With the nation’s mind turned to terrorism, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has stepped up surveillance of Foreign Animal Disease activity. Taking steps against bioterror, the agency said no potential cases should be ignored.
The concern is real. In April, PETA co-founder Ingrid Newkirk said of foot-and-mouth disease, “I openly hope that it comes here. It will bring economic harm only for those who profit from giving people heart attacks and giving animals a concentration camp-like existence. It would be good for animals, good for human health and good for the environment.” And in June, a U.S. congressman said the government should monitor the activities of PETA’s Bruce Friedrich, after he said a U.S. outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease would be good for his cause, and hinted he might import the disease.
And the threat is real, too: In a special report on “vehicles of terror,” Time notes, “attacks against crops and livestock are easy to perpetrate.”