WASHINGTON — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Wednesday said he thinks hog farmers are a greater threat to Americans than Osama bin Laden.
Mr. Kennedy, son of the the slain New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, is an environmental law attorney who was testifying before a House Judiciary subcomittee when Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, asked him if a quotation attributed to him in 2002 about hog farmers representing a greater threat than the leader of al Qaeda was accurate.
“I don’t know if that [quotation] is accurate, but I believe it and I support it,” said Mr. Kennedy, who has been involved in a vigorous legal effort against the meat industry for some years, arguing that manure and other products associated with large livestock producers emit toxic wastes that threaten the environment.
Mr. Kennedy also has said that a single hog consignment can put out more pollution than a city of a million people.
He has also said that every public official in North Carolina has been corrupted by the pork industry. He cited as evidence an editorial in a Raleigh newspaper, although he also said there may be some exceptions.
Mr. Kennedy was convicted for for possession of heroin in 1984 and sentenced to 800 hours of community service. He fulfilled that sentence by doing volunteer work for an envoronmental foundation and later became a vociferous critic of the meat industry and large meat producers.
Mr. Kennedy has said that he plans to go after all large farms in the country, not just pork producers. He has also said that the “right” lawsuit against livestock producers could bring damage awards of up to $13 billion.