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Foot-and-mouth comes to Kansas

For research purposes:

After deliberating for nearly three years, DHS on Dec. 5 announced its decision to award Kansas the [$451 million National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility] over sites in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas. Also rejected was a sixth option, retaining the existing Plum Island Animal Disease Center at Plum Island in New York, a 1950s-era facility that the agency considers too old to modernize feasibly

There is a very good reason that the research at Plum Island is conducted on an island and not in the middle of America’s agriculture industry.

I refer you to the interviews I’ve done with author and agro-terror expert Kate Iola (click the arrow on the player below to listen, or right-click the “Download” link to save the mp3) file to your computer. Pay special attention to the part where Kate talks about the potential devastation of a foot-and-mouth outbreak in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa.

So why Kansas State University?

[S]iting the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility here would position it in the “animal health corridor,” a conglomerate of organizations that stretches from Manhattan to Columbia Mo, with its center in Kansas City.

What exactly is the animal health corridor, and how did its presence here help win over those deciding the future home of the NBAF?

According to Lynn Parman, vice president for life sciences and technology for the Kansas City Area Development Council, the corridor, which became an official entity in 2006, has its roots in the Stowers family’s decade-old decision to build a $300 million research facility in Kansas City.

James Stowers, you may recall, almost single-handedly financed the 2006 campaign to pass Amendment 2 (seriously — Stowers put up 97% of the money for The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures), the constitutional amendment that made all forms of stem cell research and therapeutic cloning a protected right in Missouri forever and ever, amen. (Click here to listen to the mp3 of an interview I did with bioethics writer Wesley J. Smith on Amendment 2 at The Eagle 93.9 in Missouri.)

Good thing the Stowers run a non-profit organization or I’d be tempted to think there was some personal interest at stake here. Oh, wait, I almost forgot — the Stowers Institute does has a for-profit division.

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