R-CALF USA objects to manufacturing FMD vaccine on U.S. mainland

A U.S. group of ranchers opposes the manufacture of a foot and mouth disease vaccine on the U.S. mainland.  Bill Bullard with R-CALF USA says the USDA has no authority to approve a request from Zoetis. “Here we have a multinational pharmaceutical company that wants to begin making vaccines from a live foot and mouth disease virus, and they want to do it in College Station, Texas. We argue that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has no authority whatsoever to grant that petition.”

  The Zoetis petition argues that their live FMD virus has been genetically modified to render it incapable of causing FMD infection in livestock.  Bullard says Congress was clear that the live virus can only be introduced for research, study, and transport across the continental United States.  “This type of research and study should be limited exclusively to an island location where an inadvertent release of the virus will not cause infection to the United States livestock herd or the United States wildlife population.”

Bullard says the Zoetis petition lacks citation or reference to any scientific study that substantiates that the modified live FMD virus is incapable of causing infection in U.S. livestock or wildlife.  The cattlemen’s group is also concerned about an inadvertent release of FMD like what happened in 2007 at the Pirbright site in Surrey, England.  

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