The Organisation for the Prevention of Intense Suffering (OPIS) is a think-and-do tank dedicated to a more compassionate world.
Founded in 2016 as a Swiss non-profit association and officially headquartered in Geneva, OPIS is one of the few organisations worldwide that explicitly promote the prevention of intense suffering of all sentient beings, including humans and other animals, as society’s top ethical priority.
We seek to embed these ethics into societal decision-making, highlighting effective solutions to some of the worst forms of suffering, within the context of a global system designed to listen to and meet the needs of all.
Initiatives to relieve pain in humans
OPIS’s first initiatives have focused on better access to effective medications for people in severe pain. We have been advocating internationally for access to morphine for terminal cancer patients in low- and middle-income countries, including a successful collaboration with Burkina Faso that led to the introduction of palliative care and access to morphine as part of the national health program.
We are also a prominent advocate for people with cluster headaches, one of the most excruciating conditions known to medicine, to be able to legally access certain psychedelics that are often dramatically effective.
Human and non-human animals
We consider it self-evident that suffering, an internal phenomenon, matters for its own sake, regardless of who experiences it, and that equal degrees of suffering matter equally. Although we naturally have the strongest feelings for those closest to us and value their lives most, from an objective perspective there is an equivalent need to help any sentient being, human or non-human, who is suffering intensely. The sheer number of animals suffering on this planet, including the huge numbers kept in horrific conditions on factory farms or otherwise treated with cruelty, means that animal suffering is the area with by far the greatest potential for harm reduction, and it is also the area where the most impact can often be achieved for a given amount of resources. But OPIS is not focused only on non-human animals, as we believe that a holistic approach to preventing suffering on our planet requires that we also address our own suffering.
The OPIS logo is based on Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of love and joy, who wore a sun disc with cow horns. Love and joy are emotions that are instrumental in reducing suffering and are key elements of the world we strive for. The horns also reflect the significance of animal suffering.