-state availability curves may be unchanged [15] , or shifted to more negative potentials [29] , while restitution of I CaL remains normal.

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Postprandial incremental area under the curve above fasting values for cholesterol, triglycerides, apo B-48, and apo B-100 in plasma lipoproteins in the type 2 diabetic patients and the nondiabetic controls

Values are the mean ± sem . Conversion to Systeme International units for cholesterol, mg/dl: 38.6 = mmol/liter; for triglycerides, mg/dl: 88.5 = mmol/liter.

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The postprandial responses of apo B-48 and apo B-100 in the chylomicron fraction are shown in Fig. 2 and, as incremental areas, in Table 2 . The response to the meal was small and in any case similar between diabetic patients and control subjects.

Triglycerides, cholesterol, apo B-48, and apo B-100 in the large VLDL are shown in Fig. 3 and as incremental areas in Table 2 . Triglycerides and cholesterol were higher at fasting in diabetic patients compared with controls and remained higher during the entire postprandial period; the difference was more evident in the last part of the curve, with still increasing values in the diabetic patients even 6 h after the meal. The incremental areas for both triglycerides and cholesterol were more than doubled in diabetic patients compared with controls. The concentrations of apo B-48 and apo B-100 in large VLDL were also higher in the diabetic patients compared with the controls at different time points of the postprandial curve. The apo B-100 incremental area was markedly higher in the diabetic patients compared with the controls (65.5 ± 11.5 vs. 12.4 ± 1.8 mg/liter·h; P < 0.05). Equally higher was apo B-48 incremental area (7.08 ± 2.65 vs. 1.17 ± 0.88 mg/liter·h; P < 0.05).

F ig . 3.
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Concentrations of triglyceride, cholesterol, apo B-48, and apo B-100 in plasma large VLDL (Sf 60–400) before and after a standard meal in patients with type 2 diabetes and nondiabetic controls (mean ± sem ; by ANOVA for repeated measures, < 0.05; by test, *, < 0.05 control). Conversion to Systeme International units for cholesterol, mg/dl : 38.6 = mmol/liter; for triglycerides, mg/dl: 88.5 = mmol/liter.

F ig . 3.
View large Download slide

Concentrations of triglyceride, cholesterol, apo B-48, and apo B-100 in plasma large VLDL (Sf 60–400) before and after a standard meal in patients with type 2 diabetes and nondiabetic controls (mean ± sem ; by ANOVA for repeated measures, < 0.05; by test, *, < 0.05 control). Conversion to Systeme International units for cholesterol, mg/dl : 38.6 = mmol/liter; for triglycerides, mg/dl: 88.5 = mmol/liter.

Incremental areas for all the components of small VLDL are shown in Table 2 . There were no differences between diabetic patients and control subjects except for apo B-48, whose postprandial incremental area was double in diabetic patients compared with controls (1.77 ± 0.88 vs. 0.88 ± 0.44 mg/liter·h), but the difference was not statistically significant.


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