The Month in a Minute: January 2024
Month in a Minute•3 min read
June’s top stories in agriculture, climate and food in 60 seconds
Words by Sentient Media
June brought big news for the future of protein, as the USDA approved the sale of cultivated products by Upside Foods and Good Meat — marking what could soon be the nation’s first cell-based meats to hit the marketplace. The Canadian Parliament passed a groundbreaking bill to end toxicity tests on animals. In Brazil, over 800 million Amazon trees have been felled in just six years to meet the world’s rising demand for beef. And: in the UK, Lidl and other grocery chains are sourcing chickens fed antibiotics medically critical to humans.
AI food tech company Climax Foods announces the major discovery of a plant-based casein replacement.
A new study on diversity of coral reef sharks finds that overfishing is driving resident shark species toward extinction.
Dairy producers in the Midwest are dumping milk amid oversupply and plummeting milk prices.
And Iceland has halted fin whale hunting for this summer, possibly signaling the end of the industry.
The following stories also caught our attention this month:
The USDA launched a project to substantiate animal welfare labeling claims including humanely-raised and raised without antibiotics.
A Sentient Media FOIA request reveals the Kanaloa Octopus Farm may have falsely reported how it obtained octopuses and for what purpose.
Forbes toured “the first chicken slaughterhouse built in America in years,” a $1 billion plant making Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chickens.
Tyson continues to see reduced consumer demand and high cattle costs, anticipates firing 262 employees who will not relocate.
As plant-based meat producers cut costs, they may risk buying coconut oil and cacao produced with forced or child labor, reports Vox.
A new study finds Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a 25 percent drop in production of poultry or other meat in some nations.
A new report reveals development banks gave $200 million to Ecuador’s largest meat producer over the past two decades.
Walmart is building a $275 million plant to produce its own ‘case-ready meat.’
A new study finds the average U.S. meat plant lasts just 9.7 years, with large-scale operations better able to survive.
Cargill is increasing its focus on plant-based meat, projecting the demand for protein will rise by 70 percent over the next 30 years.
The USDA gave $13 million in grants to Maryland researchers trying to breed larger, ‘meatier’ chickens, among others.
In a New York Times op-ed, Nicholas Kristof explored the state of the animal rights movement.
Do Good Foods, maker of ‘sustainable meat,’ filed for bankruptcy.
The agricultural robotics market is projected to grow by over 25 percent from 2023 to 2033.
Backlash ensued when a seal was shot in an attempt to prevent predation on farmed salmon.
GoFarm Hawaii was launched to support sustainable and Indigenous agriculture in the state importing up to 90 percent of its food.
Sentient Media and Faunalytics found that just 7 percent of climate news mentions animal agriculture — a leading contributor to emissions.
A new report finds the USDA funded harmful CAFO waste management practices with $100 million in 2022.
An investigation revealed over 800 million Amazon trees have been cut down for beef production in only six years.
Plus: companies spent $100 million on forest-related carbon offsets in 2022, but environmentalists warn these projects are not a solution.
The Irish government is considering culling 200,000 cows in an attempt to meet climate goals.
Canadian researchers are trying to breed “climate-resilient” cattle less vulnerable to extreme heat.
And: new research adds to an ever-growing body of evidence showing that food system emissions must be reduced if we are to meet climate goals.
Attorneys warn proposed North Carolina legislation could violate federal law by restricting the regulation of water pollution from CAFOs.
Food Navigator explored the links between deforestation and soy, 80 percent of which goes to livestock feed.
Philosopher Peter Singer told Slate, “If we only have 20 years to stop doing disastrous things to the climate, then cutting out methane is the easiest thing to do,” by eliminating consumption of cow and sheep products.
Dry pet food production accounts for up to 2.9 percent of agricultural emissions, but research on pet food’s impacts is lacking, reports The Conversation.
A Fortune commentary argued that to protect the oceans, land-based food companies must focus on “doing good instead of simply doing no harm.”
Peru’s exports of shark fins to Asia are threatening blue, mako and hammerhead sharks in its own and Ecuador’s waters.
The WHO urged action to combat resistance to antibiotics — widely used in animal agriculture — as 5.2 million deaths in the western Pacific are expected by 2030.
The CDC launched an investigation into a fatal case of swine flu in Brazil, in which the patient was not known to have been in direct contact with pigs.
And: supplementing soil with pig manure increased bacteria resistant to antibiotics including tetracycline, say researchers.
Researchers found world governments must do more to combat antimicrobial resistance, including policies impacting agriculture and veterinary medicine.
The National Pork Producers Council asked for $75 million in Farm Bill funding to help prevent disease and ‘eradicate’ feral swine.
Meanwhile, the USDA approved cattle vaccines against coronavirus, influenza D and other diseases.
Files obtained by the Guardian reveal the maker of paraquat, a weedkiller widely used in agriculture, has long tried to change research linking it to Parkinson’s disease.
A USDA study concluded that dairy products were labeled “natural” most frequently, and “negative consequences” may arise from consumers believing such claims are “well-defined.”
Plus: the USDA released new salmonella guidelines and a history of outbreaks for the pork industry.
Raw milk is a growing trend on TikTok, despite its potential health risks including E coli and other bacteria.
Hormel attributed declining turkey meat sales to bird flu.
Avian flu has led to the deaths of more than 500,000 farmed birds in Latin America.
Meanwhile, Ireland lifted biosecurity measures intended to protect its poultry industry.
Nevada began requiring veterinary certification for livestock imports from states with cases of vesicular stomatitis virus.
Researchers found almond milk yogurt to be more nutrient-dense than yogurt made from dairy and other plant milks.
An animal protection group petitioned the USDA for more humane poultry culling methods.
The 2023 Farm Bill is projected to cost $700 billion. Marlena Williams reported on how it may impact our U.S. food system.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of cattle grazing in Colville National Forest, putting wolves at risk of conflict.
A proposed bill would force large-scale companies in California to report their — and their supplier’s — emissions.
Plus: a proposed New Jersey ban on gestation crates and veal crates reached the governor’s desk for signing.
Mediation was ordered for a lawsuit over Oklahoma water pollution by poultry producers including Tyson Foods and Cargill.
Missouri is considering making interfering with livestock transportation a felony offense.
A former USDA inspector was sentenced to 57 months in prison and fined $40,000 for taking bribes from brokers importing cattle from Mexico.
An appeals court ordered U.S. agencies to reconsider how many of Wyoming’s female grizzly bears can be targeted over livestock concerns.
Citing food safety, the North American Meat Institute and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association opposed the PRIME ACT, which would allow sales of uninspected meat by custom facilities.
A history of inadequate enforcement of California’s cage-free egg laws raises concerns for Prop 12, reports Vox.
Direct Action Everywhere removed 18 chickens from a Perdue farm and alleged animal welfare violations and pathogens jeopardizing public health.
A new lawsuit alleges a New York dairy farm has been discharging pollutants into the St. Lawrence River for over five years.
Beyond Meat investors filed a class action suit alleging misleading statements artificially raised stock prices.
World’s largest meat company JBS is building a cultivated protein plant in Spain that will produce over 1,000 tons per year.
Unilever-owned The Vegetarian Butcher says its new fat technology produces crispier and tastier vegan bacon.
Taco Bell tested its first fully-vegan menu item, a meat- and dairy-free version of the popular Crunchwrap.
Plus: Tyson Foods launched its first plant-based meat sold under its own name.
With fermentation, startups are using an old practice to ‘revolutionize’ agriculture, reports Politico.
The Washington Post explored the potential of rubisco, “arguably the most abundant protein on the planet,” for plant-based meat.
The Guardian sampled cultivated fish and explored its potential as “the future of seafood.”
Mycelium bacon startup MyForest Foods raised $15 million in funding and named a new CEO.
Doubts that startups can scale production and reduce energy usage have limited the availability of cultivated meat to Singapore, reports BBC.
Meanwhile, Eat Just CEO Josh Tetrick told BBC that cultivated meat producers may never be able to scale enough, but “we think it’s a bet worth taking.”
Yo Egg CEO Eran Groner stopped designing chicken factory farms over sustainability concerns, and is now working to create an animal-free egg industry.
For Fast Company, Brian Kateman explored cultivated meat’s potential to end inhumane foie gras production.
U.S. meat consumption has been steadily declining since mid-2022, possibly due to price hikes.
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