At least two dozen organizations want funding stopped for the relocation of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center to a National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to be built in Manhattan, Kan. The organizations point out the new location is in the heart of cattle country. The organizations sent their request to the 30 conferees of the Senate Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. These subcommittees are about to begin to conference the FY 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act, which contains funding for the project.
R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian who also chairs the group's animal health committee, emphasizes that the highly contagious nature of FMD dictates that only a site far removed from significant livestock and meat production, and one protected by natural barriers, should be considered. He says only the Plum Island facility meets those criteria.
"An inadvertent disease outbreak from the proposed NBAF would likely severely harm the very sectors of the U.S. economy and U.S. population that the facility is supposed to protect: the U.S. livestock herd, U.S. cattle producers and U.S. consumers," Thornsberry said.