House OKs funds for bio-defense facility in Kansas

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The House approved a $32 million conditional start to a facility in Manhattan, Kan., to study animal diseases.

Washington

-- The House approved a $32 million conditional start to a facility in Manhattan, Kan., to study animal diseases. The condition is that the Department of Homeland Security first must complete a risk-assessment study for the location.

Construction on the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility could begin as early as summer 2010. However, if the study finds problems, the location may move or building could be delayed to address concerns.

Opponents worry that the diseases studied could escape into nearby food-supply animal populations. Some have raised the specter of tornados damaging the facility, releasing pathogens.

Manhattan, Kan., is also home to Kansas State University’s veterinary college and part of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor. The corridor is a confluence of animal medical companies and five veterinary schools in Kansas, Missouri and adjacent states.

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