Sentience Institute

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Sentience Institute
FormationJune 2017; 5 years ago (June 2017)
TypeThink tank
Registration no.EIN 82-2537926[1]
FocusEffective altruism and social movement research
  • New York, United States[1]

The Sentience Institute (SI) is an American interdisciplinary think tank that specializes in effective altruism and social movement research. It was founded by Jacy Reese Anthis and Kelly Anthis in June 2017 and has published research reports on various social movements and new technologies.


The Sentience Institute was founded on the principle of effective altruism, a philosophy and social movement that uses evidence and reasoning to determine the most effective ways to benefit others. The institute bills itself as, "an advocacy think tank researching and advising advocates on the most effective strategies to expand humanity's moral circle."[2] Its founders, Kelly Witwicki and Jacy Reese Anthis, were working at Sentience Politics, which was part of the Effective Altruism Foundation. Sentience Politics is now a nonprofit organization running political initiatives in the German-speaking area. Anthis had also previously worked at Animal Charity Evaluators as chair of the board of directors and then as a full-time researcher.[3]

Anthis and Witwicki were selected for Vice Media's 2017 "Humans of the Year" award. Reporter Matthew Gault described the institute's research agenda as "a huge endeavor." Kelly spoke of the need for evidence and research in the study of social movements:[4] Witwicki and Anthis married in 2020.[5]


Sentience Institute synthesizes some of its research into a Summary of Evidence for Foundational Questions in Effective Animal Advocacy, which catalogs evidence from a variety of sources with implications for animal advocacy movement strategy.[3]

Since 2017, the institute has published several white papers including a study of the British antislavery movement, a study of the French nuclear power movement, and a study of genetically modified food.[4][6][7]

The institute polled the views of American adults towards animal agriculture, most notably finding that 47% agreed with the statement, "I support a ban on slaughterhouses."[8][9][10][11][12] It was replicated in January 2018 by a team of agricultural economists at Oklahoma State University who found the same result.[13][14]

In November 2018, Anthis, writing under the pen-name "Jacy Reese", published The End of Animal Farming, which summarizes and builds on most of the institute's research and communicates it with the general public.[15][16][17][18] Near the end of the book, Reese concludes that, "if I had to speculate, I would say by 2100 all forms of farming will seem outdated and barbaric."[19][20] Reese criticizes the notion of humane meat.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sentience Institute Inc". Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved December 7, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Should animals, plants, and robots have the same rights as you?". Sentience Institute. April 4, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Introducing Sentience Institute". Sentience Institute. June 2, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Gault, Matthew (December 28, 2017). "This Think Tank Wants to End Factory Farming". Vice Motherboard. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  5. ^ Reyes, Nina (May 9, 2020). "No Debating Their Love". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Research". Sentience Institute. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  7. ^ Gault, Matthew (November 16, 2018). "Jacy Reese Thinks Technology and Ethics Will See the 'End of Animal Farming'". Vice Motherboard.
  8. ^ Chiorando, Maria (November 20, 2017). "Poll Shows 47% Of Americans 'Agree With Ban On Slaughterhouses'". Plant Based News.
  9. ^ Starostinetskaya, Anna (November 21, 2017). "Nearly Half of Americans Want to Ban Slaughterhouses". VegNews.
  10. ^ Neff, Michelle (November 21, 2017). "New Poll Reveals Nearly 50% of Americans Want to Ban Slaughterhouses and Would Prefer Animal-Free Meat". One Green Planet.
  11. ^ Ettinger, Jill (November 21, 2017). "70% of Americans Want Better Treatment for Farm Animals, Poll Finds". Organic Authority.
  12. ^ Piper, Kelsey (November 5, 2018). "California and Florida voters could change the lives of millions of animals on Election Day". Vox.
  13. ^ Siegner, Cathy (January 25, 2018). "Survey: Most consumers like meat, slaughterhouses not so much". Food Dive.
  14. ^ Murray, Susan (January 18, 2018). "FooDS Food Demand Survey: Volume 5, Issue 9" (PDF). Oklahoma State University.
  15. ^ Spector, Nicole (March 1, 2017). "Fowl play? Subway denies its chicken is only 50% real". NBC News.
  16. ^ "Dealmaker: Beacon Press (Imprint)". Publishers Marketplace. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  17. ^ Piper, Kelsey (November 15, 2018). "We could end factory farming this century". Vox.
  18. ^ Brown, Molly (November 22, 2018). "In 'The End of Animal Farming,' Jacy Reese lays out a meat-free future thanks to science and tech". Geekwire.
  19. ^ "The End of Animal Farming". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  20. ^ Robinson, Nathan (November 12, 2018). "Can we end animal farming forever?". Current Affairs.
  21. ^ Reese, Jacy (November 16, 2018). "There's no such thing as humane meat or eggs. Stop kidding yourself". The Guardian.

External links[edit]