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FMD Research Unit May Move to Mainland Livestock Area

14 April 2008

WASHINGTON, US - The Bush administration is likely to move its research on one of the most contagious animal diseases from an isolated island laboratory to the U.S. mainland near herds of livestock, raising concerns about a catastrophic outbreak.

Skeptical Democrats in Congress are demanding to see internal documents they believe highlight the risks and consequences of the decision.

An epidemic of the disease, foot and mouth, which only affects animals, could devastate the livestock industry.

One such government report, produced last year and already turned over to lawmakers by the Homeland Security Department, combined commercial satellite images and federal farm data to show the proximity to livestock herds of locations that have been considered for the new lab.

Would an accidental laboratory release at these locations have the potential to affect nearby livestock? asked the nine-page document. It did not directly answer the question.

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Source: Associated Press


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