New Study Questions Safety of Proposed Biodefense Laboratory

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Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010

By Martin Matishak

Global Security Newswire

Comment: This November 16 article should have stated that a calculation that there is a nearly 70 percent chance a pathogen could escape the planned Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas was made by a National Research Council panel based on data from a U.S. Homeland Security Department risk assessment. The NRC panel also estimated economic losses of between $9 billion and $50 billion from a postulated foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. More

No NBAF in Kansas!

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Or anywhere else, for that matter! The National Bio-and-Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) to be built in Kansas (and they are planning the same for Texas and other locations around the nation, as well) is “A facility where research on highly infectious diseases to food animals is conducted” that is to be constructed at the Kansas State University campus at Manhattan, Kansas. It’s mission is to study diseases like Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD), for which there are no vaccines or treatments.

According to No NBAF in Kansas, a group of concerned citizens who believe this facility would be too dangerous to have anywhere on the U.S. mainland, let alone in the heart of the nation’s food production areas, “We believe that the local media and the proponents of this plan have not given the public enough information to make an informed judgment. When the residents of this state understand the risks and uncertainties of this facility they will also say NO.”

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), FMD is “… a highly contagious animal disease … FMD virus is the most infectious animal disease-causing virus. It has been determined that for certain strains, the dose required to infect cattle or sheep through inhalation is about 10 organisms (10 1 TCID50).” Does this sound like something you want “tests” being done on anywhere near the nation’s food supply?

This is only one of several such facilities that are to be built right in the midst of our nation’s food production areas. The Plum Island Animal Disease Center, which has been located on an island off the northeast shore of Long Island, New York for years is about to be moved to the mainland by a directive of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Some experts, including the former director at the aging Plum Island facility, say research ought to be kept away from cattle populations – and, ideally, placed where the public already has accepted dangerous research.

The former head of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Research Service said Americans are not prepared for a foot-and-mouth outbreak that has been avoided on the mainland since 1929. According to a blog report posted on Infowars.com, “Foot-and-mouth virus can be carried on a worker’s breath or clothes, or vehicles leaving a lab, and is so contagious it has been confined to Plum Island, N.Y., for more than a half-century – far from commercial livestock. The existing lab is 100 miles northeast of New York City in the Long Island Sound, accessible only by ferry or helicopter. Researchers there who work with the live virus are not permitted to own animals at home that would be susceptible, and they must wait at least a week before attending outside events where such animals might perform, such as a circus.”

The locations selected for these facilities include Athens, Georgia; Butner, North Carolina; San Antonio, Texas; and Flora, Mississippi, all of which are home to the rasing of livestock for the nation’s food supply.

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