Funding Dynamics In Farmed Animal Advocacy
Farmed Animal Funders (FAF) is a community of funders that supports organizations working to end animal farming. Each year, FAF produces a report that dives into some of the funding dynamics in the farmed animal advocacy movement. Specifically, the report reveals which areas of the world and types of advocacy receive the most funding, as well as donor trends among FAF members and other key insights.
For its 2021 report, FAF surveyed around 2,000 global charities working in farmed animal and dietary advocacy. Almost half (45%) of these organizations were classified as “small” with budgets under $100,000. Medium-sized organizations with budgets between $100,000 and $5 million made up 40% of respondents. In contrast, “large” organizations with budgets over $5 million made up only 3% of respondents, meaning that the majority of data came from small and medium-sized organizations.
Which Organizations Spent The Most?
FAF’s 2021 report found that the farmed animal advocacy movement’s budget was around $200 million USD in 2020. The movement appears to be growing in terms of dollar size, as FAF projected this budget to reach around $220 million by the end of 2021.
But how is this budget being spent among organizations fighting factory farming? The survey revealed that less than 5% was spent by small organizations, while medium-sized organizations were responsible for almost 50% and large organizations nearly half (45%).
Every organization in the sector doesn’t exclusively combat factory farming, as nearly 65% reported working in other animal issues. Organizations with additional priorities spent $77 million to combat factory farming, compared to $153 million on other animal issues. Meanwhile, around 66% of the money allocated to the farmed animal movement was spent by organizations exclusively working in farmed animal protection (around $123 million).
Which Global Regions Received The Most Money?
According to the report, one of the movement’s most significant areas of improvement is its limited geographical reach. As of 2021, most farmed animal organizations were based in the U.S., closely followed by the United Kingdom. Nearly 70% of organizations reported working in just one country. In fact, only $37.5 million (less than 20%) of the $200 million donated globally was spent in countries other than the U.S., U.K., and Western Europe.
Less money went to countries in South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, where a significant number of animals are farmed and eaten. This highlights the need to continue building movement momentum in underrepresented regions of the world.
What Types Of Advocacy Earned The Most Funding?
FAF also wanted to understand what types of advocacy organizations are conducting, and which interventions require the most (and least) funding. Survey respondents were asked whether they engage in four different types of advocacy work: government, business, public advocacy, and movement-building.
The most common forms of advocacy were working with the general public (e.g. sanctuaries, mass media); providing training and education for people within the movement; and supporting consumer behavior shifts. The least common forms of advocacy included working with public officials (e.g. elections and political appointments); alternative proteins; and supporting investment and divestment efforts. Funding was distributed more or less evenly across the four advocacy sectors, although movement-building and government advocacy received less funding than business and public advocacy.
Around 120 survey participants estimated how they distributed their budget across different types of advocacy work. Campaigns targeting institutional and retail buyers within businesses, often through corporate welfare campaigns, received the most money. This was followed by government legislation (e.g., lobbying) and general consumer outreach and behavior change. In contrast, organizations spent the least amount on investment and divestment campaigns, working with public officials, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy involving farmers.
What Animal Types Received The Most Money?
Most animal advocacy organizations focused on all farmed animals, followed by egg-laying chickens, pigs, and broiler chickens.
Other farmed animal species such as fishes, crustaceans, and other farmed invertebrates were significantly more neglected in terms of focus area and funding spent. This is despite the overwhelming number of farmed fishes and invertebrates consumed around the world.
When asked about their expansion plans moving forward, many organizations expressed an interest in expanding to Asia (particularly China and India), followed by Africa. Although most groups plan to continue working on programs they already have in place, some organizations intend to work on fish advocacy and plant-based or vegan campaigns in the future.
It may also benefit farmed animal advocacy organizations to understand how funders plan to allocate their money in the future. According to the survey, FAF members noted interest in funding animal advocacy projects that will help animals globally, followed by projects exclusively in Asia, North America, and Africa. FAF members were also most interested in supporting government regulations and legislation, followed by alternative proteins. They were least interested in investment/divestment campaigns and direct advocacy with farmers. Finally, while most funders placed an emphasis on supporting all farmed animals, chickens and fishes were of particular interest.