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Peter Hurford

1054 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Peter Hurford 1054 days ago
.impact, in cooperation with Mercy for Animals, is working on a $70K study aiming to assess the impact of FB veg ads on diet change (details here).  We want a questionnaire for this study that accurately assesses the difference in veg diet change between the treatment group and the control group.
We think it's plausible that disguising the study (making it less look about vegetarianism) is important for increasing the validity of results, but this comes with the tradeoff of making the survey longer.  Is disguising worth the cost?
300 participants were recruited via MTurk to complete a study with the title "short fun survey :) (<1 minute)" and the description "easy fun psychology experiment".  Participants were then sorted randomly to either get the disguised or non-disguised survey (150 each).  A linear regression was then preformed with a binary variable indicating the condition (disguised vs. non-disguised), the age, and the gender.
1089 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Joseph O'Neill , Peter Hurford 1089 days ago
Most of the features require users to register an account, giving an email address and information on how the user is involved with animal advocacy.  It typically takes a few days to get an account.
It is possible to support the Humane Research Council by donating money or time (if you have relevant skills). More information here.
From “Take 5 Save 5”, a company that encourages volunteers to post on craigslist and other online message boards offering free a vegetarian starter pack and then they send them out to people who respond. Of 1000 people to order a vegetarian starter pack, 107 completed a follow up survey.  Found 63% of respondents had reduced or eliminated beef, and overall reductions in other animal products. Obviously lots of biases potentially at work here. Don’t know if the "Take 5 Save 5" organisation still actually exists.
Study of smokers from Harvard and UCSD examining the effect of group social norms on behaviour change in smokers.
Largest factors contributing to limiting beef consumption relate to price, followed by health concerns.
Online survey found that ethical vegetarians had stronger feelings of conviction, consumed fewer animal products, and had been vegetarians longer than health-motivated vegetarians
Identifies 21 “facilitators" and 10 “barriers” for trying tofu. For example “Tofu is high protein”, “Tofu is environmentally friendly” (facilitators); “It has a strange texture”, “It doesn’t taste good” (barriers). Studying a sample of non-Asian US women aged 20-35, they found that women’s position on the barriers explained much more of the variance in adopting/not adopting tofu than position on facilitators. Concludes that “it may be more effective to focus on addressing the barriers as opposed to promoting the facilitators. For instance, instructing new users on how to prepare Tofu was more persuasive than addressing the nutritional value of Tofu”.
500 respondents aged 15-23.  Found “Farm to Fridge” was slightly better at influencing self-reported dietary change than “Maxine’s Dash for Freedom”, "A Life Connected”, and “Geico Couple”.  Concludes by calling for further tests with larger sample size and less variation between each video viewing.
1166 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Peter Hurford 1166 days ago
Peter H Summary of Research by the Centre for Animals and Social Justice
Compiled by Joseph O’Neill – September 2014
  • Summary
The Centre for Animals and Social Justice is a UK-based think tank aiming to advance the welfare and status of animals by researching and affecting relevant areas of UK public policy. CASJ was founded in 2011 by academics in political science and philosophy, as well as members of UK animal rights non-profits.
CASJ’s stated mission is “to advance and protect the wellbeing of animals by ensuring their inclusion within the sphere of social justice”. They attempt to achieve this aim through releasing statements and articles on relevant policy issues, providing recommendations to government and regulatory bodies, and doing some research.
Their research and lobbying efforts seem to be mainly concerned with improving animal representation in the UK government and democracies in general, as well as analysing specific policy areas such as hunting, and animal experimentation. They currently do not appear to do any research into vegetarianism/veganism.
The topics of articles and comments published on their website range across various European regulation and policy issues but none are directly concerned with vegetarianism/veganism or with persuading people to become vegetarians/vegans.
  • Research
From the information available on their website 1, research conducted by/in collaboration with CASJ so far has looked at: 
  • Methods of representing and protecting animals in the UK democracies in general from a political science point of view – Prof. Rob Garner and PhD student PhD Anne Marie Matarrese.2,3 
  • How the portrayal of animals in the hunting debate affects policy around hunting, and whether or not improving the quality of this debate would lead to greater “animal protection” – PhD student Lucy Parry.1
  • How changes in animal welfare policy come about. Using “network analysis” to analyse the network of actors within the policy-making system, Dr Dan Lyons researches critical points at which the power relationships in these networks change and progress is made. Lyons’ previous work focuses on just one case study of one such critical point – the leaking of documents in 2000/2002 recording the questionable treatment of monkeys in organ transplants carried out by the drug company Imutran 4
  • Lyons concludes that “Animal welfare is neglected by government because animal protection advocates lack the required resources to gain genuine access to the network, relative to animal research interests”, and “the only likely way the network ideology could be changed would be through a major external shock, such as political action from higher government actors or bodies with sufficient power, such as a new Prime Minister or Home Secretary… animal welfare is just not seen as an intrinsically important issue at the heart of Government”. 5
  • This research also forms the basis for Lyon’s new book,  “The Politics of Animal Experimentation”
  • Lyons is apparently taking this analysis further to research what new reforms or policies would be feasible and effective. 5
  • None of their researchers seem to be researching vegetarianism/veganism.
  • Advocacy
  • Articles, comments on news, blog posts posted on their website
  • Several articles proposing/endorsing changes to UK and EU animal experimentation law, animal welfare law etc. Several articles commenting on UK-specific animal welfare issues such as the 2012 UK badger cull.6
  • Focus on policy, and as such no articles about research into vegetarianism.
  • Proposal, recommendations and direct lobbying
  • Lobbying the UK home office (responsible for research standards) on animal experimentation. CASJ wants stricter standards enforced, in which severe mistreatment of animals in research is considered a criminal offence.7,8,9
  • Based on the PhD research of Anne Marie Matarrese, CASJ has put forward ( in 2013) the following proposals to UK political parties and is “now embarking on a research project to investigate the best mechanisms for achieving these proposals”.10
  • Proposal #1: A governmental institution to represent animals. Could be modelled on other groups representing marginalised groups, such as Norway’s Ombudsman for Children
  • Proposal #2: Integrating animal protection policies – that is, the formal allocation of animal protection responsibilities to ministers in all relevant departments as opposed to having just one group in government advocating for animals on its own
  • Proposal #3: Formal legal recognition of animals’ status as sentient individuals
  • Proposal to European groups pushing for laws/guidelines expanding animal rights. For example, a recent proposal to Council of Europe to extend the European Convention on Human Rights to some animals.11
  • Seminars
  • CASJ has held three seminars including one on wild animal welfare, and one on farm animal welfare. 12,13
  • Dr Dan Lyons sometimes speaks around Britain and in Europe.
  • People involved
Founding Committee
  • Dr Dan Lyons: Current CASJ CEO and research coordinator. PhD, University of Sheffield. Honorary research fellow at the University of Sheffield. Researches animal rights and the political status of animals. Former campaign director for Uncaged Campaigns – an anti-vivisection/animal experimentation group.14 While at Uncaged, Lyons won the right to publish a report on leaked documents relating to the excessive suffering of animals during xenotransplantation of pig hearts and kidneys into over 400 macaques and baboons. animal experimentation on 500 baboons or something.4,15 Author of The Politics of Animal Experimentation – a book based on the xenotransplantation campaign.
  • Professor Robert Garner: Conducts research in collaboration with CASJ. PhD, University of Manchester. Professor of political theory at the University of Leicester. Research focussed on policy issues surrounding representation of animals in government. Author of several books, including A Theory of Justice for Animals: Animal Rights in a Non-ideal World.16
  • Dr Ian Bergin: Philosopher, author of Animal rights: a comic defence (2010).
  • Dr Alasdair Cochrane: political theorist at the University of Sheffield. Author of An introduction to animals and political theory (2010), Animal rights without liberation (2012). PhD from LSE. Advocate of “interest-based” approach to animal rights – animals should be granted rights based on the interests they do or do not have, e.g.  interests in not suffering, staying alive, liberty etc. 17,18
  • Alistair Currie: Former nurse, policy advisor at  PETA in the UK, seems mainly focussed on animals in research. recently involved in PETA’s lobbying the European Chemicals Agency to clarify regulations for testing chemical on animals to prevent unnecessary duplicate tests.19,20 Not entirely sure on the details, PETA and Currie estimate that up to 4 million unnecessary animal experiments will be prevented.
  • Angela Roberts: Current CASJ Managing Director. “Founded Uncaged in 1993; one of the UK’s longest standing and most experienced animal protection campaigners”21
  • Kim Stallwood: Consultant for CASJ. Animal rights advocate. Former executive director of PETA. Currently the European director of the Animals and Society Institute.22,23
  • Organisational structure
Hard to say. The active members of the organisation seem to be 4-8 academics in a few different cities. 
  • Transparency
CASJ does not publish costings, budgets, audits, or reviews of themselves online and I have not requested these documents.
  • References
  1. Cochrane, Alasdair (2007). "Animal rights and animal experiments: An interest-based approach". Res Publica13 (3): 293–318. doi:10.1007/s11158-007-9037-8.
1397 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Peter Hurford 1397 days ago
Budgeters  give from their budget. Surplusters give from their unbudgeted surplus  money. A Fractional Surpluser breaks their surplus money into targets  and then puts their money into each target at a specific fraction, per  target. A Full Surpluser has charity as their only target, but other  options would be 50/50 charity/savings, or 20/40/40  charity/travel/savings.

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