Faunalytics’ Hidden Gems
If there’s one downside to keeping a library as large and comprehensive as ours, it’s that taking it all in can be overwhelming. Faunalytics’ Research Library currently contains over 4,500 study summaries — and on top of that huge collection, we have our Original Studies, Fundamentals, explainer videos, and so much more. Each year, we add over 200 study summaries to the pool, as well as about 50 blog posts that provide further analysis and context to a wide variety of animal advocacy issues.
With so much content to keep up with, we know you may miss something from time to time! Fortunately, through our website analytics, we know exactly how much engagement each of our resources gets, giving us a pretty good sense of which ones are most useful to advocates. Sometimes a simple study summary can have a much longer life than we could have imagined.
What follows is a list of some of our most popular resources that you may have never heard of, or simply forgotten about. These are summaries and blogs that we’ve identified through our analytics that consistently have a strong organic reach, and which offer substantive and interesting information for animal advocates. As we continue to summarize studies on an almost daily basis, it’s important to keep reaching into the archive for resources that continue to be relevant to our work.
Just how much land does animal-based farming use, and what are its economic outputs? How does farming plants measure up? This summary of a report from the Humane Party gives a broad comparison of the two, finding that farming plants produces vastly more food on a fraction of the land: the report concludes that “plant-based agriculture grows 512% more pounds of food than animal-based agriculture on 69% of the mass of land that animal-based agriculture uses.”
Many animal advocates understand a range of ethical issues related to animal experimentation. Lesser known than some of the ethical arguments, however, are the environmental arguments against animal experimentation. This study summary educates readers about everything from laboratory pollution to impacts on biodiversity. The tremendous amount of organic traffic this resource receives could mean that anti-vivisection advocates are expanding their toolkits and adding more dimensionality to their range of arguments from which they base their advocacy, which is always a good thing.
Leather is often seen as a sort of by-product of the meat industry, and indeed, animal agriculture sometimes frames the leather industry as something that helps eliminate waste in the process of slaughter, by contributing to the process of using the “whole animal.” This study summary, focused on the industry in Italy (which produces 20% of the world’s leather) lays bare some of the environmental harms done in the process of producing leather, and offers suggestions for change.
This is a blog post that we’ve promoted fairly widely, though the vast majority of our traffic related to it has come from Google searches and not from our own promotion. It provides a comprehensive summary and visualization of how many animals are slaughtered for food over time, using the most up-to-date data from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Useful visualizations include the increase in slaughter since 1962 and slaughter breakdowns by country on a total and per-capita basis. Interesting fact: we published the first edition of this resource in 2018, and it was so popular that we decided to make updating it a priority going forward.
Did you know that puppy mills came into popularity after World War II in reaction to crop failures in the Midwest? What’s more, the USDA actually promoted puppy mills. Encouraged by the government, farmers started to pack dogs into chicken coops and rabbit hutches and sell puppies to pet stores. It’s a strange history that brought us to the present day, and this blog post by Ivy Collier (now with Animals & Society) outlines the number of mills in operation, the problems with these facilities, and how many dogs are impacted.
This study summary is interesting and popular, but it isn’t one you would traditionally think of when you think of Faunalytics. It explores cognition in a variety of species, and specifically looks at how animals make plans for the future, including weasels in Costa Rica who pick unripe plantains and store them until they’re ready, chimpanzees in a zoo who gather stones and set them aside to toss them at zoo visitors later on, and squirrel monkeys who are willing to receive fewer peanuts in an experiment initially if it means that they would be rewarded with more peanuts later. While we do our best to curate our library with data that’s not derived through animal use, we believe that advocates should employ such research to pro-animal ends when possible.
This two part series from guest writer Joseph Millum examines the CDC National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) dataset to tease out the demographics and socioeconomic position of self-identified vegetarians. Among its most interesting findings are that many meat-eaters regularly eat meatless meals, while a large proportion of people who describe themselves as vegetarian occasionally eat meat. The study overall gives advocates a solid profile of who is most likely to be vegetarian, and could be used in targeting particular demographics with the most effective messaging.
Finally, we’re pleasantly surprised to see that one of the hidden gems on our site that finds its way in front of the eyes of thousands of readers a year is a blog post outlining some practical tips for designing your own research questionnaire. If you’re new to researching your own impact for animals, this is a great place to start, and will help you understand how to go about creating a survey that doesn’t skew the results or give you biased data.
This is just a small selection of some of our older — but still popular and relevant — posts. Of course, the real hidden gems on our site are the study summaries and blogs that are comprehensive and chock full of data, but that don’t get a lot of traffic, and remain relatively undiscovered. In a later blog post, we’ll explore some of those hidden treasures and hopefully inspire you to dig further into our archive when doing your own research.