<I Wish My Son Was a Dog>
Man vs. Dog. Can I make a *better choice* next time I donate my happy beans? Is there such thing as a better choice? According to effective altruism model, there is. For example, a given sum of money does much more to reduce suffering and save lives if we use it to assist people living in extreme poverty in developing countries than it would if we gave it to most other charitable causes. But does it mean that I was NOT doing the “most good”, when I chose to donate my beans to a local animal charity? Would I be making a better choice, if I chose to donate my money to the Harrison fund and save Harrison from his rare disease because enough money is being given to animal charities, people starving in developing companies, or people struggling from cancer? (There’s another ad by the Harrison fund: “I wish my son had cancer.”)
- Let’s just say this out loud: Harrison’s Fund does not hate dogs. We don’t hate any animals. In fact, two kittens have just found a loving home at the Smith household (although, if I’m honest, I think Harrison likes them a bit more than I do). I recognise that our new ad is controversial, but we’re pretty confident that it won’t adversely affect donations to animals’ charities. The UK is a nation of animal lovers and that’s something to be proud of. It’s just that sometimes the distribution of charitable donations seems, well, a bit bizarre. Put it this way, The Dogs Trust, who do excellent work, raised £71 MILLION more than Harrison’s Fund in 2014 (Charity Awareness Monitor figures). But, it’s hard to draw direct comparisons so we did our own test, running two identical digital ads for a week, one featuring a picture of a dog we found on the Internet and one featuring Harrison. Irritatingly but unsurprisingly the dog ad was clicked on twice as much as the one featuring my beautiful son. And the tragedy is that medical research to develop a cure for Duchenne is the only hope our kids have. In short, we’re desperate.