The Month in a Minute: October 2023

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

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Analysis Month in a Minute

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In the last month, journalists reported on policy and funding wins for plant-based companies in Europe even as the meat lobby maintained its outsized influence on the whole. A large-scale analysis found that plant-based foods have a carbon footprint 1/10 the size of animal-based ingredients while another study found that dogs and cats consume 9 percent of all land animals killed for food. Plus, colostrum is the next health craze and now we’re demanding calves share that with us too.

The Good Pulse company received funding to create cheese from peas, and within the space of a couple weeks, two countries — Denmark and South Korea — released new action plans for plant-based foods. Meanwhile, a new study reveals the ways in which Big Ag uses alpine skiing and other luxuries to create deep ties with Europe’s right-wing politicians, just as the EU’s ban on caged farm animals is shelved despite overwhelming public support.

And: Björk & Rosalía announced a song together to protest Icelandic fish farming.


Touted by celebs, this trendy beauty product is actually made from the skin and bones of cows, pigs and fish.

Local and federal Canadian governments are failing to act after salmon escape a farm, jeopardizing local populations.

Frankenpig? Pigs are being genetically engineered to be more disease resistant.

Here are more stories that caught our attention this month:


A combination of subsidies and political favoritism are driving the cost of dairy milk down, contributing to the oat milk upcharge at your favorite coffee shop.

Livestock giant Tyson is entering the insect protein market.

Scientists use gene-editing tool CRISPR to make chickens more resistant to avian flu.

Despite needing fewer resources than dairy milk, oat milk is often more expensive. Mother Jones explores why.

A new report calls for a just transition away from factory farms.

In the face of persistent drought, ranchers in Western Australia are considering giving away or shooting their cattle.

Cattle graze on almost half of the continental U.S., degrading ecosystems and placing endangered species at risk.

Fish farms are moving ashore in an attempt to mitigate the numerous environmental problems they cause.

Some farmers are transitioning from factory farms to plant-based businesses — with the hope of changing more than the food system.


Development banks are funding the expansion of factory farming and it’s destroying the environment.

According to a new report, one in six species in the UK is at risk of extinction, including a whopping 43 percent of bird species.

Millions of crabs who disappeared from the Bering Sea between 2018 and 2012 likely starved to death, finds a new report published in the journal Science.

Deforestation in Bolivia soares, especially in areas producing the most soy and beef.

Meanwhile, in Brazil deforestation continues to slow despite challenges such as drought.

According to a new study, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest continues pushing the climate reserve closer to its tipping point.

Indigenous communities call upon animal ag giant Cargill to stop deforestation, as it displaces them from their land.

This month former FAO officials alleged that they faced years of sabotage from within the organization for trying to shed light on the massive emissions attributable to livestock.

New research suggests that dogs everywhere going vegan would save more greenhouse gasses than the UK produces.


Bird flu hit South Africa hard leading to the culling of millions of chickens.

After a brief respite, bird flu is back in the United States, resulting in a flock of more than 47,000 turkeys being killed in South Dakota.

In an effort to save the critically endangered California Condor, they are being vaccinated against bird flu.

Researchers identified three genes that are closely linked to vegetarianism.

“There are deep historical and cultural reasons why beef intake is higher for men and boys,” writes the Guardian as they question who makes up the 12 percent of people eating a disproportionate amount of beef and why.

Historically, most bird flu outbreaks have started in China — but that’s starting to change. Recent strains have emerged from both Africa and Europe.

Lumpy skin disease is killing cattle across India and with them the livelihoods of families.

Law & Justice

A new lawsuit accuses the meat industry of colluding to fix prices and maximize profits.

Despite overwhelming constituent support, the EU has placed a livestock cage ban on hold — largely due to pushback from farming lobbies.

This month DeSmog dug deep into the many ties between the European politicians and the ag industry.

The number of lawmakers opposed to The EATS Act continues to grow.

NYU’s Jeff Sebo writes that elephants deserve rights, arguing that past decisions on the issue “show little basis in logic or the law.”

This month the Supreme Court maintained their refusal to weigh in on ag-gag laws when they rejected an appeal from North Carolina on the issue.

Perdue workers in Maryland voted not to unionize, but some are accusing the chicken producer of interfering.

Meanwhile, Tyson employees organized a march outside the mega corporation’s Springdale, AK offices demanding an end to child exploitation.

Also this month, investigators uncovered more than twenty children working at an Ohio poultry plant.

On fishing boats, immigrant laborers are treated like children or physically assaulted — depending on the officers’ moods.

Future of Food

Companies are turning to duckweed as the plant-based protein of the future.

Cultivated meat could experience significant price drops by 2030 if current trends continue — despite some hesitancy from consumers and remaining regulatory hurdles.

Even in the beef capital of the U.S., Texas, veggie burgers are taking hold and ranches are going vegan.

New research challenges the long-held assumption that implementing a meat tax would disproportionately burden lower-income families.

A movement against farmed salmon is growing among British chefs, kicking them many menus.

Across demographics, consumers want more sustainable products, and they’re willing to pay the price.

Experts believe that the UK could be faced with civil unrest in the face of food shortages in coming decades.

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