The Month in a Minute: July 2023

July’s top stories in agriculture, climate and food in 60 seconds.

image of stopwatch over various images of news stories involving animals, the month in a minute Sentient Media

Analysis Month in a Minute

Words by

In July, the risks posed by animal agriculture to the environment and public health — as well as the positive impact of plant-rich diets — were in the headlines. A new study revealed those who eat a plant-based diet account for 75 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than those who eat meat. Plus, a new report on U.S. animal markets and zoonosis concluded that ‘the risk is staggering,’ with inconsistent regulation. And: Cultivated milk could disrupt dairy, a study shows, with the potential to grab up to 33 percent of dairy’s current market share.


Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has dropped 34 percent in the first six months under President Lula, and thousands of illegally raised cattle were seized from embargoed areas. 

But in the EU conservatives scored a victory as industrial emissions rules will now exclude cattle farms altogether.

An illegal muscle-boosting drug found in some U.S. pork exports this month is known to cause tremors, seizures and worse.

The trial of seaweed-based cow feed in Australia failed to hit methane reduction targets, as researchers look to trying daffodils instead.

The slaughter of 78 pilot whales in the Faroe Islands made headlines, but only because it happened in front of cruise ship passengers.

In Scotland, on the Isle of Skye cows were found chewing on plastic rope from washed-up fishing nets.

In Santa Cruz an otter continues to evade wildlife officials and capture hearts on social media, as ‘Otter 841’ is pursued for the alleged crime of ‘boardjacking’.

The following stories also caught our attention this month:


The USDA has announced a $3.5 million investment to boost access to traditional foods, such as more nutritious white corn, in Indigenous communities.

A new study concludes that an outbreak of African swine fever could last 140 days and kill nearly 500,000 U.S. pigs, but a veterinarian warns these findings are optimistic.

On horse blood farms in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere, mares repeatedly endure pregnancy and abortion for a hormone used to factory farm other animals, reports Kena Shah

A hotly debated analysis warns the Gulf Stream faces collapse by as soon as 2050 if carbon emissions are not reduced, potentially disrupting rains relied upon by billions for food.

A petition urged the USDA to mandate independent verification of ‘climate-friendly’ beef claims.

And the USDA announced 17 centers devoted to urban agriculture sending produce to schools and other facilities in cities including Philadelphia.

Plus: the USDA is granting $33 million to Maryland and Virginia HBCUs for sustainable projects including growing more nutritious produce and reducing plastic usage.

Farmers and farmed animals alike are suffering the effects of the extreme heat hitting the U.S. this summer, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Jennifer Jacquet explained how to stop octopus farming, in the latest episode of the Sentient Media Podcast.

Wisconsin towns are struggling to maintain the local power to regulate large-scale animal farms.

Meanwhile, agricultural interest groups are opposing Wisconsin’s ability to impose pollution regulations on factory farms not yet in operation.

And: the Wisconsin DNR limited a dairy factory farm’s bid to expand its herd but the farm will not be required to monitor manure water pollution.

Researchers concluded that bones of today’s broiler chickens, far different from wild and earlier farmed birds in genetics and size, will be a sign that humans have changed the natural world.

Bloomberg argues that rather than a viral cottage cheese TikTok trend, the declining dairy industry should focus on “climate-smart innovations” and other solutions.

Plus: U.S. chicken consumption continues to rise, with Americans expected to eat 100.9 pounds of chicken meat per capita in 2023, far more than the projected 56.3 pounds of beef.

And a CNN video shows how Poultry by Huminn is using gene editing to prevent the culling of male chicks.

Indoor farming is on the rise, and now vertical crop farms are filling office spaces emptied during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Environmentalists criticized the European Food Safety Authority’s decision that weedkiller glyphosate is safe for use in agriculture.

An RTE investigation has revealed thousands of calves born into Scotland’s dairy industry are exported for slaughter.

Plus: animal advocates decried a land-based UK salmon facility for what they call ‘battery farm’ conditions and questionable sustainability claims.

And animal protection groups urged the UK to block imports of battery cage eggs.

More than half a million calves and lambs have been imported to Israel on ships since the year began, despite strong opposition to live transport.

Russia gained state-control over the local subsidiary of major dairy producer Danone.

New South Wales is lagging behind the rest of Australia in efforts to ban battery-cage eggs by 2036.

Approximately 3,000 Iowa farms are selling meat directly to consumers, 50 percent more than in 2015.

A lightning strike that killed 31 Berlin cattle drew attention to the need for storm safety measures for farmed animals.

India is mulling a ban on two drugs used for pain in farmed cattle after they were found to kill vultures who feed on the animals’ bodies.

Plus, an op-ed argues that U.S. agricultural policy like the Farm Bill has benefitted major corporations and hurt farmers in the $100 billion corn industry that largely feeds livestock.


The USDA is investing $300 million into efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

Seeking carbon credits, New Zealand sheep farmers are shifting to forestry.

A former leading UN scientist finds that changing farming practices to improve soil health could help achieve the 1.5C climate goal.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires could cause respiratory problems and weight loss in Wisconsin farmed animals. 

Vox’s Kenny Torrella wrote that the media “ignores” the link between meat production and climate change, citing a report and panel discussion by Sentient Media and Faunalytics.

New research finds that colleges can reduce emissions by including more menu items that are plant-based by default, reports Grace Hussain.

Plus, Hussain explores the promise and inadequacies of an $8 million NOAA effort to remove abandoned crab traps.

MIT explored paths to a more climate-friendly cultivated meat industry, “a significant way to help clean up our food system.”

Amid drought conditions, British Columbia is turning to the U.S. for livestock feed including hay.

For Salon, philosopher Peter Singer writes that “we are gambling with the future of our planet” to eat beef.

Greenpeace dumped almost one ton of algae to protest factory farming’s pollution of waterways in France.

In a letter in response to young activists, COP28 leadership confirmed that plant-based food options would be served at the climate conference.

A new study finds that increased investment in climate strategies in India, Brazil, China, Pakistan and Sudan is crucial to slashing livestock emissions.

Plus: Björn Ólafsson explored orca intelligence, as the whales’ seemingly coordinated attacks on fishing vessels have continued making headlines.


Three UN agencies warned that mutating avian flu is posing a greater danger to humans and urged improved hygiene on poultry farms.

And avian flu has possibly killed millions of wild birds globally, according to new estimates.

WHO analysis concludes a 14 percent reduction in red and processed meat in “upper-middle income” nations, and a shift towards plant-rich foods, could lead to 65,000 fewer related deaths. 

New CDC studies estimate nearly a half-million Americans may have the tick-related meat allergy, alpha-gal syndrome.

Tyson is dropping its ‘no antibiotics ever’ label, resuming its use of ionophores, drugs not considered medically important to humans.

Meanwhile, legal loopholes could impede the reduction of antibiotic use on UK farms, reports DeSmog.

In Vietnam, two African swine fever vaccines were approved for commercial use.

The New York Times reported that the U.S. has had the most documented human cases of swine flu in the world since 2011 — most of the infections occurring at agricultural fairs.

And in Michigan, pigs tested positive for influenza at a fair.

AP shows how agriculture is among the threats contributing to habitat and biodiversity loss and climate change, as our warming planet fuels pathogens.

Parana, Brazil’s top poultry producing state, has declared an animal health emergency following seven confirmed cases of avian flu in wild birds.

But: scientists are warning that avian flu is possibly already endemic in the Americas and Europe, and with mutations, could spark a pandemic.

Organizations urged the Biden administration to ensure meat from ‘downed pigs,’ which may harbor pathogens, does not enter the food supply.

Italy has launched an investigation into the “adulteration” of fish products with nitrates and other substances linked to histamine poisonings.

And Fukushima producers are turning to vertical farms and other agritech to regain consumer trust in food safety following a 2011 nuclear disaster.

The USDA recalled nearly 5,000 pounds of canned meat products from Brazil, found ineligible for export to the U.S.

A detailed new study examined what caused a patient to reject a transplanted genetically-modified pig heart, including “an anti-pig immune response.”

Law & Justice

The EATS Act was introduced in the House, and could threaten state laws governing animal agriculture — including California’s Proposition 12. Vox explored this effort to “force millions of farm animals back into cages.”

And a new Harvard Law report finds that the EATS Act could have “significant impacts” on animal welfare and food safety.

New Jersey passed a ban on gestation crates and veal crates, becoming one of 15 U.S. states that have similar legislation.

Meanwhile, Prop 12 has taken effect, but gestation crate-produced pork from pigs slaughtered prior to July 1 can be sold until the end of the year.

OSHA is “missing an opportunity” to protect meat plant workers, claims the Government Accountability Office.

A new Missouri law aimed at animal activists makes it a felony to interfere with the transportation of livestock.

A U.S. District judge ordered Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride and other poultry producers to face price-fixing allegations, but dismissed other claims against Perdue.

And companies including Butterball, Foster Farms and Perdue have now been sued for alleged turkey price-fixing.

A Civil Eats investigation finds that Congress will likely ‘preserve a loophole’ preventing OSHA from investigating injuries or deaths or small farms.

Meanwhile, OSHA is investigating the death of a 16 year old who was operating sanitation equipment at a Mar-Jac Poultry plant in Mississippi. 

And: in Brazil, a labor union has filed a lawsuit against top meat producer JBS, alleging exploitative working conditions.

China and other nations remain closed to U.S. poultry exports despite a decline in cases of avian flu.

The Biden administration declined an embargo on Mexican seafood over trafficking of the endangered totoaba fish — a trade that also threatens the endangered vaquita porpoise.

Iowa lawmakers and courts have protected industrial pig farms from nuisance lawsuits and local regulations, reports Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, widespread opposition from residents has delayed the building of a factory farm that would contain 45,000 chickens.

As U.S. child labor rises in meat plants and other sectors, Jacobin reports child workers suffer a high accident rate, facing “shattered spines, amputations, poisonings and disfiguring burns.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor has fined a Minnesota meat plant for child labor violations.

Residents spoke out against whaling in Iceland, a dwindling industry long propped up by tourists and now in limbo after a damning animal welfare report. 

Alabama farmers are the latest allowed to shoot black vultures to prevent livestock depredation, but experts have argued before that vultures likely target stillborn calves or those left to die.

Salon explored scientists’ concerns over the boiling alive of “sensitive, intelligent” crabs.

In food labeling, animal welfare claims may be confusing — and consumers bear the burden of figuring out what they mean, says Purdue researcher Marisa Erasmus.

Plus: for Vox, Marina Bolotnikova explored fraud in animal testing results, including the case of recent findings about federally-funded experiments on piglets.

And: With the Farm Bill, Congress aims to “make burgers cheaper than” healthy salad, writes Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary. 

Future of Food

The New York Times declared “it’s never been a better time for vegan ice cream,” after non-dairy alternatives accounted for $437 million of 2022 sales.

A Michelin-starred California restaurant became the first in the U.S. to offer cultivated meat, cell-based chicken from Upside Foods.

Noted restaurateur José Andrés served cell-based chicken by Good Meat in an event honoring cultivated meat pioneer Willem van Eelen. And Vox sampled cultivated meat cooked by Andrés.

The USDA issued new cultivated meat regulations, including no imports into the U.S. and FSIS inspections “once per shift.”

Plus, the Netherlands approved limited tastings of cultivated meat, as Mosa Meat and Meatable served up their products.

Cells from a rescued pig at Sweet Farm sanctuary will be used by Mission Barns for cultivated meat.

Purdue research found plant-based meat sales rose 56 percent from 2018-2021, and that rising cell-based meat demand will benefit soybean producers.

But a CNN op-ed warns that Tyson, JBS and other top meat producers will be the ones to profit from cultivated protein — while we continue to eat too much conventional meat.

And Eater explored whether cultivated meat can compete with “artificially cheap” factory farm-produced meat, while Reuters pondered what it will take for cell-based meat to scale up.

In Switzerland, Aleph Farms submitted the E.U.’s first application for cultivated meat approval

Jessica Scott-Reid wrote that “protein has become politicized” amid a “culture war” against meat alternatives.

A Faunalytics analysis of studies concluded meat-related terms on labeling (such as “burger” or “steak”) led consumers to choose plant-based foods and better understand their use.

Samples of UK vegan products revealed that one-third actually contained dairy or eggs.

Norwegian seafood consumption has reached its lowest level in two decades, attributed to high prices.

Philosopher Peter Singer envisioned “the coming disruption of animal production,” as developing cultivated meat becomes a “global phenomenon.”

ProVeg, Mercy for Animals and over 160 other groups urged President Biden to prioritize plant-rich meals in federal buildings.

Market research shows vegan sausage’s presence on U.S. menus has risen 98 percent in the last four years. 

And: a new survey found 86 percent of Hong Kong residents want more plant-based food in hospitals, schools and other public venues.

Kraft Heinz and NotCo teamed up to debut plant-based cheese made using AI technology.

Adding to its growing plant-based offerings, IKEA is now serving a vegan hot dog, meant to mimic its conventional meat counterpart.

Nestlé may launch a vegan alternative to foie gras, capitalizing on an increasingly popular product.

“I didn’t want to feel like I had to give up my culture,” says cookbook author RG Enriquez-Diez, who is veganizing traditional Filipino foods.

Plus: This month, Sentient Media reported on industrial fishing’s toll on the Global South, the decline of whale hunting, and 15 plant-based meat companies you should know.

Support Us

Independent Journalism Needs You

Donate » -opens in new tab. Donate via PayPal More options »