Bush wants to bring deadly livestock virus to heart of livestock country

Erik says: "The Bush administration is planning to move its primary foot-and-mouth research lab to the continental United States. Foot-and-Mouth, you will recall, is incredibly contagious and has several times led to enormous livestock extermination campaigns to halt the spread of the disease. Yet, believe it or not, one of the top contenders for the research site is Kansas. And, if that’s not enough, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas actually wants the lab built in his state – 'It will mean jobs,' he says. I’m trying to persuade myself that this entire article isn’t actually a piece done by the Onion."

One such government report, produced last year and already turned over to lawmakers by the Homeland Security Department, combined commercial satellite images and federal farm data to show the proximity to livestock herds of locations that have been considered for the new lab. "Would an accidental laboratory release at these locations have the potential to affect nearby livestock?" asked the nine-page document. It did not directly answer the question.

A simulated outbreak of the disease – part of an earlier U.S. government exercise called "Crimson Sky" – ended with fictional riots in the streets after the simulation's National Guardsmen were ordered to kill tens of millions of farm animals, so many that troops ran out of bullets. In the exercise, the government said it would have been forced to dig a ditch in Kansas 25 miles long to bury carcasses. In the simulation, protests broke out in some cities amid food shortages.

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