French militant farmer Jose Bove placed under investigation in defamation case

French militant farmer Jose Bove placed under investigation in defamation case

July 30, 2001 Associated Press by Pierre-Antoine Souchard

A Paris judge has ordered an investigation of militant French farmer Jose Bove for allegedly defaming animal feed manufacturers by saying they brought mad cow disease into France.

The judge's action came Monday in response to a complaint filed by the National Union for Animal Nutrition, according to Bove's lawyer, Francois Roux.

The complaint was filed after Bove made remarks to the press in November 2000, accusing the industry of importing tainted feed from Britain. Scientists believe the disease was spread by recycling meat and bone meal from infected animals back into cattle feed.

The human form of mad cow disease has killed 102 people in Britain, three in France, one in Ireland and one in Hong Kong. Scientists believe people get it by eating beef infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

Bove repeated the allegations when he was summoned to court Monday.

"One can clearly say that our cows were poisoned without the knowledge of farmers by feed makers who imported animal-based feed from Great Britain," he said.

A scuffle broke out Monday afternoon between police and Bove supporters who were trying to hang a banner on the gates of the Palace of Justice in Paris.

Bove, a sheep farmer from southwestern France, gained fame in 1999 when he and nine others used farm equipment to dismantle a McDonald's under construction in Millau.

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