The Month in a Minute: September 2023

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

September month in a minute image, collection of news story images with timer

Analysis Month in a Minute

Words by

In the last month, journalists reported on disease outbreaks on factory farms and debunked Elon Musk’s claims that no monkeys were killed by Neuralink scientists. In Italy the fear of African swine fever resulted in more than 30,000 pigs culled while avian flu was documented for the first time in the Galapagos. Just as disease is ravaging animal populations, climate change is making fish shrink in size. A new report revealed that mainstream media outlets’ recipe sections are dominated by meat dishes as an anti-yogurt ad is banned for being too gruesome. While Elon Musk’s claims that his Neuralink transplants didn’t kill any monkeys are proven false, Apple eliminates leather from their product line. 

Meanwhile, political opposition to the EATS Act continues to grow.  


Under Biden, the Labor Department inspected fewer farms for rights abuses than it did under Trump. 

Meanwhile, a child has their arm mangled at a meat processing plant leading to investigations of Tyson and Perdue.  

In response to concerns over increasing food costs, the EU debates dropping animal welfare protections

In the UK, social media platforms are facing steep fines for content showing “unnecessary suffering to an animal.” 

Finally: three crocodiles help a dog to safety in a move hailed by researchers as evidence for “emotional empathy.”

Here are more stories that caught our attention this month:


The ongoing drought in Iowa — the nation’s largest exporter of soybeans, pork and feed — is now the worst in a decade. 

Despite conservation efforts, human-animal conflict is growing across the South Umred forest range of India as farmers seek to stop tigers from preying upon livestock. 

As once-vibrant fisheries become desolate, large-scale fishers are turning toward new waters and bringing their illegal gear with them. Local fishermen are fighting back, petitioning the government to uphold the law. 

The BBC dives into the issue of ‘Frankenchickens’ on British plates for BBC. Whereas farmers argue that their chickens are raised with high welfare in accordance with all laws, advocates believe that footage of farms demonstrates just how much the birds are suffering

While most chickens are slaughtered at about 6.5 weeks old, Guinness World Records has crowned a new world’s oldest chicken: Peanut, a 21 year-old hen living in Michigan

In a controversial move, a facility in Mazarrón, Spain will be breeding Atlantic bluefin tuna in tanks completely on land for the first time.

The Guardian reports on Japanese-American farmers and the massive role they’ve played in feeding the country. Now, due to the legacy of racist policies, their numbers are dwindling. 

Our World in Data launches a new resource to help people conceptualize the suffering caused by animal agriculture. 


Just 12 percent of people are responsible for half of U.S. beef consumption, according to new research, making them key to mitigating the climate impacts of animal agriculture. 

Invasive species — such as the grass that caused the recent fires in Hawai’i — cost the world $423 billion every year, according to a new report from the United Nations. 

Irish dairy farmers consider culling part of their herds, as EU moves forward with tougher emissions caps. 

Scientists are trying to better understand the bird residents of crop fields by listening to them. 

New research compared the environmental impacts of dairy milk to a plant-based alternative and found that the alternative was all around better, generating 96 percent fewer emissions than cow’s milk. 

Tyson’s new “climate-friendly” beef may sound nice, but there’s reason to be skeptical about what the label actually means. 

A real solution to climate change: eating less meat and more replacements made from plants. A study released this month found that swapping out half our meat consumption with plant-based alternatives would stop ecological destruction caused by farming

Instead of pouring funding into climate smart solutions and combating climate change, banks are providing trillions in funding to some of the worst environmental offenders in the Global South, including intensive animal agriculture. 

Rising temperatures are causing an increasing number of farmers to work nights in their fields. 


France is trying to stop plant-based companies from using words like “steak,” “ham” and “filet” on their packaging, following in the footsteps of several U.S. states.

As one strain of avian flu, H3N8, mutates to more easily spread among humans, scientists raise alarms.  

Meanwhile, another strain, H5N1, is circulating among cats. Authorities believe the source is their food

Researchers recently discovered that COVID strains can spread easily between humans and deer. In deer populations, the disease mutates significantly more quickly. 

For the first time, scientists have grown kidneys that that contain up to 65 percent human cells inside pig embryos. 

And that’s not the only way pigs are used for transplants: recently a pig’s kidney was transplanted into a human patient. 

Meat from wild animals is being illegally imported to Belgium, increasing the risk of zoonotic infection

A new investigation revealed just how prevalent sea lice and jellyfish are on salmon farms in Scotland. 

Challenging the long-held belief that cats are obligate carnivores, new research suggests that a vegan diet could provide some key health benefits to your feline friend, as long as animals get the same key nutrition. 

Law & Justice

Brazil is taking a stand against illegal cattle ranching in the Amazon and this month launched their biggest operation to date with the goal of returning the Ituna-Itatá Indigenous Territory of the forest to state control. 

Perhaps nowhere are the deep ties between agriculture and government more apparent than in Nebraska where Governor Jim Pellon helped found a pork production giant. 

More than 200 Congressional members have made public their opposition to the controversial EATS Act. 

In the wake of the government’s approval of cell-cultivated meat, some states are passing labeling laws for the new products. A lawsuit alleges that the rules place onerous and unclear expectations on the alternative protein industry. 

This month the USDA announced new standards by which to determine whether wolves are killing livestock. The new guidelines are stricter than previous editions. 

In a new lawsuit against the EPA, plaintiffs are alleging that waste from factory farms is causing a national water crisis and the agency needs to do something about it. 

As the most recent court case involving DxE activists continues, The Atlantic takes a deep dive into how the organization got its start and exactly what happens during their “open rescue” operations

Despite growing controversy, lobsters continue to be boiled alive, a practice UK animal rights groups say is illegal. 

Future of Food

In response to the impending climate crisis, more than 650 academics across Great Britain have called on universities to adopt fully plant-based menus

Innovation continues on the plant-based foods front. A new milk alternative made from sugar cane, which scientists say contains proteins very similar to cow’s milk, could soon be coming to grocery stores near you. 

Tyson has shuttered six of their processing plants in response to record losses, but was the virtual chicken monopoly the force behind their own demise

For over a year, Eric Robinson, professor at the University of Liverpool, carried out an experiment to better understand how his vegan diet was affecting him. What he found was that he was more popular with his friends when he ate omnivorously, but he was also more tempted by junk food. 

In a win for cultivated meat companies, two review boards determined their products can be halal and kosher

This month REVO Foods became the first to 3D print a salmon filet from mycoprotein.

Meanwhile, on the cultivated chicken front — is UPSIDE foods promising more than they can provide? Some former employees think so. 

Marina Bolotnikova ponders the future, wondering what happens to humans if AI takes over, will they treat us like we treat animals

Meat giant JBS is working on constructing a $22 million innovation center for cultivated meat in Brazil. 

Support Us

Independent Journalism Needs You

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