Animal Welfare and Food

Animal Welfare and Food

How is it right now?

Worldwide we use 70 billion animals a year for meat, milk or eggs.

The vast majority of these animals are part of the livestock industry, a sector in which production efficiency often runs contrary to good animal welfare.

What is animal welfare?

Professor and expert on animal welfare, David Fraser says three things are important for animals..

– Are they healthy?

– Are they content?

– Can they live naturally?

Animals are living sentient beings; their well-being matters. That’s often not recognised in the livestock industry. But that’s not all.

Health risks

The livestock industry poses significant health risks to animals and humans. Intensively farmed animals are more susceptible to disease: mad cow disease, swine fever, bird flu, Q fever. And diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans; these are called zoonoses.

Deforestation to develop the livestock industry robs wild animals of their natural habitat and leads to the spread of disease. Recent examples are Ebola and Covid-19.

Other harmful effects of the livestock industry

Besides the inhumane treatment of animals and the health risks, there is also considerable ecological damage:

  • Climate disruption
  • Inefficient use of farmland
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Air and soil pollution
  • Enormous water wastage

The livestock industry is part of a global industrial food system that is unsustainable.

What can help?

Fortunately, there are organizations around the world that are working to turn the tide.

Their approaches differ but ultimately their goal is similar:

A better life for animals, humankind and the planet.

Which approach to take: oppose, steer or persuade?

Suppose you want to do things differently, to eliminate or significantly improve the livestock industry and to switch to sustainable (plant-based) food.

How do you achieve this? Do you opt for:


Fighting factory farming


Helping the livestock industry to improve


Transition to sustainable (plantbased) food

All these are possible. But which organisation has the greatest impact in helping animals? Who makes the best use of donations? Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) has been doing thorough research on this since 2013. The Centre for Effective Altruism also chooses the most impactful charities for its EA Fund Animal Welfare. More on that below. First though, here are the best performing charities for animals.

The best performing charities for animals: value for money!

In this overview are the names and websites of EA Funds Animal Welfare, ACE, and charities recommended by ACE. In the last column, above the Donate button, are the ANBI/RSIN numbers and relevant details for tax relief. More information about donating can be found here.

LogoInformationRecommendationANBI / RSIN
Effective Altruism Fund: Animal Welfare has a broader scope and supports organisations recommended by ACE as well as other highly effective organisations. It covers animals in the livestock and fishing industries and wildlife.Manual

Animal Charity Evaluators researches promising charities that work on animal welfare and publishes the best opportunities for donating, based on this research.

Makes the recommendations825760446

The Albert Schweizer Foundation campaigns to encourage companies (i) to adopt cage-free policies, (ii) to commit to the welfare of chickens and fish, and (iii) to commit to offering additional and improved vegan options.Animal Charity Evaluators
Top Charity

Wild Animal Initiative publishes research on the welfare of wild animals, raises awareness of wildlife suffering, and is working to build an academic field for this research. ACE praises their “strong, cost-effective programs and their thorough strategy”. Animal Charity Evaluators
Top Charity


The Good Food Institute works with scientists, investors and entrepreneurs to create pioneering food. Tastier, safer and better for the planet than their outdated counterparts.Animal Charity Evaluators
Top Charity

The Humane League (UK) aims to end the abuse of animals raised for food. THL focuses on businesses, by getting them to adopt higher animal welfare standards, and on the public through grassroots advocacy and education. It also trains animal activists.Animal Charity Evaluators
Top Charity


The evaluator

Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) was founded in 2013 and is still the most important evaluator. ACE carries out research into the best organisations for animal welfare. The aim is to prevent animals being used for the benefit of people without regard for the interests of the animals.

If you want to know more about how ACE assesses charities, see here.

Effectief Doneren, de podcast