The industrial production of meat has come in for increasing scrutiny in recent years. It’s an issue that’s in the spotlight again this week as the US Supreme Court considers a case that involves welfare standards for farm animals. The case has been brought by the pork industry which is challenging new conditions introduced in California for raising hogs, veal calves and egg-laying chickens, whose meat or eggs are sold in California. As David Favre explains, the legal arguments are complex and span not just the welfare of animals but also rules governing trade between states.

The case before the court revolves around the size of gestational crates or stalls that sows are kept in. It’s common for the crates to be so small that the female pigs are unable to move around. These small stalls are banned in Europe as well nine other states in the US.

Relatively speaking, humans are well equipped to deal with extreme temperatures. New research suggests that insects may not be so lucky. Hester Weaving explains how she found that, facing rising temperatures, many insects will need to migrate to cooler locations in order to survive. And this could be bad news for humans. Insects attack crops and transmit disease.

Caroline Southey

Founding Editor

Supreme Court grapples with animal welfare in a challenge to a California law requiring pork to be humanely raised

David Favre, Michigan State University

Pork producers are challenging a California law that animal welfare advocates call the most important measure for farm animal protection in decades.

Insects will struggle to keep pace with global temperature rise – which could be bad news for humans

Hester Weaving, University of Bristol

Climate change is exposing animals to temperatures outside of their normal limits – a new study has found that insects have a particularly weak ability to adjust.

Almost 200 nations are set to tackle climate change at COP27 in Egypt. Is this just a talkfest, or does the meeting actually matter?

Matt McDonald, The University of Queensland

Remember hearing about COP26 in Glasgow last year? There’s a lot at stake in this year’s climate summit, so here’s your essential guide to prepare.

Some coronaviruses kill, while others cause a common cold. We are getting closer to knowing why

Dewald Schoeman, University of the Western Cape; Burtram C. Fielding, University of the Western Cape; Ruben Cloete, University of the Western Cape

The enigmatic envelope protein seems to hold the key to understanding why some human coronaviruses cause more severe disease than others.