WASHINGTON – Farm groups disagreed at a congressional hearing about a proposed foot-and-mouth disease on the U.S. mainland. The research is currently done on a small island off Long Island.

According to the Associated Press, the Bush administration and livestock representatives say that it would be safe to move the lab to sites near animals. Other groups believe it would raise the risk to animals from terrorism.

Gary Voogt, president-elect of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said his group did not oppose the move.

"Plum Island is not the fortress some people may contend," he told the AP. "The island has long had a problem with wildlife swimming over from the mainland at low tide, and there have been numerous reports of how close boaters can get to the island without any warning or consequences."

The National Pork Producers Council also voiced its support for the move.

Leroy Watson, legislative director of the National Grange, raised the terrorism danger in testimony opposing moving the lab to the mainland, according to the news service.

The finalist sites are Flora, Miss.; Athens, Ga.; Manhattan, Kan.; Butner, N.C.; and San Antonio, the AP said. One Homeland Security study found the numbers of livestock in the counties and surrounding areas of the finalists ranged from 542,507 in Kansas to 132,900 in Georgia.