Sat July 21, 2012
NBAF May Get Boost As Government Report Says 'Sell Plum Island'
It could be good news for supporters of the NBAF, the top-level biosecurity lab proposed for Manhattan, Kan.
In a released Friday, the General Services Administration supported the sale of Plum Island. Plum Island, off the coast of New York, is home to the only U.S. laboratory studying infectious diseases among large animals.
The report does not refer to the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas. The proposed NBAF is a Department of Homeland Security lab designed to replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center.
The GSA report may be linked to another study released last week by a committee of the National Academies of Science that found the Plum Island facility inadequate to meet the needs of protecting the U.S. food supply. The NRC report said no investment in the Plum Island lab could bring it up to necessary and safe standards.
There is no mention in today’s GSA report how much Plum Island should be sold for, or if any of the proceeds should be directed to the NBAF.
Plum Island was handed over from the Army to the Agriculture Department in the mid 1950s with the express purpose of studying Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in cattle. FMD is a dangerously contagious virus that affects cloven-hooved (split-hooved) livestock such as cattle, pork and sheep.
Opponents of the NBAF and some objective experts have said building a lab to study Foot and Mouth Disease in the heart of cattle country is not wise.