Cameron King headshot

How can Africa avoid industrialised animal farming? – Cameron King of Animal Advocacy Africa – Sentientism Episode 89

Find our Sentientist Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube here or on the Sentientism podcast here.

Cameron (cameron@animaladvocacyafrica.org) is the Operations Lead for Animal Advocacy Africa (& @Animal_Africa). Cameron ran his own eCommerce business for several years before pivoting to charity entrepreneurship to have a more extensive & substantial positive impact on the world. Cameron has been involved in the Effective Altruism community for over ten years & went through Charity Entrepreneurship’s 2020 incubation program.

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” In addition to the video above the audio is on our Podcast here on Apple and here elsewhere.

We discuss:
00:00 Welcome

01:15 Cameron’s Intro

  • Studying, business, Effective Altruism, earning to give, charity entrepreneurship, starting AAA

03:01 What’s Real?

  • Growing up with a logical/reasoned/scientific mindset
  • Attending church & religious school
  • Being drawn to scepticism, rationalism, atheism, Effective Altruism
  • Softening to consider Buddhism/spiritualist elements
  • Meditation “It felt like there’s something more going on here”. Interconnectedness, a peace with determinism (no free will)
  • There are some moral truths in religious thinking. Religion as metaphor
  • Open mindedness & humility

15:30 What (& Who) Matters?

  • An early sense of justice “I couldn’t sit back & do nothing”
  • Suffering/contentment as a core moral axiom
  • The asymmetry betwee suffering & flourishing
  • We can learn & grow & become happier from suffering
  • Over-simplifying suffering/flourishing
  • “Notes From the Underground” by Dostoevsky & Alan Watts
  • Understanding/truth/knowledge as a meta-goal for humanity?
  • “You can kind of fit everything in” to sentience
  • Considering moral scope as a teenager. Other humans. Other sentients. Veganism.
  • Watching challenging YouTube ethical debate videos (Joey Carbstrong)… “I can’t answer this… It shook me.”
  • A “who can be vegetarian for the longest” bet with a friend. Going vegan 4 weeks later
  • The social/family aspect was the most difficult partly because “It challenges other people’s beliefs”
  • “I’ve now channelled my vegan angst into this charity”
  • “Changing your mind is possible.”
  • Bio/ecocentrism?
  • Digital sentience?
  • Animal farming as an obvious, tractable, human wrong
  • Wild animal suffering vs. an idealistic reverence for “nature”
  • Links between naturalistic epistemology & ethics

38:08 How Can we Make a Better World?

  • Effective Altruism: “Doing the most good you can in an evidence based & effective way”
  • EA should be a mass movement. Less insular
  • Everyone should at least consider the effectiveness of charitable donations (as people invest for the best return)
  • Different people can make very different contributions. It’s not “one size fits all”
  • “I don’t see the world as a zero-sum game”
  • Systemic/institutional change, policy as well as individual consumer/donation impact
  • Animal Advocacy Africa: Solving an alignment problem. Matching willing funders with advocacy organisations & helping them capacity build
  • Pilot programme completing now (mentors, funders, volunteers)
  • AAA Analysis & reports on the state of animal advocacy in Africa, focusing on animal agriculture
  • Factory farms are already appearing
  • Avoiding the default of African countries following the path of industrial animal agriculture
  • Cultural, governance, NGO immaturity challenges
  • Very different theories of change are required across the continent: Resisting de-sensitisation, awareness of animal sentience…
  • The massive potential for the advocacy movement across Africa
  • JustTransition challenges re: traditional & local animal agriculture
  • Aligning ethics, health & environmental drivers for win-win-win situations
  • Volunteering, donation, job, networking opportunities with AAA & their local partner organisations

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info.

Join our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook.

Thanks Graham for the post-production.

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