WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously voted to restore funding to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN),
but the Senate must follow suit if funds are appropriated for the program in the 2012 Department of Agriculture budget.
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American
Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) and other organizations concerned with health and food safety,
supported the House amendment that restored NAHLN's $4.4 million funding, which had previously been proposed for elimination
by the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.
NAHLN is a 59-member laboratory network that is primarily housed in the nation's veterinary colleges. The laboratories conduct
food-animal surveillance, analyze samples for disease threats that could spread to humans, and respond to inquiries from food
AAVMC, AVMA and other entities lobbied lawmakers once the funding elimination was proposed on the importance of the program
to the nation's food safety.
"In the event of an emergency, NAHLN can mobilize its network to test large numbers of samples rapidly, process diagnostic
tests, and share information," says Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou, AAVMC's executive director. "In light of the total federal
budget, $4.4 million isn't a lot of money, but that money is put to good use for an important cause."