📚Resources and Learning

Animal Think Tank’s Narrative Research

Animal Think Tank has done a ton of research into narratives in social movements! Their Narrative Resources include:

Alspo check out their Narrative Overview for some more information on their Story-based strategy and some recommended resources!

Pax Fauna’s Narrative Research

Other resources

Here are some more resources we strongly recommend!

⭐Björns Tips!

Thank the journalists

When a journalist writes a story about an animal issue, make sure to thank them! This signals to journalists that their work is appreciated and there is an audience for hearing about animals in the mainstream press.

However, some advocates will simply tag the outlet on social media and call it a day. This isn't quite as effective as tagging the writer(s) or even editors of the piece! So instead of writing "Wow - great piece in @outlet today about wildlife protection!", write something like, "I really liked @writer's piece in @outlet about wildlife!" Another example is in the image.

We tend to think of publications as either pro- or anti-animal, but the reality is more nuanced than that. There are writers everywhere who might be open to writing about animal issues, but might be working with uninterested editors or publications. Let's build a community that shows appreciation for pro-animal writers individually! Eventually, we may be able to get pro-animal stories in outlets that haven't historically touched on these issues.

Mix individual and collective responsibility in your messages

When making appeals for meat reduction, it can be difficult to choose to appeal to personal responsibility (i.e. "You should reduce your carbon footprint") versus collective responsibility (i.e. "we must join a movement to eat less meat) versus policy or political support (i.e. "you should push for legislation to stop factory farming"). Of course, these messages aren't completely separate, and many campaigns like to blend them together.

Further complicating matters is the fact that different people respond to different messages. In one study, for example, people in China and Brazil were more likely to respond to personal responsibility while people in the US or UK were not. Other research gently recommends that we combine collective and individual appeals.

I personally find that it's best to mix these messages together to make sure the most amount of people are likely to consider meat reduction (among other pro-animal actions). I included one example from a piece of mine where I attempt to combine these messages together (although there are many ways to do this). Learn more in this article!

Try to name the animals in your stories

When possible, make readers and viewers relate to a specific animal instead of just giving out facts and figures. This includes providing an animal's name, personality traits, pronouns (instead of "it"), background, and more.

Why? Lots of evidence shows that humans are better able to relate to a single individual as opposed to statistics. A recent paper shows that this holds up for non-human victims as well.

However, not all outlets or publications will accept these characterizations and may try to edit them down. In such cases, try and weave these details into the broader story to make it more likely that they make the cut.

Use varied environmental messages

A Faunalytics library summary shows us that varied environmental messages tend to work best:

"Nevertheless, the results indicate that implementing different messaging strategies for different demographics may best discourage red meat consumption. For example, emphasizing the environmental harms of eating red meat may be most effective in persuading young people, those with higher education, or Latino audiences. However, more research is needed to get a fuller understanding of why people find certain messages more effective than others, and how this varies by demographic."

Build relationships with editors, not just writers!

While writers' name are often the most visibly associated with an article, op-ed, thinkpiece, or blog post -- there nearly always is an editor(s) behind the scenes who made decisions to get that piece published. Editors often write headlines, choose and schedule articles, set journalistic standards, and, of course, edit the pieces themselves.

When cultivating pro-animal stories, be proactive and reach out to editors as well as writers. This can include food bloggers (trying to help them review more pro-veg dishes to align with climate promises), climate journalists (to help them prioritize agriculture's role in climate change), science writers (to convince them to feature animal cognition stories) and more.

As always, make sure your outreach is respectful, nuanced, and practical.

Keep pitches short! Remove superfluous details, get in, and get out!
Lean into norms

When spreading your message, make sure to lean into norms -- this makes it more likely that your audience will internalize the message and change behavior or attitudes.

In particular, make sure to make norms "dynamic" by tapping into a trend. For example, it's not a good idea to say "join the X% of people who are going vegan" but rather "the vegan movement is rapidly growing -- it gets bigger by X% every year!"

Read more:

🎞Media Collections

General Stock Image Sites with Free Images

📁Archive (19.04.2024)


Animal Liberation by Peter Singer

“Since its original publication in 1975, this groundbreaking work has awakened millions of concerned men and women to the shocking abuse of animals everywhere -- inspiring a worldwide movement to eliminate much of the cruel and unnecessary laboratory animal experimentation of years past.

In this newly revised and expanded edition, author Peter Singer exposes the chilling realities of today's "factory farms" and product-testing procedures -- offering sound, humane solutions to what has become a profound environmental and social as well as moral issue. An important and persuasive appeal to conscience, fairness, decency and justice, Animal Liberation is essential reading for the supporter and the skeptic alike.”

“One of the most influential books of the past half century, Peter Singer's Animal Liberation has only grown in relevance and popularity since its original publication in 1975. Named one of Time magazine's "All-Time 100 Best Nonfiction Books," this groundbreaking work has awakened millions to "speciesism"--humans' systematic disregard of nonhuman animals. Singer inspired a worldwide movement, transforming our careless attitude toward animals and helping to reduce and hopefully eliminate the cruelty we inflict on them. In Animal Liberation, Singer exposes the chilling realities of today's factory farms and product-testing procedures, destroying the spurious justifications behind them and exposing just how woefully we have been misled.

Now, in this updated edition--revised from top to bottom--Singer brings us to the current moment, covering important reforms in the European Union and individual U.S. states. But he shows us how these measures are offset by the explosion of factory farming caused by unprecedented demand for animal products in China. Singer also explores how meat consumption is negatively impacting the earth, and reveals how factory farms pose a profound risk for spreading new viruses worse than Covid-19. In addition, Singer offers alternatives we can use to address this profound environmental, social, and moral issue.”

“Since the dawn of Homo sapiens some quarter million years ago, animals have satiated our species’ desire for meat. But with a growing global popula­tion and demand for meat, eggs, dairy, leather, and more, raising such massive numbers of farm animals is woefully inefficient and takes an enormous toll on the planet, public health, and certainly the animals themselves.

But what if we could have our meat and eat it, too? The next great scientific revolution is underway—discovering new ways to create enough food for the world’s ever-growing, ever-hungry population.

Enter clean meat—real, actual meat grown (or brewed!) from animal cells—as well as other clean foods that ditch animal cells altogether and are simply built from the molecule up. Also called lab-grown meat, cultured meat, or cell-based meat, this race promises promise to bring about another domestication. Whereas our ancestors domesticated wild animals into livestock, today we’re beginning to domesticate their cells, leaving the animals out of the equation. From one single cell of a cow, you could feed an entire village. And the story of this coming “second domestica­tion” is anything but tame.”

You can find a review of this book here.

“Should anti-war protesters use graphic images to get public support for their cause, or will such images turn the public off? In encouraging the public to adopt sustainable behaviors, should environmental organizations ask for small changes like using fluorescent light bulbs or big changes like giving up cars? Why do most Americans say they oppose the cruel practices of factory farms and sweatshops yet still buy products from these places? And how can non-profits get more people to say yes to their requests to volunteer, donate, recycle, write a letter to a political prisoner, support gay rights, go vegetarian, conserve energy or make other positive changes?

Scientific research has generated a wealth of information on how people can be persuaded to alter their behaviors, yet this body of knowledge has been largely ignored by those working to improve society. Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change brings this information to light so that non-profits, community organizers and others can make science-driven decisions in their advocacy work. The book examines more than eighty years of empirical research in areas including social psychology, communication studies, diffusion studies, network systems and social marketing, distilling the highlights into easy-to-use advice and serving as a psychology primer for anyone wanting to spread progressive social change.”

You can find a review of this book here.

“In this thought-provoking book, Tobias Leenaert leaves well-trodden animal advocacy paths and takes a fresh look at the strategies, objectives, and communication of the vegan and animal rights movement. He argues that, given our present situation, with entire societies dependent on using animals, we need a very pragmatic approach. How to Create a Vegan World contains many valuable ideas and insights for both budding advocates for animals and seasoned activists, organizational leaders, and even entrepreneurs.”

The End of Animal Farming by Jacy Reese

A bold yet realistic vision of how technology and social change are creating a food system in which we no longer use animals to produce meat, dairy, or eggs.

Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals brought widespread attention to the disturbing realities of factory farming.

The End of Animal Farming pushes this conversation forward by outlining a strategic roadmap to a humane, ethical, and efficient food system in which slaughterhouses are obsolete--where the tastes of even the most die-hard meat eater are satisfied by innovative food technologies like cultured meats and plant-based protein. Social scientist and animal advocate Jacy Reese analyzes the social forces leading us toward the downfall of animal agriculture, the technology making this change possible for the meat-hungry public, and the activism driving consumer demand for plant-based and cultured foods.”

Compassion, by the Pound by F. Bailey Norwood and Jayson L. Lusk

“For much of human history, most of the population lived and worked on farms but today, information about livestock is more likely to come from children's books than hands-on experience. When romanticized notions of an agrarian lifestyle meet with the realities of the modern industrial farm, the result is often a plea for a return to antiquated production methods. The result is a brewing controversy between animal activist groups, farmers, and consumers that is currently being played out in ballot boxes, courtrooms, and in the grocery store. Where is one to turn for advice when deciding whether to pay double the price for cage-free eggs, or in determining how to vote on ballot initiates seeking to ban practices such as the use of gestation crates in pork production or battery cage egg production? At present, there is no clear answer. What is missing from the animal welfare debate is an objective approach that can integrate the writings of biologists and philosophers, while providing a sound and logical basis for determining the consequences of farm animal welfare policies. What is missing in the debate? Economics.This book journeys from the earliest days of animal domestication to modern industrial farms. Delving into questions of ethics and animal sentience, the authors use data from ingenious consumers' experiments conducted with real food, real money, and real animals to compare the costs and benefits of improving animal care. They show how the economic approach to animal welfare raises new questions and ethical conundrums, as well as providing unique and counter-intuitive results.”

“A “brilliant” (Chicago Review of Books), “elegantly written, and compelling” (National Review) new theory and call to action on animal rights, ethics, and law from the renowned philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum.Animals are in trouble all over the world. Whether through the cruelties of the factory meat industry, poaching and game hunting, habitat destruction, or neglect of the companion animals that people purport to love, animals suffer injustice and horrors at our hands every day. The world needs an ethical awakening, a consciousness-raising movement of international proportions. In Justice for Animals, one of the world’s most renowned philosophers and humanists, Martha C. Nussbaum, provides “the most important book on animal ethics written to date” (Thomas I. White, author of In Defense of Dolphins). From dolphins to crows, elephants to octopuses, Nussbaum examines the entire animal kingdom, showcasing the lives of animals with wonder, awe, and compassion to understand how we can create a world in which human beings are truly friends of animals, not exploiters or users. All animals should have a shot at flourishing in their own way. Humans have a collective duty to face and solve animal harm. An urgent call to action and a manual for change, Nussbaum’s groundbreaking theory directs politics and law to help us meet our ethical responsibilities as no book has done before.”

Meathooked by Martha Zaraska

You can find a review of this book here.

“In Meathooked, Marta Zaraska explores what she calls the “meat paradox.” Scientific journals overflow with reports on the hazards producing and eating meat pose to the environment and our bodies—yet nothing has prompted us to give up our hamburgers and steaks. Why do we love meat to so much that we’re happy to let it kill us?

In this witty tour of our love affair with meat, Zaraska takes us to India’s unusual steakhouses, animal sacrifices at temples in Benin, and labs in the Netherlands that grow meat in petri dishess. From the power of advertising to the influence of the meat lobby, and from our genetic makeup to the traditions of our foremothers, she reveals the interplay of forces that keep us hooked on animal protein.

Explaining one of the most enduring features of human civilization, Zaraska shows why meat-eating will continue to shape our bodies and our world into the foreseeable future.”

“In 2020, COVID-19, the Australia bushfires, and other global threats served as vivid reminders that human and nonhuman fates are increasingly linked. Human use of nonhuman animals contributes to pandemics, climate change, and other global threats which, in turn, contribute to biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and nonhuman suffering.

Jeff Sebo argues that humans have a moral responsibility to include animals in global health and environmental policy. In particular, we should reduce our use of animals as part of our pandemic and climate change mitigation efforts and increase our support for animals as part of our adaptation efforts. Applying and extending frameworks such as One Health and the Green New Deal, Sebo calls for reducing support for factory farming, deforestation, and the wildlife trade; increasing support for humane, healthful, and sustainable alternatives; and considering human and nonhuman needs holistically. Sebo also considers connections with practical issues such as education, employment, social services, and infrastructure, as well as with theoretical issues such as well-being, moral status, political status, and population ethics. In all cases, he shows that these issues are both important and complex, and that we should neither underestimate our responsibilities because of our limitations, nor underestimate our limitations because of our responsibilities.

Both an urgent call to action and a survey of what ethical and effective action requires, Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves is an invaluable resource for scholars, advocates, policy-makers, and anyone interested in what kind of world we should attempt to build and how.”

You can find a review of this book here.

“Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich take the plight of the world's animals seriously and have dedicated their lives to ending their suffering. The Animal Activist's Handbook argues that meaning in life is to be found, quite simply, in turning away from the futile pursuit of "more," and focusing instead on leaving the planet a better place than you found it. The critical component of creating a better world for all is thoughtful, deliberate, and dedicated activism that takes suffering seriously. The authors build a ground-up case for reasoned, impassioned, and joyous activism that makes the most difference possible, and suggest a variety of ways to live a meaningful life through effective and efficient advocacy.”

“More than twenty years after its original publication, The Case for Animal Rights is an acknowledged classic of moral philosophy, and its author is recognized as the intellectual leader of the animal rights movement. In a new and fully considered preface, Regan responds to his critics and defends the book's revolutionary position.”

“First published in 1990, The Sexual Politics of Meat is a landmark text in the ongoing debates about animal rights. In the two decades since, the book has inspired controversy and heated debate.”

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows offers an absorbing look at what social psychologist Melanie Joy calls carnism, the belief system that conditions us to eat certain animals when we would never dream of eating others. Carnism causes extensive animal suffering and global injustice, and it drives us to act against our own interests and the interests of others without fully realizing what we are doing. Becoming aware of what carnism is and how it functions is vital to personal empowerment and social transformation, as it enables us to make our food choices more freely—because without awareness, there is no free choice.”


No longer active podcasts

These podcasts have (to our knowledge) been discontinued. Due to irregular uploading schedules, it is not always guaranteed that they in fact have been discontinued.

Other Podcasts

These podcasts are sometimes rarely animal advocacy relevant, but not often enough to be in the main list.

EA Forum Podcast (Curated and popular)

The EA Forum Podcast (Curated and popular) hosts audio narrations from the Effective Altruism Forum, including curated posts and posts with 125+ karma. If you'd like more episodes, subscribe to the "EA Forum (All audio)" podcast instead.

The Non-Linear Library

The Nonlinear Library allows you to easily listen to top EA and rationalist content on your podcast player. They use text-to-speech software to create an automatically updating repository of audio content from the EA Forum, Alignment Forum, LessWrong, and other EA blogs.

Selected Episodes

These episodes have been recommended by community members and are hosted on podcasts that are not usually or rarely animal advocacy relevant.