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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cornell's New Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Opens October 1, 2010

Why should the people of New York State invest tens of millions of dollars to build a facility at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine to diagnose and prevent animal diseases?

Let’s consider the alternatives:
·    Ten million cattle and sheep were slaughtered and their bodies burned in massive fires to eliminate foot and mouth disease in Britain a decade ago;
·    Food poisoning caused illnesses for thousands of people in the recent outbreak of Salmonella-tainted eggs;
·    Thousands of cats and dogs became sick and many died from pet food tainted with impurities from China;
·    Dogs developed a new strain of influenza that caused pneumonia and death.

$70 million Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Opened Oct. 1 2010

These are the types of arguments that my colleagues and I made to the State of New York several years ago when I was dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. And why we rejoiced when Governor George Pataki visited Cornell in 2006 to announce the State appropriation for a new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to replace our aging facility that lacked the size and sophistication to monitor and control diseases that have increased in virulence and scope.

Since the founding of Cornell University’s veterinary college in 1894, amazing progress has been made in the control and elimination of diseases affecting animals, and those that are transmitted between animals and people. However, the need for vigilance continues to prevent a reappearance of the old scourges like Tuberculosis, anthrax and rabies, and to combat new diseases that continuously emerge in our mobile world.

The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is also required to education current veterinary students---the future front line diagnosticians---to help them identify emerging health problems like West Nile virus, antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonellosis, pet food toxicities, or new influenzas in horses or dogs.