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News 332 views update:Mar 26, 2008

Bush's proposed budget will damage poultry research

US President George W. Bush's proposed 2009 fiscal year federal budget would eliminate two USDA labs that play a vital role in poultry research, providing invaluable services to the poultry industry.

The Poultry Science Association has stated that the proposed budget, that would eliminate the Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory (ADOL) in East Lansing, Mich., and the Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory (ABBL) in Beltsville, Md, would have a major effect on poultry and biomedical research.
The proposed budget, which would begin 1 Oct, 2008, would cut $84 mln from USDA's Agricultural Research Service. ADOL's annual $3.4 mln and ABBL's $8.4 mln budgets would be eliminated, the laboratories closed and the research programmes would not be relocated.
ADOL
Researchers at ADOL are working on developing lines of chickens with genetic resistance to Marek's Disease Virus (costs the global poultry industry more than $1 bln annually) and Avian Leukosis Virus, which two highly contagious viral poultry diseases. ADOL is the World Animal Health Organization reference laboratory for Marek's disease. ADOL also develops and maintains specialized poultry lines for disease studies and is the primary poultry genomics facility within the USDA, says the PSA.
"In terms of basic research, such as studying how viruses work and looking at genomics to determine if a given line is susceptible or not — no one else in the world is doing this kind of research," said professor Jerry Dodgson, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University.
ABBL
Scientists at ABBL study mechanisms for improving feed utilisation in poultry, along with working on ways to improve gamete storage for turkeys and chickens. As feed costs continue rising, improving feed efficiency is important in keeping the product affordable.
"We urge everyone involved in the poultry and related industries, and in poultry and related areas of research, to write to your representatives in Congress, both House and Senate, about the terrible damage the closures of ADOL and ABBL would cause," PSA President Dr John B. Carrey said in a statement.
 
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