Fauna Connections: Using Data to Help Animals
Save the Date:
Fauna Connections, a remote symposium for animal advocates, will be held on on September 19, 2024.
Academics and scientists from the social and behavioral sciences and related disciplines presented original research and discussed the real-life implications and recommendations for animal advocates.
During Fauna Connections, researchers presented their work in 10-minute presentations, followed by 5-minute Q&As. Breakout rooms were available after each presentation to continue discussions. This event was made possible by a grant from Maddie’s Fund®, #ThanksToMaddie.
2023 Full Schedule
(All times in EDT, GMT-4)
Jo Anderson (she/her) is an advocate for animals and empirical research. She has many years of experience with a wide range of social science research methods and topics, as well as advanced training in statistical analysis. Jo became Faunalytics’ Research Director in 2017 and since then has led and supervised studies of attitudes and behavior pertaining to animals and veganism, advocate retention, donations, lobbying efforts, and many other topics. Her other roles include serving as the co-leader of the RECAP (Research to End Consumption of Animal Products) researcher collective, a member of the Brooks Institute’s Animal Law & Science working group, an ad hoc research advisor to ProVeg and Food System Innovations, and an Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada). Jo has a PhD in social psychology from the University of Waterloo and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University.
This keynote is a journey into the world of transformative action: from unearthing robust data to wielding it as a tool for decisive actions and impactful dialogues. Attendees will get an insider’s view of how rigorous research can craft powerful alliances and elevate advocacy for animal welfare, public health, and environmental protection.
Varda Mehrotra (she/her) is an animal advocate and movement builder, exploring intersectional solutions. Most recently, she founded Samayu to undertake intersectional work and apply a systems approach to issues surrounding justice and animals. She has spearheaded several programs for farmed animals, companion animals, and wild animals. Under her decade-long leadership, FIAPO — India’s federation for animal organizations — was recognized as one of the most effective animal charities globally. Prior to that, she spent several years organizing within the grassroots movement in Scotland.
12:25PM – Regional Advocacy For Farmed Animals
The growth of the global animal advocacy movement presents exciting prospects for change, but this process also introduces the challenges of appreciating and integrating diverse perspectives. As the field continues to diversify, it is becoming even more crucial to understand and navigate a multitude of views. This is where Stakeholder-Engaged Research (SER) comes in as a pivotal strategy. SER brings together various voices — from animal advocates, researchers, and policy-makers to local communities, industry representatives, and consumers — fostering a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to research.
Jah Ying Chung (she/her) is a food researcher and founder at Good Growth, where she conducts market research to help animal advocacy organizations, alternative protein companies, and impact-driven funders develop effective strategies in Asia. Her recent work includes a report on Chinese consumer attitudes toward plant-based meat, a two-part study with Faunalytics on Chinese advocates and consumer perspectives towards animal welfare, and a comprehensive review of how research with stakeholders is done across disciplines. Prior to her research, Jah Ying worked on climate change in China and founded and sold a social enterprise connecting student groups with sponsorships in Asia.
Islam has expansive writings on the topic of animal stewardship and the duties of humans towards animals. However, Islam also allows people of the faith to eat animals and a major Islamic holiday involves animal slaughter. Nonetheless, Islamic rules for slaughter prescribe that animals must not suffer any cruelty. Interestingly, as factory farms incur animal cruelty, such establishments are illegal under the Islamic faith. There is strong reason to believe that many Muslims may not know of this fact and of their religious obligations towards animals. In a forthcoming study, we will survey and interview people of the Muslim faith in Pakistan to better understand how to advocate for animal welfare in Islamic countries. Throughout the world, there are two billion followers of the Islamic faith, making this project essential for animal advocacy. The paper will be published at a later date, following the Faunalytics symposium.
Altamush Saeed (he/him) is a Pakistani Animal Rights lawyer, philanthropist, and teacher. He holds an Animal Law LLM from Lewis and Clark Law School (USA), a Human Rights LLM from the University of Michigan Law School (USA), and a JD from Lahore University of Management Sciences (Pak). He is currently an Environmental Law LLM Candidate at Lewis and Clark Law School. He is the Co-Founder/President of Charity Doings Foundation and the Animal Welfare Ambassador to Comprehensive Disaster Response Services. He is also a Junior Fellow at the Animals and Biodiversity Think Tank at the Global Research Network and is currently working as a Thomas Raskin Summer Legal Intern at Mercy for Animals USA.
Over the last year, we conducted feed quality analyses, farmer welfare training, and on-farm welfare assessments on small-scale commercial cage-free farms in Kenya. Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, we obtained insights into the current state of cage-free hen welfare. First, we conducted an assessment of feed quality across different farms to test poor regulatory enforcement suspicions. Through targeted sampling and laboratory analyses, the levels of key nutrients were determined. The results show that Kenyan feeds may suffer from inconsistencies and low quality. Secondly, we investigated farmer awareness regarding hen welfare practices through in-person training. Pre, post and post-post workshop surveys were conducted to better understand knowledge gaps and if in-person training is an effective solution. Lastly, through on-farm visits and radiography, we looked for prevalent welfare issues. The issues ranged from poor housing conditions to poor flock management, to the overall well-being of hens. Radiography was used to quantify the prevalence and severity of keel bone fractures, a common welfare issue in the global North. Using the impact, tractability, and neglectedness framework, we will suggest interventions to address some of the identified issues. The results of this scoping work provide insights into the current state of egg-laying hen welfare in Kenya, specifically targeting feed quality, farmer awareness, and common welfare issues on cage-free farms. The findings contribute to the development of evidence-based interventions and guidelines for improving the welfare of egg-laying hens.
Lukas Jasiunas (he/him) is an entrepreneurial engineer (founded ecorbio in 2020) and researcher (PhD in Chemical Engineering) by trade and an active member of the effective animal advocacy movement. After several years of volunteering at various animal organizations and becoming a member of the global Effective Altruism community, Lukas had the opportunity to join Charity Entrepreneurship’s incubation program in 2021. During the program, he joined an amazing team of like-minded altruists and co-founded Healthier Hens. At the organization, Lukas leads research and collaboration activities.
This presentation shows the results of the author’s doctoral research. As a previous step, the European Dairy Industry (EDI) was examined as an economic and influential actor through a political economy analysis to identify companies and key pressure groups, their links, and their figures, presented here as background. For this presentation, the discourse that the interest groups construct with respect to 1) the animals that the industry exploits and 2) to the nutritional recommendations that end up in the dietary guidelines, was analyzed through documentary and critical discourse analysis. Interviews with experts and members of the industry and interest groups were conducted as well, to support and guide the discourse analysis. Through this, it was concluded that the dairy industry constitutes an economic and corporate conglomerate that dedicates a great effort to exert influence on food recommendations. Its interest groups have formed and sustain coalitions and networks with interrelations and investments in lobbying that are much more complex and abundant than the ones from interest groups doing advocacy for the animals. The critical discourse analysis shows, amongst other things, that the EDI interest groups have adapted their narrative to match the current values of concern for the environment, health, and even animal welfare, while contradicting them. Particularly noteworthy is the complete denial of the interests of the animals in the interest groups’ discourse through a representation that reifies them and obviates their capacity for sentience, autonomy, and individuality.
Dr. María Ruiz Carreras (she/her), Spanish-Colombian communicator, holds a Ph.D. in Communication, a Master’s in Communication, and a Master’s in Translation. Before her advanced degrees, María completed her undergraduate studies in Advertising and Public Relations and a degree in Graphic Design. With experience in communication and journalism, María currently thrives as a lecturer and researcher at Lund University (Sweden), specializing in the Strategic Communication Department. She is a Lund University Critical Animal Studies Network (LUCASN) member. María’s interests explore diverse topics in strategic communication, political economy, public affairs, and critical animal studies through an intersectional lens.
1:25pm – Break
1:40pm – Understanding The Public Perspective
The assessment of attitudes towards wild animal welfare (WAW) is an important, but relatively neglected, topic in the field of animal welfare. In order to better understand and measure these attitudes, we developed a scale to assess them. Based on a literature review, four relevant factors were identified: caring about WAW, thinking we should intervene in nature, idyllic views of nature, and intervention ineffectiveness beliefs. Items were devised to assess these constructs, pilot tested, and verified across four pre-registered studies (N = 2,900) using the latest best practices in conducting factor analyses and assessing model fit. The scale demonstrated good reliability and strong correlations with other measures of animal welfare attitudes, including speciesism and support for WAW interventions. Our aim is that the scale will promote additional research on attitudes toward wild animal suffering and inform interventions and policies aimed at improving the welfare of wild animals.
Willem Sleegers (he/him) is a Senior Behavioral Scientist at Rethink Priorities. As part of the survey team, he conducts research on attitude assessments and attitude change, using surveys and experimental designs. His research interests cover everything EA, with a particular interest in animal welfare. He is a strong supporter of, and contributor to, open science. Before joining RP, he worked as an Assistant Professor at Tilburg University, where he also obtained his Ph.D.
Researchers interested in animal ethics have proposed the ‘meat paradox’ – psychological discomfort arising from people’s affinity for animals and conflicting desire to consume their flesh. Yet what can be said about the psychology of consuming an animal’s non-meat products, in an age where most beings in these industries are harmed, and ultimately killed? Non-meat animal products (NMAPs) such as eggs and dairy are a significant barrier to a more just world: they entail the same, and perhaps even worse ethical issues as meat yet receive disproportionately less critical attention. Therefore, unlike meat, very little is known about the psychology of egg and dairy consumption. This study looks at vegetarians to address this gap, because they are more likely to show empathetic concern for animals than omnivores, yet actively choose to include these products in their diet, a conflict ripe for exploration. Interview data were analyzed via reflexive thematic analysis, finding that vegetarians perceive robust ethical issues with NMAPs but give various justifications pertaining to personal benefits and social norms. Cognitive dissonance was evident and participants used various strategies to resolve it. This paper expands research on food psychology and animal ethics and may also be used to inform NMAP reduction strategies, an important pursuit in the quest for a more sustainable and compassionate world.
Devon Docherty (she/her) is a writer and animal activist with a master’s degree in Human-Animal Interactions. She has conducted qualitative research in the sphere of social psychology and her latest research is focused on the psychology of consuming non-meat animal products and egg and dairy reduction strategies. Outside of academia, she has worked with Surge Activism and Earthling Ed to produce original and engaging content about veganism. She is also interested in rewilding.
Books such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) and The Feminine Mystique (1963) are widely agreed upon to have catalyzed lasting social change. What will it take for decisive change to occur in the treatment of animals, and what have been the key drivers of changes that have already occurred? The focus of this work is on farmed animals in particular, but our approach is of more general relevance to other areas of animal welfare. Recent years have seen the release of a number of media critiquing the animal farming industry, promoting a plant-based diet, or otherwise sparking interest in veganism, including What the Health (2017), Okja (2017), and The Game Changers (2018). Our research objective is to understand to what extent these materials shifted public awareness and consumption of animal-based foods. Our work draws upon multiple data sources including Google Trends; monthly domestic meat demand indices from Kansas State University based on USDA data; and purchase data from the Nielsen Retail Scanner. Here we show initial results on Google Trends using a dynamic regression approach, with searches for ‘vegan recipes’ as the outcome. Our results indicate an association of the increase in Google searches for What the Health and Okja (whose impact cannot be distinguished in our approach due to similar release dates on Netflix or in theaters) around their release dates with an increase in searches for ‘vegan recipes’. Our ongoing work investigates to what extent this association also exists for metrics of demand or purchase of animal-based foods.
Anna Thomas (she/her) is a computer science PhD student at Stanford, advised by Moses Charikar and Maya Mathur.
Social Change Lab surveyed 120 academics who study social movements and protest about key questions on theories of change, the most important factors leading to successful social change, and common reasons social movements fail. We included 5 questions specifically relating to protests within the animal advocacy movement. We believe this is the largest expert survey on social movement strategies and tactics to date, and provides a comprehensive overview of expert opinion on a range of important questions that are difficult to answer empirically.
Cathy Rogers (she/her) spent many years as a producer and director of television science programs before returning to academia to study for a Psychology PhD. She has since pursued her diverse research interests including publishing a book on Educational Neuroscience, writing a children’s book about the future, and researching what brings about social change, with a focus on the role of protest.
The research non-profit Food for Climate League — in collaboration with Better Food Foundation, Sodexo, and researchers at Boston College — successfully tested the impact of serving plant-based dishes as the default option within dining hall stations at three universities: Tulane University, Lehigh University, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The study’s key finding was that, when implemented consistently (which occurred at 2 of the three universities), the average take-rate of plant-based dishes increased from 30.8% to 81.5% without any other effects on the dining experience (e.g. diner satisfaction). On the days when the plant-based dish was served, we observed a 23.6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The study also surveyed 211 students and 52 dining hall staff. This is the first-ever multi-site research study on plant-based defaults within all-you-care-to-eat dining halls.
Jennifer Channin (she/her) is the ED of the Better Food Foundation, a nonprofit that incubates novel strategies for diet change and envisions a world in which plant-based foods are the norm. She has worked in philanthropy for 20 years, raising tens of millions of dollars for farmed animal protection and social justice groups worldwide. She serves on the leadership council for Women Funders in Animal Rights. Jennifer holds an MDiv from Harvard, is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Brazil. She lives in Julian, CA, with her partner, Aaron, and dog, Buddy.
2:55pm – Break
3:10pm – Examining Methods Of Exploitation
Captivity defines the lives of billions of nonhuman animals. Across sectors like food, clothing, medicine, or entertainment, the (ab)use of nonhumans relies on their confinement. Animals’ right to freedom, autonomy and bodily integrity collides with our “right” to exploit them. As sentient beings, they suffer physically and psychologically from confinement. The captivity of both humans and nonhumans is often a form of state–corporate crime; states and companies derive power and profit from trapping their victims. Over the past decade, animal rights lawyers and organizations such as the Nonhuman Rights Project have used the habeas corpus approach to free captive wild animals. While some progressive views on animal rights appear in certain rulings, courts have mostly sustained anthropocentric, speciesist approaches. The captivity of nonhumans has also been challenged through direct action and violent/nonviolent resistance. Recently, Direct Action Everywhere activists were unanimously acquitted of theft and burglary charges after rescuing ill piglets at Smithfield Farms and exposing the crimes and lies of industrial animal farming. This established a precedent for the right to rescue animals held captive by abusive industries. Despite sporadic victories, challenging captivity is risky: groups like the Animal Liberation Front remain designated as terrorist or extremist organizations. Drawing on academic sources, NGO reports, investigative journalism and court rulings, I’ll be discussing conventional and atypical forms of captivity affecting nonhumans, then explore legal and civic avenues to challenge captivity. This presentation seeks to share a critical approach to confinement and to explore creative ways of contesting it.
Rimona Afana (she/her) is a Romanian–Palestinian researcher, lecturer, activist, and multimedia artist working on environmental harms, nonhuman rights, violent conflicts, state crimes, and colonial legacies. She is an independent scholar and convener of the Ecocide/Speciesism symposium, formerly Asst. Professor of Peace Studies at Kennesaw State University and Visiting Scholar at the Emory University School of Law, Vulnerability Initiative. Rimona’s recent research is published in the Journal of Peace Psychology, State Crime Journal, Journal of Environmental Law, in edited books by Palgrave and Brill, and her creative work appears in literature/arts magazines, festivals, and exhibitions. Over the past seventeen years, she’s also been involved in many civic projects on human and nonhuman rights.
Animal methods bias is a newly recognized bias in the conduct and assessment of biomedical research describing a preference for animal-based methods where they may not be necessary or where nonanimal-based methods may be suitable. In the context of scholarly publishing, editors’ and peer reviewers’ often unconscious animal methods bias can affect the quality and fairness of manuscript assessments. In turn, this can reduce the likelihood of a nonanimal-based study being accepted for publication or result in the conduct of animal experiments that are not scientifically or ethically justified due to academic pressures to publish. To better understand author’s experiences with peer reviewer animal methods bias and determine the prevalence of this emerging issue, we conducted a cross-sectional survey with 17 questions. Specifically, the questionnaire was designed to collect data about peer reviewer requests for animal experiments and the perceptions of authors who use nonanimal-based methods about these requests, including whether they complied and why or why not. The survey also aimed to explore authors’ perceived negative consequences of animal methods bias, such as delay in publication, manuscript rejection, or discouragement. This study is ongoing, but results are expected before the Fauna Connections symposium and will reveal the breadth and impacts of the animal methods bias phenomenon. Further understanding animal methods bias will help inform mitigation efforts and reduce barriers for researchers who use non-animal research approaches, which will ultimately improve the relevance of biomedical research to human health and reduce the number of animals used in research.
Catharine E. Krebs, PhD, (she/her) is a medical research specialist with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a US-based health advocacy organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research and medical training. At the Physicians Committee, Dr. Krebs works to push the National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest funder of biomedical research, toward the most responsible and effective policies and strategies. She also leads an international collaboration to illuminate and address animal methods bias.
Aquaculture is a rapidly developing industry with inadequate attention paid to animal welfare concerns. Out of 400 species of farmed aquatic animals, 70% of these are newly emerging as farmed species and have no species-specific welfare knowledge. This problem is exacerbated by an attempt to further diversify and ramp up aquaculture, indicating serious welfare concerns across the industry. This paper disaggregates aquaculture production on a species level and assesses the degree to which aquatic animals are at risk of poor welfare in farmed conditions. We estimate welfare risks involved in the cultivation/farming of ~400 species by integrating parameters derived from existing literature on captive animal welfare and terrestrial animal domestication with established methodologies in fish welfare assessments. These welfare prognoses are combined with environmental and global expansion risk to provide a holistic assessment of each species’ risk on an individual and aggregate scale. In addition, this paper will spotlight the unique and specific harms faced by a small subset of species to exemplify the nature of the welfare risks implicated by the diversification and global scaling of aquaculture. Overall, it draws attention to the vast diversity of “Blue Foods” and the ways in which scientific discourse and policy recommendations can minimize its inherent complexity, the scope and scale of its environmental impacts, and the fundamental challenges in attempting to domesticate wild animals.
Chiawen Chiang (she/her) is a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Animal Studies at New York University, where she also serves as the Fish Behavior and Welfare Lab Manager. Prior to joining New York University, she was the Project Manager of Fish Welfare Initiative’s Philippines program, where she led projects to explore and implement interventions that raise aquaculture standards for farmed fish welfare in the country. Currently, her research focuses on investigating the welfare risks associated with emerging aquaculture species.
3:55pm – Break
4:10pm – Closing
Jo Anderson (she/her), PhD, Research Director, is an advocate for animals and empirical research. She has many years of experience with a wide range of social science research methods and topics, as well as advanced training in statistical analysis. Jo became Faunalytics’ Research Director in 2017 and since then has led and supervised studies of attitudes and behavior pertaining to animals and veganism, advocate retention, donations, lobbying efforts, and many other topics. Her other roles include serving as the co-leader of the RECAP (Research to End Consumption of Animal Products) researcher collective, a member of the Brooks Institute’s Animal Law & Science working group, an ad hoc research advisor to ProVeg and Food System Innovations, and an Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada). Jo has a PhD in social psychology from the University of Waterloo and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University.
Coni Arévalo (she/her), Research Scientist, comes from a background in wildlife conservation and management. She has long been passionate about protecting the world’s biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and is dedicated to protecting and standing up for all the animal lives that can’t do so in our human-dominated world. Coni has conducted research on anthropogenic influences on urban birds in Chile, human-carnivore conflicts in Mesoamerica, and the role of protected areas throughout Latin America. She holds a BA in German Studies and Biological Sciences from Cornell University and an MSc in Natural Resources from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Björn Jóhann Ólafsson (he/him), Research Liaison, started advocating for animals at the ripe age of ten and hasn’t stopped since. After studying psychology and human rights at the University of Chicago and the Center for Decision Research, Björn worked in education and science writing. He then investigated animal agriculture as a journalist for Sentient Media and other publications, reporting on greenwashing campaigns, alternative proteins, and animal sentience.
Andrea Polanco (she/her), PhD, Research Scientist, is a trained animal welfare scientist with a PhD from the University of Guelph, but is now happily conducting social science research at Faunalytics. Although Andrea entered the field of animal welfare science to reduce animal suffering, she became vegan and a more vocal animal advocate halfway through her PhD. These changes led her to discovering Faunalytics and the empirical study of animal advocacy.
Brooke Haggerty (she/her) has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and has dedicated her career to animal protection. She stepped into the leadership role with Faunalytics in January 2020 after serving as our operations manager for over a year. Previously, she served as the executive director and later as a board member for the Foundation for Animal Care and Education, and also worked as a humane educator and later as a campaigns director for the Animal Protection and Rescue League. Brooke is a former board member and programming chair for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of San Diego, currently serves on the board for HandsOn San Diego promoting community volunteerism, and actively volunteers with her alma mater’s student mentorship program. In 2022, she was named one of “40 Top Business Leaders Under 40” by the San Diego Business Journal. Brooke has an MA in Human Behavior, a BA in English, and certifications in Marketing and Nonprofit Management.
Immediately following the event, attendees will have the opportunity to join our networking session. This networking session will provide a space for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to connect with one another, build relationships, and discuss opportunities in animal advocacy. The session will run for around 30 minutes and all advocates who identify as being part of this community are welcome to join.
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Laura Alvarez (she/her) is Deputy Director of Science & Regulatory Affairs at Cruelty Free International where she works to ensure that the organization’s call to end animal testing is supported by sound scientific argument. She has a BSc in biomedical sciences from Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom, and an MSc in clinical microbiology from Queen Mary University of London, UK. She previously worked as a veterinary microbiologist for the U.K. government’s Animal & Plant Health Agency where her focus was on the development and validation of new in vitro test systems for the efficacy of disinfectants against clinically important viruses.
Ben De Groeve (no pronouns/he/him) is a researcher with expertise in persuasion science (PhD), environmental management (MSc), biology (MSc, BSc) and education. In his PhD thesis, he examined the role of perceptions towards vegetarians and vegans in promoting plant-based diets.
Laura Fernández (she/her) is a postdoctoral fellow at University of Barcelona, where she works with the Centre of Research in Information, Communication and Culture (CRICC) within the research lines of gender, inclusion, and diversity. Laura’s research interests include critical animal studies, strategic visual communication, social movements, fat studies, and feminist LGBTQI+ media studies. She is the author of more than ten academic publications and a book. She is a team member of the research project COMPASS (Lobbying and Compassion: Interest Groups, Discourse and Nonhuman Animals in Spain), and a board member of the UPF-Centre for Animal Ethics (UPF-CAE).
Jerico Fiestas (he/him) is a PhD Candidate in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Alberta. He specializes in non-market valuation, environmental regulation, and experimental economics. His research aims to make methodological contributions in the modeling of environmental regulations’ effects, and in the development of stated preference instruments, including those implemented in developing countries. He has helped interdisciplinary groups to design and/or evaluate public policies that could affect natural areas and non-human animals by providing insights on the policy’s effects, as well as the public’s support. He has also designed and implemented surveys to understand dietary preferences in developing countries.
Kate Lupango (she/her) is the co-founder and Executive Director of Animal Empathy Philippines (AEP). She has more than six years of experience in animal advocacy such as doing outreach events dedicated to increasing awareness of action for farm animals and community building. She has a bachelor’s degree in BA major in Management Accounting and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Community Development at the University of the Philippines in the hope that she can provide support to local communities towards helping animals. She believes that Filipinos have the capacity to extend their compassion and rationality toward eradicating farm animal suffering.
Jenny Mace (she/her) is currently an Associate Lecturer on the MSc in animal welfare, behavior, ethics, and law with the Centre for Animal Welfare at the University of Winchester. Her current research focus is on ex-commercial chicken care.
Carmel Pascual (she/her) worked as a Project Associate at Animal Empathy Philippines, wherein she co-scoped the alternative protein landscape in the Philippines. She is currently finishing her BSc Food Technology degree at the University of the Philippines Diliman, and her internship in the Bureau of Animal Industry first exposed her to farmed animal welfare. Since then, she has completed an alternative protein fundamentals program conducted by the Cambridge University Alternative Protein Society and explored marketing strategies of local plant-based meat products for her thesis. Some of Carmel’s advocacies include food sustainability and security, effective altruism, science communication, and women and children’s rights.
Iro Tsarmpopoulou-Fokianou (she/her) is a Social Anthropologist and researcher from Greece. She was part of a two-year social research group in Athens, and she also conducted her own primary research in Iceland, studying the cultural importance of whales. Iro is a passionate conservationist and environmentalist and she hopes to use social research as a means of conservation and animal rights. Iro believes multispecies and interdisciplinary research can be a powerful tool in conservation and for the benefit of animals. Iro is an active Sea Shepherd volunteer and has also collaborated with numerous animal protection organizations such as Sea Watch Foundation, the Jane Goodall Institute, and ANIMA.
Aiko Unterweger (he/him) has completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Twente, Netherlands, and is currently striving to become an organizational psychologist. After his bachelor’s, he continued working as a researcher, an organizational consultant, and an assistant restaurant manager. The field of psychology concerning itself with the (harmful) relationship of humans towards animals has fascinated Aiko for many years, and how a more ethical relationship could be reached. At the center of this always stands a realistic and effective approach, with the overarching mission to make this world a better place.