“It feels really good to be doing the right thing” – Alene Anello – Legal Impact for Chickens President & Founder – Sentientism Episode 128

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Alene is the President and Founder of Legal Impact for Chickens. She graduated from Harvard Law School, clerked for a federal judge and then started litigating for animals. She has worked at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and The Good Food Institute. Alene is licensed to practice law in New York, the District of Columbia, and California. Alene is committed to helping chickens to honor the memories of her two beloved avian family members, Conrad and Zeke.

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the three most important questions: “what’s real?”, “who matters?” and “how can we make a better future?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” The audio is also on our Podcast here on Apple & here everywhere else.

We discuss:
00:00 Welcome

02:08 Alene’s Intro

  • “Making factory farm cruelty a liability… we sue companies for abusing animals on factory farms”

02:44 What’s Real?

  • Raised #atheist “they didn’t teach me anything about god”
  • A friend & camp counsellor talking about someone who is always watching you – even indoors!
  • Mum: “Just don’t argue with them because you don’t want to make them upset”
  • “I’m an atheist today… because I’ve never been encouraged to be religious I think I have a much more positive view of #religion “
  • “It’s kind of hard to know if anything’s real… I don’t feel like I have evidence of anything at all… even that I exist!”
  • “I do assume there’s ground I can walk on… that the things I see are real”
  • “Day to day I live very much like a naturalistic person”
  • “There’s probably a world outside my body”
  • Imperfect memory & perception & dreaming
  • Arbitrary beliefs
  • “How do I know my mind is functioning correctly?… it helps me have more empathy for people that think very differently”
  • Risks & harms of bad epistemology
  • #naturalism vs. #dogma vs. #fideism (#faith) vs. fake naturalism

22:25 What Matters?

  • “#morality comes from psychology… humans just evolved morality… part of it comes from society”
  • Descriptive & normative ethics
  • Relativism
  • “I have this intuitive sense that suffering is bad & joy is good”
  • Utilitarianism
  • Equality
  • It’s hard to convince a psychopath to be moral
  • “Pick somebody who already cares about suffering… & show them how whoever I’m concerned about is suffering”
  • #Consequentialism, #virtue ethics, #deontology, #feminist care ethics
  • Offsetting one being’s suffering w/the flourishing of another?
  • #pluralism

38:28 Who Matters?

  • “I care about animals a lot”
  • “If an alien could suffer then I’m concerned about that… or a computer”
  • Getting in trouble at college for writing “why we should be kind to robots” #robotrights
  • Growing up with dogs “I assumed from the beginning that she had feelings”
  • Motivations for denying non-human suffering
  • Getting to know Conrad… & birds
  • Eating chicken at school… “It reminded me of how his body feels… oh my god chicken is a bird!”
  • Giving up eating chicken… later going #vegan
  • Eating smaller animals (fishes, chickens) causes more deaths per meal
  • #Reducetarian vs. the ethical clarity of #veganism
  • Environ. impacts of animal agriculture
  • “Plants are edible!”
  • “I am vegan today… I decided I didn’t want to eat any animals”
  • “It feels really good to be doing the right thing”
  • Parents resisted (health) but “my health is not as important… My argument was ‘let me die to save animals'”
  • “I went vegan fully – it was amazing! I felt so happy.”
  • “I do sometimes have feelings that are outside of sentientism… why did you not warn me that tomato plants die every year?”
  • “I’m 99% sentientist”

58:30 A Better Future?

  • Improving how animals are treated… maybe a utopia where “suffering would end”
  • The scale of sentient animal slaughter (esp. chickens, fishes, shrimps)
  • The role of litigation (USA) in reducing suffering of farmed animals
  • Legal Impact for Chickens “We’re hiring!”
  • “I want executives & companies to think about how they’re treating animals & to worry that they’ll get in trouble”
  • Impact litigation. Civil law suits
  • Poor enforcement of animal cruelty laws “we don’t have time for this”
  • #Prop12, #Happyelephant, #UNCAHP, #OregonIP13
  • “The law can push things forward”
  • General counsels worry about their companies getting sued
  • Persuasion & enforcement
  • Does #Welfarism risk enabling animal farming?
  • “Treating animals better… will bring about the end of factory farming sooner… ask the meat industry.”
  • Oregon’s IP13 & outlawing needless harm/killing #SanctuaryState
  • One day animal agri will be illegal.

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

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Thanks Graham for the post-production.

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