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PETA's Joke About Meat Allergy Ticks Not Funny in Riverhead

Animal rights group in a April Fool's blog post jokes about a plan to release Lone Star ticks that give people meat allergies.

Just in time for tick season, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced in its official blog Monday that the animal rights' organization was set to release meat-allergy inducing ticks in the northeastern United States.

But wait -- it was an April Fool's joke. The post, according to PETA, was merely a prank. But some in Riverhead might not find the antics amusing.

"That's sick. PETA has always been weird but this is way out there, these tick-borne diseases are no joking matter. Trust me, I have Lyme's. It can be a nightmare," wrote Billy Eagle on North Fork Patch's Facebook page.

According to a post on PETA's website, the Lone Star tick causes people to develop an allergy to meat. A person bitten would develop a rash and become uncomfortable after eating meat, the blog said.

PETA then asked how readers would feel about the organization releasing Lone Star ticks in parks in the northeast. The goal would be to help people go vegan or vegetarian, the post read.

"Really, the only pushback we anticipate will be from fast-food companies," PETA's Don Beleav, a biologist, said on the site. "Maybe McDonald's will start handing out free flea and tick collars with its value meals."

PETA also said it was willing to offer the bugs by mail.

But some Riverhead residents might not be laughing. In recent years, the population of Lone Star ticks has dramatically therefore expanding the threat of tick-borne diseases.

Recently, Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski paid a visit to the Riverhead Town board to discuss ways to thin the deer herd and mitigate the spread of tick-borne diseases.

Southold Town has taken a proactive stance on attempting to mitigate the threat of tick-borne diseases by discussing a town tick task force.

In October, Southold Town hosted a forum featuring the Suffolk County Tick Eradication Task Force, where speakers described their symptoms of Lyme disease.

Symptoms included aches and pains, loss of communication skills, seizures -- and misdiagnosis.

Organized by then-Suffolk County Legis. Ed Romaine, the task force members were there to hear the painful stories and send a strong message — Southold Town and the county could not be silent about the seriousness of tick-borne illness anymore.

“This was the worst year for ticks in 20 years,” said Linda Weir of Peconic, who said she’s been living with Lyme disease since 1979 and went undiagnosed until 2004. “Because I’ve gone on with this for so long, I have kidney and liver problems now. My granddaughter has been bit and was misdiagnosed with Tourette syndrome."

The town continued recently to discuss ways to thin the deer herd and tackle tick-borne illnesses.

Speaking out on the April Fool's caper, PETA said the aim was to raise awareness about embracing a vegetarian lifestyle.

"PETA's Lone Star tick breeding program is as fictitious as a happy elephant in the circus," PETA spokeswoman Nicole Dao told Patch. "Our April Fool's joke is a fun way to draw attention to a serious issue: that with all the delicious meat-free options out there today, you don't have to be left out in the woods—you can go vegetarian."

She added, "In fact, being bitten by the Lone Star tick might be the best thing that happens to some people: If they go vegetarian, they will have lower risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity—some of our nation's biggest killers. And they will save more than 100 animals a year from factory farms and slaughterhouses."

Dao said there was no truth at all to the post. "While Lone Star ticks are real, PETA has not intervened in their natural breeding patterns," she said. "We will simply let them go on doing their beautiful thing."

Do you think PETA's April Fool's joke was funny -- or no laughing matter? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

BeNice April 03, 2013 at 12:11 PM
I think it was funny...it was obvious after reading a sentence or two that it was a joke. People need to laugh more.
Eve April 03, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Obviously you don't have lyme disease or it wouldn't be funny to you! It was just plain ignorant! We don't have tick bites and this horrible disease due to eating meat. Maybe your right about one thing, people need to laugh more. Maybe they will when something is funny and not inappropriate and acting so lighthearted about a serious disease that many of us are suffering from. Would anyone find it funny if we threatened to put more asbestos into the world to cause more cancer. Sick sense of humor you have!
David P. April 03, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Hmm...I'm not getting how this can be compared to threatening to put asbestos out there to cause cancer, which is clearly a bad thing all the way around, compared to a joke about releasing ticks to effectively lead people to healthier lifestyles. Nor do I see why Even made a "point" of noting that the tick bites aren't caused by eating meat. Who said that they are? (PETA didn't.)
Dennis April 04, 2013 at 02:15 PM
http://www.petakillsanimals.com/ http://www.petakillsanimals.com/proof/ ...and THAT'S no "joke." PETA is a disgusting organization. Just as a pedophile goes and seeks out careers that will give him or her access to children and the moral cover to justify their actions, people who are very sick in the head and like to hurt or kill animals end up as LEADERSHIP in PETA. The world does not work the way most people imagine it to.
luis garcia April 04, 2013 at 03:07 PM
ticks here not bad like home in Guatamala. Food stamps get me best meat. My dogs chase deer
luis garcia April 04, 2013 at 03:07 PM
good pit bulls iz how.

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