A report released by the United States Government Accountability Office questions the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed move of a disease research facility to the U.S. mainland. The facility would conduct research on foot-and-mouth disease which has been confined to a facility located on Plum Island, N.Y., off the northeastern tip of Long Island, since 1955.
During testimony on Capitol Hill last week, GAO investigators said that the Administration relied on a flawed study to conclude the research could safely be moved to a planned, state-of-the-art facility near commercial livestock. While FMD does not sicken humans, an outbreak on the U.S. mainland, which has not occurred since 1929, could have catastrophic consequences on the U.S. livestock industry.
The current Plum Island facility is outmoded and will be replaced by a National Bio-and-Agro-Defense Facility that also will study diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans. While Plum Island is being considered as a location for the new site, Homeland Security officials are also spending considerable time and money holding forums at the mainland locations to convince residents the new lab would be safe.
Source: American Meat Institute