These resources are intended for people interested in conducting their own research or analyzing data related to animal advocacy. Everything we link is either free or (only in the case of some courses) low-cost.
Have a suggestion for another open-access resource we can add? Contact us.
Are you an analyst looking for data relating to animals, animal products, diet, or other advocacy-related topics? The following datasets are all freely available for additional research. If you’ve conducted an analysis that might be useful to advocates, let us know! If it’s a good fit, we might be able to publish it.
Faunalytics’ Datasets (2017-present)
All of Faunalytics’ public datasets since 2017 are open-access and available for your use. They cover topics like diet, animal-cause donations, and public opinion on animal-related issues.
Animal Advocacy Data Repository (on the Open Science Framework) (2016-present)
This central repository, administered by Animal Charity Evaluators, is for animal advocates to post or cross-post any research outputs that they want to make publicly available, such as hypothesis pre-registrations, analysis plans, study materials, raw data, and analysis code. It includes data from The Humane League Labs, Mercy for Animals, Animal Charity Evaluators, and other groups. Faunalytics’ data is also available there, but check our link above for the most up-to-date resources.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
The FAO provides widely used data about food and agriculture, including about farmed animals: number alive at a given time, imports, exports, and more. FAOSTAT (this website) provides a wealth of data for open-access use, but we recommend that you consider some potential inaccuracies and inconsistencies before diving into your analysis.
Faunalytics provides an analysis of the FAO animal slaughter data from 1955-2016 here.
Food Demand Survey (FooDS) (2013-2018)
This dataset tracked consumer preferences and sentiments on the safety, quality, and price of food. It also aimed to identify consumer awareness of and concern for a range of food and agriculture related issues, and asked participants whether they were vegetarian or vegan. The survey was conducted monthly for 60 months (five years), with a new representative U.S. sample each time.
Google’s Dataset Search Tool
Search for datasets on any topic using Google technology. Many are behind a paywall, but you can filter to include only free datasets.
Millennial Market Segmentation Study (2018)
This dataset of US urban/suburban 18- to 34-year-olds was originally used to identify correlations between pro-animal beliefs or pro-vegan behaviors and other demographic or behavioral traits.
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (1999-present)
This study, conducted every two years in the U.S., captures health and nutrition data from a door-to-door interview and examination. For advocacy purposes, the dietary data is the most likely to be useful, as interviewees complete two 24-hour recalls of all the foods they have eaten, using a list of over 8,000 options. Note that the data files they provide are in .XPT format, which is a filetype that can be viewed and exported to other formats using the free SAS Viewer, as described here.
Twitter Trends Data (2019-2020)
This catalog includes a large number of open-access datasets out of the USDA, pertaining to food, farmed animals, agriculture, and related topics.
United States Wildlife And Wildlife Product imports From 2000–2014
These data describe wildlife products and animals imported into the U.S., with their quantities, origin, purpose, and more, all available via an open-source R package. The list of variables in the dataset is available here.
The data in this section has already been analyzed/aggregated in some way.
Faunalytics’ Animal Tracker Graphing Tool (2008-2019)
The Animal Tracker was an annual survey of U.S. adults’ opinions and behavior relating to animals. Topics covered included knowledge of animal issues, perceptions of animal advocacy, animal-related behavior, support for animal protection, and more. This graphing tool lets you easily explore the data by topic, year, and demographic variables.
This Google search tool provides a graph of the relative frequency of a search term over a period of time that you select. By relative frequency, we mean that the tool does not tell you how often a term was searched. Instead, it chooses the date with the most searches and sets it to 100%, then gives the rest of the time periods as a percentage of the searches that occurred on that date.
Roper Center iPoll (Animal Advocacy Topics) (1935-present)
The iPoll databank is a valuable source of historical data, containing public opinion survey questions and answers from decades of U.S. polls. Although full access to the databank is behind a paywall, Faunalytics had the opportunity to download a subset of that database pertaining to animal issues. Those questions are provided here via Google Drive. Our search terms included meat, fur, hunting, fishing, vegan, vegetarian, circus, and many more.
The Research Advice section of our website is a great starting point for most people.
Ask A Researcher: Faunalytics’ Research Office Hour
Our research team has years of experience conducting research and can help you design your study, interpret results, or point you in the right direction (for no cost). Talking to a live person is rare these days, but that’s exactly what we offer!
If you’re looking for more help than Faunalytics can offer (up to 2-3 hours of pro bono time per year), here are some additional options we recommend:
Panel and Data Analytics Companies
Many data collection companies like YouGov, Ipsos, Toluna, and Dynata offer survey programming and data analysis in addition to finding participants for you. You should discuss your needs and get quotes from multiple companies, because they can vary substantially. Some may also be willing to offer you a non-profit discount. It can be difficult to know what to ask for if you don’t have survey expertise, so feel free to visit Faunalytics’ office hour first to discuss your project and what you’ll need to know.
Statistics Without Borders
Statistics Without Borders is a volunteer Outreach Group of the American Statistical Association (ASA) that provides pro bono services in statistics and data science to not-for-profit organizations. Whether you just need help with analysis or would like substantive help with designing and running your study as well, they may be able to assist. Either way, we recommend approaching them during the design stage of your project so that they can review the design for feasibility and value of analysis. You can fill out the form on their website or directly email Gary Shapiro, (g.shapiro4 at live dot com), to obtain their help. Feel free to chat with us first if you’d like to figure out more about your project before approaching them.
Take A Course
Your local university may have courses you can audit for free–check the psychology, sociology, and economics department listings, depending on your interests. Even if you’re interested in improving your statistical skills, statistics classes targeting your particular science will likely be a better fit than the statistics department offerings.
There are also free and low-cost course options available online. For instance, Coursera, Udemy, DataCamp, Udacity, and more. Please note, however, that Faunalytics can’t vouch for the quality of any particular course, so we encourage you to research the site, instructor, and course reviews.
The following animal protection organizations (listed alphabetically) have published lists or information about their priority research areas. If you are looking for a high-impact topic to work on, these lists are a good place to start.
- Animal Charity Evaluators’ Cause Priority Areas (funder perspective)
- Charity Entrepreneurship’s Idea Prioritization Report (focus: potential new charities)
- Effective Altruism Animal Welfare Fund Scope (funder perspective)
- Faunalytics’ prioritization list (focus: capacity-building, useful to many groups)
- Fish Welfare Initiative’s Thesis Ideas (focus: fish)
- Food System Research Fund (FSRF)’s Research Focus areas (focus: plant-based and cultivated meat, funder perspective)
- GFI’s Alternative Protein: 2020 Consumer Research Priorities (focus: plant-based and cultivated meat)
- Sentience Institute’s Research Agenda and Foundational Questions
- Tiny Beam Fund’s Burning Questions (focus: low- and middle-income countries, funder perspective)
- Wild Animal Initiative’s 2020 Research Agenda (focus: wild animals)
Effective Altruism Resources
*not focused exclusively on animals
If you find any dead links in this list or know of newer or additional sources we should add, please let us know.
Ask A Librarian: Faunalytics’ Library Office Hour: Our Content Director is the resident expert on existing research and can help you find whatever you’re looking for (for no cost).
If you are looking for a job in research or data science, we suggest the following:
- Sign up for the Faunalytics newsletter to get updates about our own hiring;
- Check the other groups listed above for opportunities;
- Join the Effective Animal Advocacy Facebook group, which posts a monthly roundup of opportunities; and
- Check out Animal Advocacy Careers for help getting started, including one-on-one career advice calls. Their job board lists opportunities with groups they consider high-impact.
In the meantime, if it’s an option for you, volunteering for an animal advocacy organization in any capacity is a great way to get started and support the community and the animals. Faunalytics works with numerous volunteers, but you can also look for ways to support organizations in your local area. Whether it’s analyzing adoption data, feeding pigs, or marching in support of ballot measures, there’s always something you can do to help!