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Giving for Animals Stories | Felix Werdermann

Updated: Jan 31

This profile is part of the "Giving for Animals Stories" Series. Felix is a consultant who took the Giving What We Can pledge to donate a part of his income to animal charities.

What inspired you to start donating to the animal advocacy cause and what motivates you to continue?

I’ve been donating to animal advocacy for a long time, but to a greater extent only since I came into contact with the philosophy of Effective Altruism. The suffering in factory farming is unimaginable when you look at the numbers of animals. And from my point of view it is irrational that many people pet dogs but eat pigs.

Many animal advocates want to work for charities, but unfortunately the organizations often lack the money. With my donations I can directly enable people to dedicate themselves professionally to the cause. In addition, I know that donations to the right organizations have many times the effect that they would have at the animal shelter around the corner.

I am motivated by the successes of the movement: Veganism is entering the mainstream, new plant-based products keep coming on the market, and more and more people are thinking about animal rights. A vegan food system also helps in the fight against climate change or new pandemics, so it’s a multi-problem solver.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking the pledge/earning to give for animals, but is unsure?

I would mainly ask for the reasons why he or she is unsure and try to give a tailored advice. :D

For me, the following are the main reasons (and maybe some of them also apply to the person asking me):

I signed the Giving What We Can Pledge because I want to inspire other people to follow suit. That way I magnify my positive impact even beyond the donations.

I think many people in developed countries would be able to donate ten percent of their income. For some, it can be helpful to make such a commitment publicly, because then it is easier for them to stick to their good intentions (for me personally, this was not a reason).

I chose earning to give because donations are desperately needed in the animal advocacy movement. I am in the privileged situation of living in a rich country with comparatively high wages. I also have (in my case: mathematical) skills that are sought after in business. Due to the extreme differences in salaries, I can thus earn many times what I would get at an animal charity.

Many people would rather work directly for the animals and see their success. Only a few are willing to work in a completely different area and support the cause indirectly - or they don't even think of it. This makes the contribution one can make with this career path all the more valuable.


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