Congress should take agroterror threat seriously, expert says

According to an editorial by Tom Quaife of the Dairy Herd Network, the threat of agroterrorism should be taken much more seriously by members of Congress and the Obama administration.

Quaife has attended four agroterrorism conferences sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 2005. Upon seeing the seriousness of the issue and simulations of how quickly infectious animal diseases could spread within the United States, he said that it has been difficult watching the uncertainty behind the proposed animal disease testing facility in Manhattan, Kan., Dairy Herd Network reports.

"It's been hard to watch the political haggling that is taking place over the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan.," Quaife said, according to Dairy Herd Network. "The Obama administration wants to reassess the cost and scope of the project and Congress has been slow to approve funding."

According to Quaife, if an international attack were to occur on the world's food supply, it could cost billions of dollars and undermine the public's confidence. While Quaife was comforted that the proposed state-of-the-art facility would be built to address agroterrorism threats, he is concerned that the facility wouldn't be operational until 2018.

"The need is there and a plan is in place to address it," Quaife said, according to Dairy Herd Network. "It is time that the Obama administration and Congress start paying attention to the threat and back it up with a solid commitment to the NBAF."