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Senator Clinton Calls for Federal Funding to Control Spread of VHS

WASHINGTON DC Senator Hillary Clinton joined several of her colleagues in urging the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry to provide assistance in the upcoming 2007 Farm Bill to states whose aquaculture and fishing industries have been blighted by the deadly fish disease, Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS).

In a letter to Committee Chairman Tom Harkin and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss, the lawmakers stressed the need for language to be included in the Farm Bill that would ensure assistance is provided to Great Lakes states for testing, monitoring, and enforcement of VHS guidelines.

“The effort made by the USDA and APHIS in combating the spread of VHS and other animals and diseases that threaten the Great Lakes and many smaller New York water bodies is encouraging, but I am still very concerned about the negative impact that the virus continues to have on the environment and on businesses in our state,” said Senator Clinton.

She said that the APHIS order did not provide the necessary resources and it was unfair to think that states like New York should shoulder the entire burden of testing, monitoring, and enforcement.

"Our fisheries and marine industries are vital to New York’s economic wellbeing, and that requires maintaining a healthy ecosystem in the Great Lakes. Adding language to the Farm Bill that authorises assistance to states like New York that border the Great Lakes is critical in controlling the VHS problem,” added Mrs Clinton

In October 2006, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued an order to prevent the spread of VHS. It stopped the interstate movement within the Great Lakes states of more than three dozen species of live fish that are susceptible to the disease. However, these states do not have adequate capacity to perform the necessary quantity of testing. Also, the APHIS order did not provide any assistance to states to help with required testing, monitoring, and enforcement. All such responsibilities have been placed on the Great Lakes states and tribal management authorities.

The authorisation of additional federal funds will provide the necessary assistance to states and monitoring agencies that are working to isolate, and curb the spread of the disease in the Great Lakes region.

Source: All Americal Patriots

Further Reading

- Find out more information on VHS by clicking here.