Sentient Media 2021 Year in Review: Wins, Losses, and the Road Ahead

This year, we continued our mission to create transparency around the use of animals in our daily lives⁠—from food to companionship to laboratory test subjects. With more than 300 articles published and over 350 advocates trained in the essentials of journalism and advocacy, we’ve made incredible strides towards our goal.

Now, we need your support to raise $20,000 to continue our essential work next year supporting a growing community of writers and reporting the truth about animal agriculture to the masses. With your help, we’re hoping to kickstart 2022 by reaching our goal this December. 

If successful, this fund will double our reporting budget for 2022, meaning we can work with more editors and journalists to deliver more breaking news stories like this, and thoughtful explainers like this.

What we’ve accomplished so far

In 2021, we published over 300 articles and to date, our audience has grown to over 4.2 million readers. This year, we also released our first investigation into animal pharma in partnership with DeSmog, funded by our readers. And we launched the original series, Closer Look, funded in part by the Lush Foundation.

Our content ranks in the top three positions in Google for over 1,300 animal exploitation and diet-related search terms like “factory farming” and “chicken farming.” In less than one year, our content reached over 52 million people on the platform.

We’ve also welcomed five new digital services partners—The Humane League, Nutrition Facts, Mercy For Animals, Factory Farming Awareness Coalition, and others—to grow their online presence by providing relevant training, strategy, and content. 

The Writers’ Collective brings together mentors, editors, and digital strategists to help emerging writers and advocates build better stories. Writers and advocates get the opportunity to network, learn, and practice their new skills in a supportive learning environment and have access to exclusive courses, events, and content.

The Social Media Fellowship brings together social media experts, journalists, influencers, and leaders in the animal rights movement to educate and guide advocates through a 6-week course on how to bring food system issues to larger audiences online. In 2021, members of the Social Media Fellowship provided over 400 plant-based meals and over 1,000 vegan cookbooks to communities in Bolivia, Dubai, and Brazil, and counting.

The Sentient Media Journalism Fund, funded by Timi and John Sobrato and Stray Dog Institute, is helping 17 applicants underrepresented in animal rights and/or journalism receive specialist training and stipends to help them complete courses and tell their stories more effectively.

In 2021, we reached over 2.7 million people on social media with our content exploring animals, global food systems, and the environment. If you haven’t already, consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Our content—which explores our relationship with animals and its impact on humans, animals, and the planet—has reached 6 continents and 235 countries around the world. We’ve reached readers in Australia, Germany, South Africa, Nigeria, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Best reads of 2021

Why Aren’t More Veterinarians Vegan? by Karen Asp

If the profession continues to turn a blind eye to the suffering of factory-farmed animals, “the public will wonder if they can trust veterinarians anymore.”

🏆 Most read story of 2021

Meat Consumption in the U.S. Is Growing at an Alarming Rate by Caroline Christen

Burgers, bacon, steaks, and other meat products have recently come under scrutiny for their health, sustainability, and social justice issues. But meat consumption in the U.S.
is still growing.

🙌 Crowd favorite

Defending the Indefensible: Pig Industry Veterinarian Speaks Out by Alice Brough

Each time footage is released from pig farms, the industry manages to brush it off as an “isolated incident.” But Dr. Alice Brough says these incidents are standard practice.

📈 Most readers in one day

The Pet Food Industry Is Cutting Ties With Animal Agriculture by Karen Asp

If cats and dogs were a country, they would be the fifth-largest meat consumer in the world, according to PLOS One. Could cultured meat help the pet food industry clean up its act?

✨ Freshest angle

As a Black Man, I Felt Uncomfortable Becoming an Animal Activist by Christopher “Soul” Eubanks

Animal liberation won’t happen until Black, Brown, and Indigenous people have equity in the animal protection movement.

🏅 Best personal essay

Factory Farming Is on the Rise, but Communities Are Fighting Back by Claire Hamlett

In the absence of political leadership, grassroots organizations and NGOs are taking on factory farms themselves, building on growing public support for less intensive animal agriculture.

🤩 Outstanding reporting

Fish Without the Catch: Seafood Alternatives Are on the Rise by Jennifer Mishler

Innovative approaches to alternative seafood—like “fishless filets” and “crabless cakes”—could mitigate many of the environmental challenges presented by the modern fishing industry.

👏 Best trend story

Dairy Farmers Find Themselves at the Center of a Troubled Industry by Grace Hussain

Dairy farmers work long hours in dangerous conditions, while animals are constantly impregnated and then separated from their young.

📌 Best explainer

Subsidized Slaughter: The Role of the State in Animal Agriculture by Matthew Chalmers

You can walk into a McDonald’s anywhere in the U.S. and buy a burger for $1. The plant-based alternative is far more expensive. Have you ever stopped to wonder why?

📚 Best commentary

Veterinary Records Reveal Primate Research Centers’ Long History of Violence by Ingrid L. Taylor

Decades of welfare violations at the National Primate Research Centers have led many in the scientific community to question the purpose of experimenting on animals.

🙊 Best justice reporting

Vegan Doctor: Boycotting COVID-19 Vaccines Won’t End Animal Testing by Jennifer Mishler

Public trust in the vaccination process is soaring. Although for some vegans, deciding whether or not to get the vaccine—which was tested on animals—may feel slightly more complicated.

😷 Best COVID-19 coverage

Crocodile Farming Investigation Exposes Hermés Supplier by Hannah McKay

The Farm Transparency Project recently released footage from four intensive crocodile farms in Australia, exposing one of the darkest corners of the fashion industry.

💥 Best coverage of an undercover investigation

The Other Pandemic: Avian Flu Is Spreading Across the Globe by Claire Hamlett

As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, a parallel scenario is unfolding in the avian world. Outbreaks of avian flu have been detected on poultry farms from the UK to Japan.

💬 Best breaking news reporting

Animals Could Play a Pivotal Role in Climate Talks if We Let Them by Claire Hamlett

Climate change impacts every species on the planet. Why are humans the only ones drafting a response?

💯 Best solutions journalism

Antibiotic Resistance Starts on the Farm, But Marginalized Communities Pay the Price by Devatha Nair

The widespread use of antibiotics on factory farms is exposing everyone who lives within a 3-mile radius to significant health risks. Low-income people of color are often the most affected.

💡 Best analysis

Major Animal Pharma Industry Group Forced to Remove UN Logo from ‘Misleading’ Briefing on Livestock Climate Impact by Sophie Kevany

United Nations distances itself from “distortive” and “biased” briefing that used the UN sustainable food summit logo.

🔍 Best investigation

Air Pollution From Factory Farms Is Killing Us by Jennifer Mishler

A new study has revealed that air pollution from factory farms causes more than 12,000 deaths every year and disproportionately affects low-income areas and communities of color.

🌎 Best climate coverage

The Number One Threat to Marine Animals by Hemi Kim

Human activity is threatening marine animals’ way of life. Instead of asking ourselves how we can fish more sustainably, we should ask what we need to do to ensure their survival.

🌊 Best biodiversity reporting

There Is No Such Thing as Sustainable Beef by Jessica Scott-Reid

The beef industry is trying to clean up its image by promising that it’s doing more to help the climate crisis than hurt it. Science says otherwise.

👀 Best perspective

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Meet the team

Ways to support us

At Sentient Media, we are dedicated to helping others make an impact for animals, humans, and our planet.

Here are a few ways you can help us:

1. Donate

By supporting our work, you’ll ensure that unique stories about animal existence will continue to reach readers and viewers who otherwise may not be reached. Every dollar raised helps us report the truth. Donate today.

2. Volunteer with us

Help us spread our message even further while gaining knowledge and experience as a part of our editorial or social media team. Apply now.

3. Make us your Amazon Smile charity

Holiday gifting? Just shopping? If you use smile.amazon.com and choose Sentient Media as your charity, we will receive a 0.5% donation from each transaction. Click here to set up.

You can also view our Books and Audiobooks Amazon List and each purchase through Amazon Smile will count as a donation.

4. Start a Facebook fundraiser

We are stronger together, so inspire your friends to lend their support, too. Click here for easy setup.

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