Opposition to Moving Lab to Cattle Country

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Coalition Asks Homeland Security Approps Committees to Deny Funding for NBAF on U.S. Mainland

Source: R-CALF USA
September 9, 2009

Washington, D.C. – R-CALF USA, along with 24 other organizations, sent formal correspondence to the 30 conferees of the Senate Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, to request that they deny funding for plans to relocate dangerous research from Plum Island, N.Y., to a facility in Manhattan, Kan., the heart of cattle country.

“Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security has proposed to establish a National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Kansas where research would be conducted on such highly contagious livestock diseases as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia,” the letter states. “As you begin to conference the FY2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act, we urge you to deny funding for the NBAF project.”

R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian who also chairs the group’s animal health committee, emphasized 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.

“Only the Plum Island facility meets those criteria, so it is R-CALF’s strong contention that if any changes are made at all, those changes should be simply to improve the facilities at Plum Island,” Thornsberry said. “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 NBAF is supposed to protect: the U.S. livestock herd, U.S. cattle producers and U.S. consumers.

“The House of Representatives acknowledged the dangers of placing a research facility in the heartland and it authorized no funding for the NBAF in Kansas,” he concluded. “We are respectfully requesting that the Senate adopt the House position by denying all appropriations to Homeland Security for the purpose of transferring the disease research programs at Plum Island to the U.S. mainland.”

Other signers on the letter included: Cattle Producers of Washington; Center for Rural Affairs; Colorado Independent CattleGrowers’ Association; Dakota Resource Council; Dakota Rural Action; Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance; Food & Water Watch; Independent Beef Association of North Dakota; Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska; Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming; Kansas Cattlemen’s Association; Kansas Farmers Union; Mississippi Livestock Markets Association; Missouri's Best Beef, Inc.; National Farmers Union; Nebraska Farmers Union; New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association; New Mexico Federal Lands Council; Oregon Livestock Producers Association; Ozarks Property Rights Congress, Mo.; South Dakota Stockgrowers Association; The CJD Foundation; Western Organization of Resource Councils; and, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

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