Senator Pat Roberts calls for construction of National Bio and Agrodefense Facility
Roberts spoke to Kansas City Animal Health Corridor members this week in Kansas City, Mo.. Roberts explained how on a trip to Russia he saw what some of their biological weaponization capabilities were. He also participated in a mock foot and mouth disease exercise in Kansas. Together, these experiences demonstrated to him the urgent need for a biosafety level four laboratory to replace the aging Plum Island, N.Y., facility, Bovine Veterinarian reports.
"I learned from that exercise which dealt with a hypothetical FMD outbreak through several states the devastation that can occur to the livestock industry, food production, food supply, etc.," Roberts said, Bovine Veterinarian reports.
Roberts has also taken part in agroterrorism conferences put on by the FBI and other agencies.
"I learned from that about mitigation efforts and the importance of law enforcement in this whole scheme. I'm proud to say all 105 counties in Kansas have an emergency plan in place," Roberts said, Bovine Veterinarian reports.
Robers said that the status of the NBAF has been in turmoil due to budget cuts.
The facility is currently in the review process, though Roberts said it has the support of Ron Vilsack and Janet Napolitano.
"It's about the safety of the U.S. food supply," Roberts said, Bovine Veterinarian reports. "This is a bipartisan issue and I'm optimistic we'll get it done."