Keep eye on activist, lawmaker tells U.S.

Keep eye on activist, lawmaker tells U.S.

june 6, 2001 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Meg Jones

Less than two weeks after an animal rights activist said it would be good for animals if foot-and-mouth disease came to the United States, a congressman has called on federal officials to keep close tabs on the activist.

Rep. Mark Green (R-Green Bay) said the remark by Bruce Friedrich, vegan coordinator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was disturbing because foot-and-mouth disease would have a devastating impact on agriculture in Wisconsin and the nation.

Friedrich wrote in a letter last month to World Dairy Expo officials that he was traveling to England this summer and would return in time to visit the expo in Madison in October. Friedrich called on World Dairy Expo authorities to cancel the event because he said thousands of visitors from around the world could inadvertently bring the disease here.

Green sent a letter Tuesday to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make sure Friedrich is closely monitored upon returning to America from England and requesting that Friedrich undergo a "rigorous decontamination."

"For them to say that they would, in their words, welcome an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease is more than merely poor taste and sick humor," Green said in a phone interview Tuesday. "It approaches a reckless indifference to the lives and livelihoods of thousands of families in Wisconsin and across the country."

Friedrich, who is going to England to work in PETA's London office from mid-July to mid- September, said Tuesday that he would never intentionally bring foot-and- mouth disease or any other animal affliction to the U.S. But he said the disease would benefit animals because more Americans would probably become vegetarians.

"If Representative Green cared about foot-and-mouth disease, he'd be calling for the canceling of the World Dairy Expo, which is a celebration of violence and animal cruelty and is likely to bring foot-and- mouth to the U.S. and then spread it worldwide," Friedrich said.

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