tee, and (3) maintaining current capabilities at PIADC while leveraging ABSL-4 laboratory capacity (for livestock) by using foreign laboratories.
In response to the request, the National Research Council convened an ad hoc committee to conduct a scientific assessment of the requirements for a foreign animal and zoonotic disease research and diagnostic laboratory facility in the United States. As part of its task, the committee assessed the threats to US livestock from current and emerging diseases, including zoonoses, considered an ideal system for addressing those disease threats, and identified the laboratory infrastructure in which the diseases could be diagnosed and studied. The scope of the committee’s analysis was limited to examining the three proposed options. The task explicitly excluded an assessment of specific site locations for the proposed laboratory facility; therefore, it was not within the committee’s charge to compare the relative risks of the three options nor to determine where foot-and-mouth disease research can be safely conducted. The committee’s conclusions and recommendation are summarized in Box S-1 at the end of this chapter.
IMPORTANCE AND VULNERABILITY OF US ANIMAL AGRICULTURE
The United States has been fortunate to have an abundance of natural resources to support its agricultural industry. But the continued success of the food-animal sector has also been due both to unparalleled advances in research that have resulted in remarkable gains in agricultural productivity, and to progress in eliminating many livestock and poultry diseases that still impact animal production and trade in other countries. Investments in an effective animal-health infrastructure have enabled US animal agriculture to focus on producing animals for food to meet growing domestic and international demands. However, the security of this multibillion-dollar enterprise and of the food system to which animal agriculture is intricately connected remains vulnerable to diseases threats, whether intentionally or naturally introduced.
Numerous recent National Research Council studies have assessed disease threats to animal and public health, and the committee did not attempt an exhaustive reconsideration of the broad array of disease agents that can affect animal agriculture. The list of disease threats has not changed nor have the drivers of disease emergence in our global society that can give rise to novel agents or to disease outbreaks caused by agents that are exotic to the United States. Animal diseases that have high priority with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) also appear on the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) list of animal diseases; although many of these diseases are considered threats to livestock, many are also important zoonoses. In addition to naturally introduced disease threats, the nation also faces the threat of bio- or agroterrorism in which a disease agent is deliberately introduced to destabilize food sources or generate fear. Several homeland security presidential directives have focused on con-