The low-cost, high-impact studies described below are those we are currently seeking funding to support. If you are interested in funding one of the research projects described below, please go here to donate. We would also be happy to discuss our research plans with you or provide a full study proposal; please contact us if interested.
Relative Effectiveness of Different Approaches to Advocacy
There are many different approaches to advocacy in the movement, and it is both important and difficult to test their relative impact on public attitudes and behavior. In this study, we will examine attitudes toward advocacy issues and pro-animal behaviors, then ask about which types of advocacy people have been previously exposed to (e.g., seeing graphic material with and without consent, receiving a leaflet, etc.). We will use regression to examine how current attitudes and behavior are predicted by a wide range of past experiences with advocacy, which will provide an estimate of each strategy’s unique impact over the long-term.
We will also include an experimental manipulation to measure participants’ current reactions to the same range of advocacy strategies, presented as hypothetical encounters. This will provide information about the strategies’ immediate impact as well. Therefore, this study will combine retrospective survey and experimental methods to provide initial evidence directly comparing advocacy strategies to one another in both the short- and long-term. Neither method is perfect, but together they compensate for one another’s limitations and allow for the first direct comparison of a wide range of advocacy techniques. This research will provide valuable information to guide independent advocates, new groups, and prospective funders about which types of advocacy to support.
Funding sought: $25,000
Can Welfare Reform Change Public Attitudes or Intentions?
Corporate welfare reforms produce positive incremental change for farmed animals on a large scale but are a relatively new aspect of advocacy, without much research backing their effectiveness. Recent Faunalytics research provided a first step in this direction, and showed that corporate pledges to move toward cage-free egg suppliers are generally well-perceived by the public. This is good news for the movement, given the high dollar value of support flowing toward these campaigns, but more research is needed to determine which campaigns have the greatest potential impact for animals.
There are several aspects to understanding that potential: the animal welfare improvements associated with different types of reform, institutions’ receptivity to those reforms, and public support for those reforms. Estimating direct impact on animals is outside Faunalytics’ scope of expertise, but this project will support the other two key elements. While any welfare reform could produce positive change for animals, corporate pledges and follow-through are most likely for campaigns with broad public support, because institutions are driven by their bottom line.
In other words, the goal of this project is to identify welfare campaigns that will produce advocates and allies rather than apathy and opposition in the general public. We will conduct an experiment in which we present participants with information about one of several possible welfare reforms and then measure their attitudes toward the reform as well as their intentions to purchase that product and animal products more broadly. The potential impact for animals is substantial because the results will (a) identify campaigns that institutions should want to support because their customer base supports them, and (b) identify campaigns with direct positive impact on consumer behavior, thereby reducing suffering at the level of individual purchases as well as institutional change.
Funding sought: $20,000
Evoking Emotion To Increase Support
Donation Research Program
Donation Research Program
Donations are an important tool for movement-building. They represent not just new funds for organizations, but new people with a stake in animal advocacy. In this project, which is part of Faunalytics’ broader program of research on increasing donations to animal causes, we will experimentally determine which imagery is best for donation appeals. It is well-known that altruism is often driven by emotion, so the first part of the project will investigate which emotions are most effective in increasing the size and number of donations to animal causes, and whether the specific cause (e.g., farmed vs. companion animals) affects it. In the second part, we will then experimentally determine which imagery (happy animal, sad animal, graphic image) works best to evoke the desired emotion in prospective donors and increase donations.
Funding sought: $15,000
Effective, Comparable Measurement: A Farmed Animal Attitudes Scale
Just as good tools are essential to building a house, strong measurement tools are essential to evaluating impact. Using a series of studies, we will create a brief, reliable, and valid measure of attitudes towards farmed animals. This scale can be used by researchers, evaluators, and advocacy organizations to accurately determine whether interventions are having the desired effect and to compare outcomes to those observed in other settings and interventions. We would create this measure using a systematic set of 4-5 small studies following best practices. Stages of development will include expert consultation with advocates and researchers, pilot testing, item refinement, and validating that the measure predicts important and objective outcomes such as observed diet and behavior.
This project has significant potential to increase capacity and research-based decision-making throughout the movement by making effectiveness easier to measure. Once its predictive ability is established, we will promote the use of this scale to small organizations as a simple and valid way of evaluating the effectiveness of their programs. We will also endeavor to publish the study in an academic journal to bring additional attention and high standards to advocacy research.
Funding sought: $35,000