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New Lab Planned Amid Britain's Foot-and-Mouth Outbreaks

03 October 2007

US - The recent spread of a deadly livestock disease from a biolab campus in Britain has not stopped American officials from considering building a new animal disease research lab in the United States.
The Aug. 3 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain was tied to a government laboratory and a private vaccine manufacturer in Pirbright, England. Initial tests show a second outbreak that officials still are trying to contain is of the same strain as the lab-related outbreak.

Nevertheless, Department of Homeland Security officials are proceeding with plans to move a similar lab isolated on Plum Island, N.Y., to one of five sites on the U.S. mainland, including San Antonio.

Generally, U.S. livestock and cattle groups, including the National Cattleman's Beef Association, have supported plans for the $450 million National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, even if it means moving the research to states heavy with livestock.

But Ross Wilson, CEO of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, said his group has been rethinking its support since the British outbreaks.

"The recent situation at Pirbright does give us some concerns," Wilson said. His group represents 5,000 cattle feeders in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, an area that the group says is the largest cattle feeding region in America.

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Source: Houston Chronicle


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