For the duration of this piece, I’ll put aside the question of what's the optimal message to the general public for reducing farm animal suffering. Vegan or vegetarian. Meatless Monday or cage free. Several groups are doing great work in this area, and hopefully, we’ll soon have reliable data to make conclusions.
Instead, the question I’ll focus on is “What is the best marginal message for reducing farm animal suffering, given the current state of groups doing work in this area?” By “best marginal,” I mean that we assume existing groups continue to promote meat reduction, vegetarian transitions, and vegan advocacy. Now what?
Studies like Dr. Harish Sethu's Counting Animals blog post show the average meat-eating American kills the most land animals with their chicken consumption: 23.7 chickens vs 1.3 for all other land animals combined. In addition to quantity, broiler chickens on factory farms are subjected to immense suffering (John Webster, professor of Veterinary Science, has noted that industrial chicken production is, “in both magnitude and severity, the single most severe, systematic example of man’s inhumanity to another sentient animal.”). Chickens are also one of the smallest animals on a factory farm. Being smaller means it takes many more individuals to make 100 lbs of meat.
So what if Americans stopped eating chicken, as urged by One Step’s compelling message? If they substituted plants, they’d take their average from 25 to 1.3 land animals per year. (If they stopped eating all birds, they would be responsible for the death of fewer than one animal every year.) And even if they substituted with pork, the average would still be fewer than 2 land animals per year.
Dropping the average American’s land animal consumption to 1.3 per year is the equivalent of making all Americans vegan for 11+ months per year.
This angle, largely unprioritized by other groups, is why I support One Step For Animals.
Other reasons are that it is a 100% volunteer organization - all funds go to online outreach and booklet distribution. It's also run by 3 people with oodles of cred: Joe Espinsoa, the #1 volunteer leafletter of all time; Anne Green, one of the hardest workers I know; and Matt Ball, a father of our movement's focus on farm animals.
So other groups out there, please continue doing the great work you’re known for. And supporters, please continue to support them. But if you have a few extra dollars and would like to contribute to an important opportunity for farm animals, largely unprioritized by other groups, please click here.