Farmed Animal Opportunity Index

The Farmed Animal Opportunity Index (FAOI) by Mercy For Animals ranks 60 countries on their potential for effective interventions using 19 relevant socioeconomic indicators. The FAOI is an interactive tool designed to aid animal protection organizations and donors in making data-based decisions on how to best allocate their resources in a global context, with the overarching goal of maximizing impact for farmed animals.

Note: The dashboard may take up to 30 seconds to load.


The FAOI is intended to be users’ first step in a multistage evaluation for determining which countries to target with their interventions. The FAOI aggregates publicly available, reliable datasets to provide an important initial glance at a given country’s scope of work on behalf of farmed animals; however, the information it presents is still limited to the 19 factors considered, and several other aspects ought to be considered posteriorly. Therefore, a country’s performance on the index must be combined with additional qualitative analysis to inform a user’s ultimate decision.

Mercy For Animals’ international expansion plan considers four dimensions: (1) scale of the problem, (2) tractability, (3) neglectedness by the movement, and (4) global influence.

These dimensions reflect the three pillars of effective altruism: scale, tractability, and neglectedness. Mercy For Animals adds global influence to this list because we believe that institutional and attitudinal change in highly influential countries is likely to promote a positive domino effect around the globe and therefore increase a country’s potential for effective interventions. The FAOI incorporates scale, tractability, and global influence but not neglectedness due to a lack of quantifiable indicators (more on this in the methodology). Please click on the button below for additional considerations.


Users of the FAOI may alter the relative weights of the dimensions according to their individual or organizational assessments. The only requirement is that the weights add up to 1 (or 100 percent).

The default weights are based on extensive discussion between Mercy For Animals decision-makers and experts, as well as a distribution suggested by a statistical model (exploratory factor analysis). The weights are as follows:


Scale of the problem






Neglectedness by our movement



Global influence


Note: Future versions of the FAOI may assign a non-zero weight to neglectedness if suitable data is available.


The FAOI adopts a methodology in line with OECD’s framework for composite indicators. Mercy For Animals’ research department collected secondary data and grouped variables into dimensions on the basis of expert judgment. Groupings were reinforced by the results of an exploratory factor analysis. According to this factor analysis, the statistically determined weights of the index are 0.16 (16 percent) for scale, 0.69 (69 percent) for tractability, and 0.15 (15 percent) for global influence. These served as reference points for determining Mercy For Animals’ ad hoc weights listed in the previous div.

Missing data were imputed using multiple techniques where appropriate. Next, data were transformed to fit to a 0–100 scale and then aggregated using equal weights to determine dimensional scores. Finally, dimensional scores were geometrically aggregated using the ad hoc weights listed in the previous div to create an overall index score. Countries are ranked on the basis of this score.

For a detailed version of the methodology, please click the button below.


If you have questions regarding the index, please contact our research department at [email protected].