In short, One Step works to reduce the number of animals suffering as much as possible.
Five hard facts drive One Step:
The vast majority of land animals who suffer in the United States today are birds. These birds suffer far worse than cattle. Professor John Webster has said: “Broilers are the only livestock that are in chronic pain for the last 20% of their lives. They don't move around, not because they are overstocked, but because it hurts their joints so much.”
Almost every argument for vegetarianism or veganism applies much more to avoiding red meat than birds – environmental and health arguments especially.
While beef consumption has fallen over the decades, chicken consumption has risen significantly. After a few years of decline, per capita consumption of animals in the US is currently at an all-time high and continuing to move higher, despite all advocacy efforts. (See graph below.) That means the average person in the US is causing more suffering than ever before.
The Key Insight The most important insight driving us is what won Herb Simon his Nobel Prize in Economics: People don’t make optimal or “perfect” decisions. Rather, almost everyone makes choices based on what is a bit “better” or is “good enough.”
This has direct implications for our efforts. For example, most advocates see their vegan diet as best for water usage (or global warming, or heart disease, etc.). But for almost everyone who actually cares about water usage (or climate change or heart disease, etc.), all they see is chicken being much much better than beef.
This is true on just about every measure – chicken is noticeably better in terms of environmental impact or health consequences.
With our natural affinity for fellow mammals, most people who care think that eating chickens is morally “better.” Very few people realize just how wonderful chickens are, or that they are each unique individuals, like Red Baron (below).
Given these facts and the other information in the links, One Step for Animals’ mission is two-fold:
Promote a simple message that is accessible, sustainable, and maximally impactful on the amount of suffering in the world.
That message is: stop eating chickens. If we can convince someone to stop eating birds, they would go from being responsible for the factory farming and slaughtering of more than two dozen land animals per year to fewer than one.
Isn't this amazing?
Beyond just numbers, though, we want our advocacy to be psychologically sound. We know a “big ask” is far less likely to lead to any change at all (and the people who go veg overnight are more likely to go back to eating animals). Relative to full vegetarianism or veganism, just giving up (or cutting back on) eating chickens can seem far more achievable. Any change has to start with the one step. Let’s make it a meaningful one.
Summary In short, One Step is only concerned with reducing the number of animals suffering and dying. One Step does not try to be popular, does not cater to the vegan bubble, and does not pursue what we personally find most compelling or persuasive. Rather, One Step focuses on helping as many animals as possible. Period.
Those of us behind One Step have over 150 years of combined animal advocacy. At this time, based on the five facts above, we truly believe numbers-focused, psychologically-sound harm reduction is the best way to both reduce suffering in the short term, as well as create real, lasting change that can build upon itself.