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Cattlemen Claim Laws Broken in Siting Bio Lab

Mysterious animal research that has long gone on at Plum Island is supposed to be transferred to a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to be built in the middle of cattle country in Manhattan, KS.

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But a criminal inquiry into a group credited with attracting the bio-defense facility to Kansas has prompted the feisty Montana-based R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America to suggest the federal government call the whole thing off.

Bill Bullard, chief executive officer for the cattlemen’s group, in a recent letter to Homeland Security’s Secretary Janet Napolitano, accused her department of the “strong likelihood of corruption” in selecting Kansas as a location for the bio defense facility.

In a separate letter to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-LA, who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee for Homeland Security, Bullard asks the Senate “to strike from the federal budget all funding for the proposed National Bio-and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF)” and to investigate the extent to which the KBA may have influenced DHS’ decision to locate the NBAF in Manhattan, Kansas and “expose our U.S. cattle herd to a heightened risk.”

KBA is the Kansas Bioscience Authority, which was instrumental in getting Manhattan selected as the location for the yet-to-be constructed bio-defense facility. Congress just approved the first $40 million for construction.  

There is another $150 million for the lab in President Obama’s new budget, with the final cost expected to reach $650 million by completion in 2018.  Kansas is going to benefit from 1,500 construction jobs and economic spinoffs that might be worth as much as $3 billion.

That’s why the Kansas bioscience promotional group wanted the state named as the location for the new lab, but KBA may have gone too far.   The Johnson County District Attorney has opened a criminal investigation into something involving KBA.

The criminal investigation is only the latest move by Kansas officials to exert more oversight over the group. Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature have sent legions of auditors over to KBA to go over its books. 

But it’s the criminal investigation that is getting attention outside of Kansas.

Bullard’s letter to Napolitano returns to arguments that were made about the Kansas site prior to its selection in late 2009. There is a high likelihood — a 70 percent chance according to one study — that viruses such as foot-and-mouth disease could be released into the environment in the lab’s vicinity.

That would jeopardize animal agriculture in the area, a $9 to $50 billion industry.

Bullard claims “unadulterated corruption” facilitated by Homeland Security is exposing the U.S. livestock industry “to unnecessary and avoidable risk that would threaten the safety and security of our national meat supply.”

While there has been plenty of public confirmation that a criminal probe of KBA is underway, no one has said if it involves the group’s campaign to land the bio security facility.  

KBA is an independent entity of the state of Kansas, formed in 2004.  Its purpose is to attract federal support and build world-class research facilities in the Sun Flower State.

Gov. Brownback says the entity needs more oversight and more direct involvement by Kansas university officials.

As for the government’s need to conduct mysterious animal research, the effort to build the NABF anywhere on the mainland, let alone in the heart of cattle country, is getting precious little public attention.

While the Plum Island research facility, located off Long Island, NY, was a USDA unit for most of its existence, it’s now part of Homeland Security.  The 1999 book, “Lab 257,” by Michael C. Carroll, Ph.D, alleged that the Plum Island Animal Disease Center was connected to the spread of Dutch duck plague in 1967, Lyme disease in 1975, and West Nile virus in 1999.

For many years, everyone agreed such mysterious animal research was best conducted off shore.

© Food Safety News
  • Doc Mudd

    R-CALF doesn’t speak for professional U.S. cattlemen or farmers. They speak for their dominant partner organization Food & Water Watch. The agenda is obstructionist, simply.
    There may be legitimate concerns about this lab being relocated to Kansas, but R-CALF’s opposition does nothing to bolster those. In fact, their addled voice in the fray cues rational people to suspect the motives of all opponents. R-CALF is a front for anti-agriculture activists.

  • ICBM

    No, thankfully, R-CALF doesn’t speak for Big Meat — but they do act to advance and protect the many professional farmers and ranchers who are getting screwed by Big Food — particularly with their work on new GIPSA rules for fair contracts.
    In his (shill-paid?) knee-jerk fervor for promoting All Things Agribusiness and ongoing denigration of Everything Organic, the Muddite also doesn’t like Food and Water Watch.
    As we see laboriously day after day, Muddian opposition alone is reason enough to support them — and all the good work they are doing for citizens of all stripes.

  • Doc Mudd

    R-CALF, F&WW and Prince Charles’ organic sycophants – elite hobbiests with narrow vision and dreamy ideas, teaming and working tirelessly to drive up the cost of food for “citizens of all stripes”…while undermining food safety for your family and mine.
    Trafficking in ignorance and arrogance – obstructing NBAF’s vital research and surveillance of potentially devastating exotic diseases is right up their alley.
    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/09/is-the-r-calf-gang-eating-grilled-avocado/
    http://beefmagazine.com/cowcalfweekly/0903-r-calfs-unholy-alliances/
    R-CALF is all hat and no head.

  • ICBM

    Yummmmm… grilled avacado! So much Better than CAFO meat any day!!!
    And the Mudddite’s insult of the day,”elitist”, just doesn’t hold water (once again) — check out:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-being-a-foodie-isnt-elitist/2011/04/27/AFeWsnFF_story.html

  • Doc Mudd

    For once, I agree with ‘ICBM’; we all should review Eric Schlosser’s article in the Washington Post…it is wonderfully transparent foodie propaganda, a classic example suitable for framing and hanging on the wall. We’re getting off topic here, but Schlosser’s article does showcase the agenda of organizations like R-CALF whose activities are calculated to damage our modern food system and extract more and more grocery money from my family and yours.
    Schlosser titles his piece “Why Being a Foodie Isn’t Elitist” then, true to form, never addresses elitism nor debunks it but launches directly into a bashing rant, a tired shopworn rehash of the same old gushing salute to tres chic foodie angst over the preferred foods and eating habits of the common classes.
    In the process Schlosser outlines the characteristic ‘food is too cheap’ argument and clearly exposes the darling foodie agenda – drive inflation at the supermarket.
    Everything Schlosser extolls in his rant is inflationary, effetely inflationary as ordinary American families attempt to climb out of a serious economic recession. But, inflationary with a purpose – punish ordinary folks (you and me) and force us to eat peculiarly like themselves (ugh, yuck) in an affected aping of vacuous celebrities like Prince Charles. Most of our normal American families don’t piss away their grocery money that way, and that’s exactly what proselytizing, profiteering foodies like Schlosser and ‘ICBM’ (aka ‘Steve Gilman’) find so annoying about us.
    Schlosser simply mis-titled his piece. It would be more appropriately titled: ‘Why Being a Foodie is Brazenly Inflationary’.

  • ICBM

    The Mudddr might think like he’s in like Flynn with his Mudite persona’s irresponsible rants — but yes folks –please read the Schlosser article — and see for yourselves if “inflationary” is the bottom line takeaway here — it’s more like a positive, wholesome, non-toxic alternative to the totally profit-oriented corporate takeover of our daily food supply.

  • stephen anderson

    What was the dominate political issue the past3 yrs? Healthcare !! Why are U S citizens so unhealthy, ADD, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, the list of endless pandemic like illness? I dont know, but I suspect the massive addition of every concoction out of the devils own pantry plays a large part. The food we eat the water we drink, the air we breathe are all befoulded with chemicals foreign to our bodies.
    Im an old farmer-rancher and little formal education to brag on but agree with Socrates, who opined that we are what we eat.
    I also know that ive worked hard all my life producing food, good food, unlike my learned collegues who make a easy living throwing Mudd at one another.

  • Doc Mudd

    If you are enjoying a successful career as a “farmer-rancher” in the U.S. you can thank NBAF and similar agencies for protecting your farming business from regular epidemics of devastating diseases like foot & mouth.
    It’s much too easy to downplay or ignore public safety when it is so reliably assured by ‘learned colleagues’ quietly laboring backstage on your behalf.
    Equally easy to get believing your own BS and begin preaching quack medicine and poisoning the well to let yourself feel more important and knowledgeable than you ever really were.

  • annie

    DID someone change the law? Congressional law stipulates the live foot and mouth disease can not be studied on mainland. Is kansas on the main land?

  • carolyn

    Who ever these groups are that have taken control of what happens in our country by trying to move this bio-research lab to Kansas, either have lost their minds or have an alternative motive. How can we allow this kind of research to continue in any form. If the lab is built in Kansas, virus’ will at some time escape and the lose of life in animals and humans will be far more costly then any gain to the Kansas economy it might have given.