Monthly Archives: August 2014

Meat Allergy on the Wing

Meat Allergy on the Wing; Nature Creating Vegetarians out of Thin Air

A Novel Way to Promote Vegetarianism

Reprinted in part with permission from the article ‘Tick, Tick; Hamburger Time is Almost Over’ originally published at EarthSays

The Animal Freedom Front and the International Green Eating Alliance have teamed up in a plan to save more livestock from the horrors of factory farm enslavement and slaughter, through a program designed to create more vegetarians.

The idea is the brainchild of Ernest V. Egan, co-founder of AFF, who while visiting his daughter, a biologist living in Fort Lauderdale, had what he calls an epiphany. Egan says that during a conversation over dinner with his daughter’s boyfriend, Bob, he learned that Bob had recently developed a severe allergy to red meat. Bob claims that since his first reaction last October, he now develops symptoms of allergy (itchy-red eyes, sinus congestion, body-aches, dizziness and nausea) within hours of eating even a bite of beef or pork. Bob reported that it took some time, and a blood test to reveal that the cause of the allergy was connected to the bite of a tic.

Egan immediately recalled a story sent to him by a colleague working for the GEA back in 2013. The story talked about the so-called ‘Lone Star tick’ (alpha gal tic), which upon biting its host, injects a sugar known as alpha-gal.

Because the injection of this sugar comes from a parasitic predator and comes along with additional foreign chemicals, the host’s immune system creates antibodies to this carbohydrate (sugar); the very same carbohydrate is found in the meat and milk of all mammals, except, interestingly, apes (including humans). After being bitten by the Lone Star tick, susceptible people (now with Alpha-Gal antibodies circulating in the body) will react to the Alpha-Gal in meat and milk as if it is a threat to the host, and produce inflammatory histamines to fight off the invader; this is what causes the uncomfortable symptoms. Symptoms pass and remain suppressed until the offending food is eaten again.

In a partnership between AFF and GEA the upcoming campaign will be crowdsourced, and will, with the help of Egan’s daughter and her connections in developmental biology, breed hundreds-of-millions of Alpha Gal ticks and release them across some parts of the U.S. and the U.K. in an effort to create more vegetarians, and thus, as Egan says, “take a load off the environment, reduce pain and suffering to livestock animals, save more food to directly feed the human population, and as a bonus create healthier people”. There are at this point no legal restrictions to breeding ticks, and with the exception of two grey-area states, no legal barriers to releasing [some] in the wild.

Mr. Egan is passionate about reducing the suffering, the ecological and economic damage directly caused by growing animals for food and the many ‘ills’ and ‘expenses’ directly and indirectly hurting people who rely on diets which include animal products, and he says that he has “long been disappointed at the slow adoption of a better way, even in an age of clear scientific evidence and well-funded education campaigns” [PETA, and others].

Egan says that the so-called ‘meat allergy’ causes a problem only is some people and only after consuming the meat or milk of mammals; the Alpha-gal (Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose) allergen is present only in mammals, not in poultry or fish. Several months after the initial tick releases, the dedicated activists at GEA, headquartered in Devonshire England, he says, “will unleash a broad new public education campaign, which their organization will co-op along with us at AFF in the U.S., exposing the many horrors of the chicken industry; the ‘foul expose’ campaign will be our ‘more vegetarians 2.0’ movement.”

The above report is a satirically presented idea of an unconventional way, building on a natural biochemical reaction, to help people kick a deadly addiction which is detrimental to the Planet and her people in many ways. This plan should not be put into action of course, aside from any human rights infringement issues, because the tick-initiated allergic reactions can be so severe, in some cases, as to threaten the life of the reactive person.

This reporter feels quite certain however, that Ernest V. Egan is pleased that in fact, the range of the ‘vegetarian-maker tic’ seems to be spreading consistently, with reports of the allergy now coming from at least one third of the states and some dozen or more countries.

People with open eyes and hearts know that we need to be concentrating on; ending hunger, repairing and protecting our environment, supporting economically sound [food] production practices and moving away from terrorism in all forms; and we know that eating animals has no place within the framework of these critically important goals… It follows then, that more vegetarians and fewer people pretending to be carnivores represents a much needed move in the right direction.
On these and other important issues, all of which are exacerbated by the commodity animals industries; the clock is Tick, Tick, Ticking.
The tick breeding program is fictitious (as far as I know), but the Alpha-Gal tick / meat allergy is very real indeed; it is definitely spreading and has potential to become quite significant.

Background on the story:

Unique to this particular allergy is that the reactions are delayed. Symptoms don’t appear until several hours after exposure, which can make the condition difficult to diagnose. There are generally no symptoms until after 3 to 4 hours. It is not known why only some people are symptomatic.

Tick bites cause allergic reactions to mammalian meat; tick saliva triggers the human immune system to produce antibodies to a carbohydrate called alpha-gal, which is found in the meat (also in milk, whey and gelatin).

An allergic reaction occurs when the body produces antibodies designed to defend against harmful microbes or toxins, but against an otherwise benign substance, the allergen. When antibodies bind to the allergen, certain cells release histamine, which in turn causes symptoms such as swelling, hives and breathing problems.

The meat allergy, known as alpha-gal for a sugar/carbohydrate found in beef, lamb, and pork (the tissue and milk of cows, steers, lambs and pigs and other mammals), produces a hive-like rash, and in some people, a dangerous anaphylactic reaction, often manifesting roughly four hours after consuming the meat. It’s caused by antibodies to the alpha-gal sugar that are produced in humans after they are bitten by common Lone Star ticks. There have not as yet been any official government warnings issued regarding this allergy as they are still ‘reportedly’, relatively rare, and the meat industry is doing everything it can to keep the whole thing hushed. The tick-Alpha-Gal-allergy connection was first reported in 2007 – 2008.

This unusual condition appears to be increasing.

Galactose-alpha-1,3,-galactose (alpha-gal) is a carbohydrate compound readily synthesized in the mammalian body by the glycosylation enzyme alpha-1,3-galactosyltransferase. The gene responsible for producing this enzyme is inactivated in humans, apes and Old World primates. Alpha-Gal is not found in the human body and, as such, is seen as ‘foreign’ by the immune system. Although the mechanism is currently unknown, it has been suggested that ticks that previously fed on other mammals may introduce alpha-gal to the human body when people are bitten by a tick. As alpha-gal is not recognized, the human body mounts an immune response which includes the production of human IgE antibody specific for alpha-gal. The reaction may not be instantaneous and there may be no overt signs of allergy for as long as several months after the tick bite. Then symptoms may be mild to severe and life threatening, including angioedema (swelling), urticarial (hives) and anaphylaxis, and occur a few hours after eating meat which contains the oligosaccharide alpha-gal.

A typical allergic reaction to alpha gal has a delayed-onset, occurring 4–8 hours after the consumption of mammalian meat products, instead of the typical rapid onset with most food allergies. After the delayed onset, the allergic response is typical of most food allergies, and especially an IgE mediated allergy, including severe whole-body itching, hives, angioedema, gastrointestinal upset, and possible anaphylaxis. These symptoms are caused by an inappropriate flood of IgE antibodies attacking the allergen, in this case the alpha-gal. In 70% of cases the reaction is accompanied by respiratory distress and as such is particularly harmful to those with asthma.
Alpha-gal allergies are the first food allergies to bring the possibility of delayed anaphylaxis. It is also the first food-related allergy to be associated with a carbohydrate, rather than a protein.

Since the initial identification of the relationship between tick bites, alpha-gal and meat allergy, the scale of the problem has become increasingly apparent in the US (mostly in the south/southeast, now moving up the east coast, into the Midwest and with some reports in the west) and Australia, Spain and Sweden. There are likely over ten thousand cases in the southeast U.S.
In some cases the antibody response could drop to a level where people may be able to eat mammal meat again but, in many cases, people have to avoid eating mammal meat indefinitely.

In addition to flesh and milk, enough of the Alpha-Gal to cause reactions can come from, whey, gelatin, glandular supplements and medicines; also, some prescription drugs; supplements and processed foods may contain enough Alpha-Gal (as whey, gelatin and other mammal sourced ingredients are used freely in the products) to make trouble in sensitive individuals.
With the spreading of the Lone Star Tick and the ever decreasing effectiveness of humans’ immune systems, I have an elevated level of concern for young children eating meat.
The only treatment available is avoidance of mammalian sourced products.

Good things come in small packages…
As the range of the Veg-Maker tick advances (climate change will likely support the advance) and many more cases of intractable ‘meat allergy’ develop, secondary ramifications will show up.

Yes, I know we’ve been a little sloppy with terminology; obviously substituting chicken breast for brisket, or perch for pork does not a vegetarian make, but (some might say) it’s a start.


There will be higher incidences of arsenic poisoning (the chicken industry is now famous for feeding the birds arsenic) and more cases of salmonella and campylobacter infection, since meat addicts will rely more on chicken, and chicken is heavily loaded with these bugs (other dangerous bugs as well, but almost every chicken and chicken product is contaminated with these two bugs). And there will be more cases of mercury poisoning as more fish will be eaten, and fish generally donates to the fish-eater, a poop-load of neurotoxic methyl-mercury. Of course it varies from species to species and different harvest locations, but right now the average fish eaten by humans offers so much mercury in a serving that one serving per month is considered the limit by some authorities… That’s today, and the saturation is steadily increasing and will continue to, until the fish are gone. Fish also accumulate other very toxic heavy metals and radioactive elements. The radiological contamination will continue to rise, probably quite dramatically until the fish are gone.

Back to chx for one more goody; increasingly, poultry is also proving an effective transmission medium for the much feared ‘C Diff’ (C. difficile / Clostridium difficile)’ the intestinal bug (now highly antibiotic-resistant), which sentences thousands of Americans to prolonged bed-confinement, protracted chronic pain, diarrhea and toxic and expensive treatments… By the way, the best known treatment for a meat sourced ‘C Diff’ infection is a fecal implant (injections / implants of someone else’s poop).

Alpha-Gals, won’t you come out tonight?
Come out tonight, Come out tonight?
Alpha-Gals, won’t you come out tonight,
And bite by the light of the moon…