In a June 19 letter to congressional leaders, NGFA and Animal Agriculture Coalition groups urged Congress to provide animal disease prevention funding as Congress continues deliberations to address the challenges of COVID-19.
The groups urged lawmakers to include $300 million for the 2018 Farm Bill Animal Health Provisions program to bolster routine surveillance and preparedness for foreign animal disease, while supplementing the costs associated with the surge capacity to respond to COVID-19.
“As we reflect on how to prepare for and respond to outbreaks like COVID, it’s clear that the nation must adopt a coordinated one health approach to prepare and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks,” the groups said.
The requested funding would support improved animal health surveillance and laboratory capacity in the current public health emergency and to ensure preparedness for future infectious disease outbreaks through the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP), and the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Vaccine Bank.
The letter notes that NAHLN laboratories have stepped up to support public health colleagues in testing human samples for COVID-19 and “funding is needed for these laboratories to maintain diagnostics and surveillance of foreign animal disease (FAD), while supplementing the costs associated with their role in supporting COVID-19 human testing capacity in light of the incredible demand for testing.”