This week’s installment of Independent Thoughts might be better named Random Thoughts, namely some unrelated news items gleaned from the always interesting wide world of meat:

  • Walmart has taken a minority stake in Sustainable Beef, a rancher- and producer-owned company selling Angus beef at retail. The deal includes opening a new Sustainable Beef processing center in North Platte, Neb., with groundbreaking planned for next month. The plant will support 800 jobs in the community. Walmart will get a majority of the beef produced at the new facility, with an expected opening in late 2024.
  • If you like to eat meat, you better double-up on that DEET. One bite from the lone star tick can cause an allergic reaction to eating mammal meat — including beef, pork and lamb. The lone star tick’s bite causes some people to develop a strong immune response to a sugar molecule called alpha-gal, which is found in the tick’s bite and red meat People with the allergy may develop hives, swelling, wheezing, diarrhea or even life-threatening anaphylaxis when they eat red meat. Symptoms usually begin a few hours after exposure, and the allergy appears to be a lifelong condition for most. The lone star tick is most common in southern regions, but its territory is expanding into the Midwest and Northeast.
  • The Netherlands city of Haarlem plans to become the first city in the world to ban meat advertising in most public spaces as part of a wider ban on advertising products or services that increase use of fossil fuels. The move lumps meat in with air travel, cars, as well as oil and gas. The effort follows similar actions in nearby Amsterdam (which has banned ads from fossil fuel and aviation companies) and Norwich in England, which has also banned ads for “environmentally damaging” products.