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New Animal Health Lab Likely to be in Kansas

04 December 2008

US - Although the official announcement is not due until 5 December, it has emerged that federal officials have chosen Manhatten, Kansas, as the site of the country's new National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).

Online Athens reports that federal officials chose Manhattan, Kansas over four other finalists for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, a 500,000-square-foot lab where more than 300 scientists and other employees will study pig and cattle diseases that terrorists could use to attack the US food supply.

Kansas always was Georgia's strongest competition for the NBAF, said University of Georgia (UGA) Vice-President for Research David Lee, who headed up efforts to bring the $700 million lab to a university-owned tract on South Milledge Avenue.

Kansas State University offers many of the same advantages as UGA, such as existing animal disease research programs to collaborate with federal scientists, but Kansas offered more incentives than Georgia to entice Homeland Security, Mr Lee said.

"I can't find any great fault with choosing the Kansas site," he said. "I happen to think our site was better."

Kansas could provide a better work force, offered more financial incentives and had less opposition from residents than other finalists, including sites near Durham, North Carolina, San Antonio and Jackson, Mississippi, Homeland Security Undersecretary, Jay Cohen, said in a memo obtained by the Associated Press.

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