CANADA - A new facility that significantly improves Newfoundland and Labrador’s ability to identify and respond to foreign animal diseases was officially opened last week.
The $3.9 million facility was opened by Vaughn Granter, Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency. Minister Granter was joined by John Dinn, Member of the House of Assembly (MHA) for Kilbride, and the province’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Hugh Whitney.
The new facility includes a molecular diagnostics laboratory, rabies laboratory, necropsy room and incinerator.
“The Foreign Animal Disease Laboratory Complex enhances our ability to monitor, regulate and control foreign animal diseases, before they impact the agriculture industry, and to respond quickly in the event of a disease outbreak.
"It enhances testing for diseases of provincial concern such as rabies, and avian influenza and demonstrates the Provincial Government’s commitment to improved food security and public and animal health.
"The facility also increases our capacity to work with academic institutions to study significant animal diseases,” said Mr Granter.
The new Foreign Animal Disease Laboratory Complex, which is co-located with the Provincial Agriculture Building in St John’s, includes a molecular diagnostics laboratory, rabies laboratory, necropsy room and incinerator.
It was funded through the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Agriculture AgriFlexibility Agreement with the Provincial Government investing C$2.9 million and the Federal Government providing C$1 million.
“Our government is committed to investments in projects like this that provide front-line protection to the agriculture industry and consumers, by increasing our ability to detect, monitor and control the spread of foreign animal diseases.
"We are proud to partner with Newfoundland and Labrador in research and development that strengthens and increases the competitiveness of the agriculture industry,” said Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz
The Newfoundland and Labrador agriculture industry generates direct and indirect employment for approximately 6,500 people. Together with agrifoods production, the industry is valued at approximately C$500 million per year.
“This new modern facility will benefit producers, farmers, livestock owners and residents from all over the province.
As the MHA for a district with a large agriculture presence, I can speak first-hand to the value of the industry and I am pleased this new facility will be here to serve this growing sector for many years to come,” said Mr Dinn.
Through the Budget 2015, the Provincial Government will provide close to $12 million through Growing Forward 2, the Agriculture and Agrifoods Development Fund, Provincial Agrifoods Assistance Programme, Land Consolidation Programme, Agriculture Research and Development Programme, and the Agricultural Limestone Programme.
ThePigSite News Desk