Animal groups write in support of poultry research lab

Animal Agriculture Coalition urges House and Senate members to support $155 million to finish Georgia national poultry lab.

The Animal Agriculture Coalition submitted letters to the House and Senate Appropriations committees in support of the development of the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL) in Athens, Ga. SEPRL was identified as the highest priority facility recommended for modernization in a 2012 review of USDA Agricultural Research Service facilities.

The coalition recommended $155 million for construction of the facility, which will enable USDA scientists to better address emerging and exotic poultry diseases. Support for the facility is included as part of the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative in the president’s budget request.

“In short, the work performed at this key ARS facility is critical for the modern food and agriculture industry, and promotes a healthy and safe food supply chain for American and world consumers. We applaud the Committee’s actions to support investment at ARS to upgrade buildings and facilities. The provision of funding for SEPRL demonstrates a commitment to the importance of strong research support for America’s agriculture sector,” the letter stated.

Established in 1960, SEPRL became the center for detecting and treating major poultry diseases. Research at the lab was expanded to support collaboration on poultry health and infectious animal diseases that may impact human health with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and more than 10 universities around the country.

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