Episode 156: Making the Case for (In)Effective Activism

Posted: January 4, 2017 in Uncategorized
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Adam Cardilini giving his talk ‘Diversity in Animal Activism’, which is featured on this episode. Photo by Jyoti Dambiec.

You can listen to this episode above and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. You can also listen to this episode on StitcherCyber Ears or download it on Archive.org (57mins, 42MB).

This episode features Adam Cardilini’s talk ‘Diversity in animal activism: Preparing for impact opportunities for the next 10 years’. This talk was recorded at the 2016 ICAS Oceania conference – see the show notes for episode 152 for links to the audio of all of the talks from this conference. You can view the PowerPoint presentation for Adam’s talk here and it is also embedded below.

Nick and Adam also discuss effective animal activism and question whether the evidence actually suggests animal advocates should avoid promoting veganism. In this discussion we cover Faunalytics recommendations for activism based on their study on former vegetarians and vegans. We point to other research suggesting that people who became vegetarian for ethical reasons and specifically for animal rights reasons were more likely to stay vegetarian than those who made the decision based on other reasons, such as concern for their health. We also mention the study ‘A Pound of Flesh’ and give a “public health announcement” regarding the importance of B12 for vegans.

Please support our Crowd Funding campaign! https://chuffed.org/project/50eps2017


Chumbawamba ‘Be With You’ – from the album ‘A Singsong and a Scrap’, Adam Cardilini’s talk ‘Diversity in animal activism: Preparing for impact opportunities for the next 10 years’, Citizen FishFlesh and Blood’.

You can listen to a short (8 minute) version of this episode, which features Nick and Adam’s discussion on effective activism and veganism, here: Is Vegan Activism Actually Ineffective? You can subscribe to these short versions of our episodes through Omny.

  1. faunalytics says:

    Thank you for discussing the Faunalytics research on lapsed and current vegetarians and vegans. We appreciate your interest as well as all constructive feedback about the methods and conclusions.

    However, the guest speaker misrepresented our methods — while it’s true that we focused on dietary vegans/vegetarians, our respondents did not simply “tick a box” to note that they were vegan. To familiarize yourselves with the methods used, see this link: https://faunalytics.org/a-summary-of-faunalytics-study-of-current-and-former-vegetarians-and-vegans/

    Of course, subjectivity is impossible to avoid completely in research about animal advocacy, as noted in the interview. However, starting the research from an ideological point of view, as suggested by the interviewee, just assures that there will be bias. That’s what you would have if you restricted research to studying only approaches based on the abolitionist perspective. At Faunalytics, we believe in studying all approaches.

    Che / Faunalytics

    • Thanks for the feedback and for all your work at Faunalytics Che – it has been extremely useful in both my animal advocacy and research on the animal movement. In fact I think both of the studies I referred to in our discussion which suggest (to me) the importance of promoting ethical veganism/veganism for animal rights reasons rather than a reduction in animal products I found from Faunalytics. So once again the research is always useful for me, even if I sometimes use it in a different way than is suggested in the Discussion.

      I have passed on this feedback to Adam and he is going to come back on the show next episode to discuss your feedback and the other feedback we got on the episode in more detail. So keep your eye out for that if you’re interested.

      Thanks again,

  2. faunalytics says:

    Thank you, Nick. I appreciate the response and your comments about Faunalytics! We understand that there are multiple ways to interpret findings, which is why we try to be as transparent as possible about the methods and we’ve also released the full dataset so people can come to their own conclusions.

    One word of caution about the notion that being veg*n for animal rights reasons means someone is less likely to relapse to eating animal products. This was correlation, not causation. There is evidence that new veg*ns adopt additional motivations over time and there is further evidence that more vegetarians (not necessarily vegans) start the diet for health reasons. Moreover, social desirability bias is strongest for something like animal suffering and rights. So we don’t know if it’s the case that the animal rights message works better to create new veg*ns, we just know that longer-term veg*ns more closely identify with that motivation.

    It’s a somewhat nuanced difference and one that I hope Adam will explore in more detail before giving his opinions on the next episode.


  3. […] who is a scientist, animal advocate and co-host of Vegansci podcast. He discusses some listener feedback on episode 156, covering topics such as new animal-free alternatives, capitalism, effective animal […]

  4. […] Adam Cardilini: Diversity in animal activism: Preparing for impact opportunities for the next 10 years – played on episode 156. […]

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