FARAD begins shutting down
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has lobbied Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support the databank, which is used by veterinarians, livestock producers and others in the food production business to ensure that drug, environmental and pesticide contaminants don't end up in meat, milk and eggs.
Funding for FARAD is administered by the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service and is operated through the combined efforts of North Carolina State University, the University of Florida and the University of California-Davis. Though FARAD's $2.5 million funding request was authorized in this year's Farm Bill, AVMA says the USDA never incorporated the funding in its budget, and Congress has not provided the emergency funding or the agricultural appropriations bill that would have served as FARAD's lifeline.
FARAD has been under funded for some time, according to Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division in Washington. All public access to FARAD was discontinued in May 2007 after the group was forced to go without any federal funding for the entire 2007 fiscal year. In August 2007, FARAD got "bridge" funding to take it through September 2008, but Lutschaunig said months ago it was anyone's guess what would happen after that funding dried up. Now that that has happened, the AVMA is urging the public to call the USDA and request emergency funding for FARAD.
FARAD has "shut down" before, but always worked to keep existing information accessible. However, resources to update old information or add new developments will go unpublished in the databank.