Research Planning Grant Recipients

Note: These grants are given to universities, not individual researchers.

Dublin City University (Ireland) - Danny Marks and team

The political economy of environmental problems caused by the animal feed industry in mainland Southeast Asia

The grant will support:

  • Two studies, one in Laos' Vientiane Province and one in Thailand's Chiang Mai Province. They include interviewing key actors from government, private business, scientists, and NGOs as well as maize farmers in each country (particularly representatives of farmer groups and cooperatives). 
  • Examination of the numerous environmental problems caused by the animal feed supply chain (particularly clearing forests for maize expansion and annual burning of maize fields) in Laos and Thailand.
  • Understanding why maize production continues to expand in Laos and Thailand despite the problems it causes.
  • Research that focuses on the political economy of the Thai multinational food corporation Charoen Pokphand Group /CP’s supply chain. (The largest market share of the animal feed industry in Thailand belongs to seven private companies. CP has particularly driven the expansion of maize production in both Laos and Myanmar.)

University of Technology Berlin (Germany) - Ludwig Jonas

Meat consumption and the appeal of plant-centric diets across Latin America: Exploring motivational conflict and cultural heterogeneity

Aim of the research work which focuses on five Latin American countries (Argentina, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru) and Spain:

  • Quantify the awareness of consumers in these countries of the ecological footprint of meat and plant and alterative meat products, and how that awareness affects their food choices.
  • Identify strategies to effectively communicate the ecological impact of meat consumption.
  • Examine differences and heterogeneity of attitudes toward plant-centric diets among these countries.
  • Gain a better understanding of the complex relationship between prosocial motivation and meat consumption (e.g. do people feel social pressure to conform with widespread customs that involve consuming or not consuming meat)

University of Bamenda (Cameroon) - Ngwa Martin Ngwabie

Fieldwork to measure and analyze greenhouse gas emissions that come from large, industrial animal farms in Cameroon

The research is the first step of a larger project to compare emissions from industrial animal farms with those from non-industrial alternative farms to assess which systems are better in reducing emissions.

The grant will support the collection of a very large number of gas and manure samples, from the cost of supplies to traveling expenses to farms. While manure samples can be analyzed locally, gas samples will need to be sent to a specialized laboratory for analysis which incur expenses.

University of British Columbia (Canada) - Mariann Molnár and team

What are the pressures from parties embedded in the value chain that drive animal farming sector in developing countries in Europe to invest in industrial systems and intensify animal agriculture?

In emerging economies that are transitioning to large-scale, industrial animal farming systems (particularly those that may apply or have applied for EU membership), livestock farmers are strongly influenced by pressures exerted by parties within the value chain, particularly by meat processing corporations. These pressures can seriously impact how the farmers and producers treat their animals.

The grant will support research work that uses Hungary as a case study (a EU member state on the low end of the socio-economic spectrum, but transitioning its animal agriculture to intensive, industrial systems), collecting primary empirical data from farmers and processing companies that are related to pressures in the value chain.

New York University (U.S.) - Becca Franks

Describe and quantify the animal welfare and environmental concerns in each of the hundreds of fish species raised in aquaculture farms, many of which are in low- and middle-income countries.

The grant will support preliminary steps and groundwork and consultation with colleagues. For example, figure out welfare indicators that are usable and possible to collect for each fish species, and determine which aspects to measure.

At present, regulations for farmed fish (if they exist at all) do not make distinction regarding species. But fish species being farmed around the world are radically different from each other, and almost all of them are wild species. Each fish species has its own needs and type of behavior. One needs species-specific and country-specific knowledge which is sorely lacking at present. Nevertheless, very early research has surmised that some fish species are particularly unsuitable to captivity while others are relatively amenable to being farmed on a large scale under certain conditions.

The final outcome of the larger project (if it is completed) will be a free online database that categorizes each fish species currently farmed in many countries along several welfare and environmental dimensions. Everyone (including fish farmers, corporations, NGOs, governments) will be able to find out which fish species is better for which production method in which country in terms of less harm to the animals' well-being and the environment.

Royal Veterinary College (U.K.) - Mehroosh Tak and team

Test new research method for identifying links between food policies and consumer demand for chickens and eggs in India.

The grant supports a pilot study in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu to collect data and test a new research method that can be very useful in understanding the links between government food policies and rising demand by the country’s consumers for chickens and eggs, not just in different Indian states but also in other Southeast Asia countries (e.g. Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka). The study is done in collaboration with Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.

Tamil Nadu is chosen for the pilot because poultry production is very important to that state’s economy, and because of the poultry consumption patterns there. It holds the second-largest population of egg-producing hens in the country, and one of the highest populations of concentration of vertically integrated commercial poultry farms. It is also a state with high social policies interventions.

New York University (U.S.) - Matthew Hayek

Map networks that support or engage in sustainable, humane agriculture in agrarian low- and middle-income countries.

The grant assists research to map networks that support or engage in sustainable agriculture across predominately agrarian low- and middle-income countries – networks that can help the countries to shift away from factory farming and move towards agriculture systems that are humane and sustainable.

Considered for mapping are networks, cooperatives, and public-private partnerships that originate from, for example, government agencies and services that advise farming communities, policies aimed at innovations, conservation initiatives, international bodies that assist countries to develop.

For each country, questions that will be asked include:

  • Are sustainable farming programs and networks present, and to what extent?
  • Who is conducting or organizing them on the national, state, and local level?
  • What is their funding capacity?
  • Who is involved in these programs? (Solely producers, local or national government, NGOs, transnational corporations, etc.)

New York University (U.S.) - Jennifer Jacquet

How large-scale farming of octopus in countries such as Mexico, Chile, Spain, China is developed and financed.

The grant is used to lay the groundwork of an investigative study into recent interest in various countries (e.g. Mexico, Chile, Spain, China) in developing and financing large-scale farming of octopus for human consumption.

Among the work to be supported by the grant is a systematic review of the literature (academic papers and gray literature as well as government grants/subsidies databases) in order to understand industry funding, government subsidies, and university-based investments that are aimed at getting the mass production of octopus off the ground.

Lille Catholic University (France) - Brendan Coolsaet and team

Farmer-led strategies to resist factory farming in the Global South

The research project is about “understanding the dynamics of small-scale and industrial livestock production in emerging economies such as Brazil, India, and China, as well as regions of the world that have traditionally received less attention in ‘pro-poor’ agricultural development, such as parts of West Africa or East Africa”.

The project aims to:

  •  Understand both immediately recognizable forms of resistance to industrial livestock expansion (such as protest) and “everyday forms of resistance” (less dramatic acts such as non-compliance) that are employed by pastoralists and small-scale livestock farmers in rural and urban contexts.
  •  “Identify mechanisms through which livestock farmers and pastoralists in specific Global South locations may learn from farmers in other regions of the world about successful agricultural, advocacy, and/or policy strategies to resist industrial livestock development.”

University of Edinburgh (U.K.) - Krithika Srinivasan

Alternative model to industrial poultry operations in South India involving the use of indigenous slower-growing poultry breeds

The project will:

  •  “Assess the viability of ‘country bird’ farming as an alternative to industrial poultry expansion in South India, and identify interventions that could help it succeed.”
  •  Assess whether a model developed for “local collaboration in South India – an approach that engages village-level veterinarians and farmer advocates as community educators and researchers” can be replicated for “international NGOs working on animal welfare issues in India”.
  •  “Conduct a landscape analysis of the contours and drivers of food animal production systems in Tamil Nadu, in order to inform interventions in India by international organizations, philanthropists, investors, and the Indian government itself that directly or indirectly enhance the welfare of farmed animals.”

University of Adelaide (Australia) - Alexandra Whittaker and team

Globalization’s impact on industrial animal agricultural expansion and animal welfare in developing countries reliant on halal production practices

The research project seeks to understand the direct and indirect impact and interplay of several complex issues:

  •  Animal welfare concerns within halal slaughter practices
  •  International regulations (e.g. WTO law) and local rules affecting these practices
  •  International trade and export of meat as well as live animals from high-income countries to low and middle-income predominantly Muslim countries (e.g. Kuwait, Indonesia)
  •  Expansion of industrial-scale meat production in the latter

University of Waterloo (Canada) - Jennifer Clapp

Financial supports enabling factory farming industry to expand to emerging markets, and interventions that can impede the expansion

The research project will explore:

  •  “Financial supports that enable the factory farming industry to operate and expand (with a special focus on emerging markets like India).”
  •  “Viability and efficacy of various interventions advocates could pursue to impede the factory farming industry’s ability to expand into emerging markets.”

The research will look into issues such as: (1) “Analogs from disrupted industries” (e.g. horse and carriage, coal, newspapers). (2) “Investment guidelines for trusts” held by pension funds, faith-based organizations, governments. (3) “Examples of catastrophic financial events that have affected factory farming operations”. (4) “The financial risks investors (private public, and government) face when they are involved in factory farming” (e.g. lawsuits, food poisonings, human epidemics, waste regulation, animal cruelty scandals, climate disasters). (5) “How the capital from debt and equity investors flows into factory farms”.

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