Sometimes we get so busy exposing animal-rights violence or nutty “fat taxes” that a strange story accidentally falls into the trash. That’s exactly where we found a story from the September 29 issue of Newsday about “Freegans”vegans who “take it one step further by eating food thrown away by stores and restaurants.” And as they take their diets another step beyond sanity, these grubby gourmets also plan to make the animal-rights world even more radical.

Which Freegans did Newsday pluck out of the trash? Two young animal-rights activists, Adam Weissman and Wendy Scher, who are attempting to move their movement’s focus away from the “old war-horses” that guide the larger annual “Animal Rights” conferences. That’s where People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) president Ingrid Newkirk declared her group’s goal of “total animal liberation” and PETA campaign director Bruce Friedrich urged blowing up restaurants and banks.

Weissman’s even-more-radical vision will have its first public showing at the Grassroots Animal Rights Conference, to be held on the campus of New York University in February. The conference aims to “welcome speakers and discussion with the perspective that animal abuse must be ABOLISHED, and that reform IS NOT a path to abolition.”

Given his extreme position, perhaps what’s strangest about Weissman’s attempted power-grab within the animal rights movement is his own diet. As Newsday described: “Tonight the freegans start at Garden of Eden, a Village health food store, where they find two whole fresh salmon in the trash outside, before heading west. They visit Century Market, Gristede’s, Lifethyme and other food stores along the way, if the trash looks promising.” [emphasis added] Salmon for a wannabe animal-rights leader?