Secretary of Agriculture Highlights Proposed $42.6 Million Funding in Animal Well being, Meals Safety

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Secretary of Agriculture Highlights Proposed $42.6 Million Investment in Animal Health, Food Security

HARRISBURG, PA — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding joined leaders of the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System (PADLS) on Friday to emphasize the importance of continued investments in animal health to maintain a safe, reliable and abundant food supply.

Governor Tom Wolf‘s proposed 2021-22 budget includes more than $42.6 million in investments in the state’s veterinary laboratory system, animal health and diagnostics, and research – all critical to maintaining a strong agriculture and food system in the commonwealth and ensuring the availability of food in Pennsylvania and the world.

“Whether it be on-farm, in the grocery store, at home with our companion animals, or even within our own human health system – these dollars impact us all,” said Redding. “Safeguarding animal health means safeguarding our economy, protecting human health, and ensuring a safe and reliable food supply for Pennsylvania and the world.”

Redding was joined Friday by state veterinarian, Dr. Kevin Brightbill, Penn State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory Director Dr. Bhushan Jayarao, Penn State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory Assistant Director Dr. Suresh Kuchipudi, University of Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory Director Dr. Lisa Murphy, and Department of Agriculture Veterinary Laboratory Director Dr. Deepanker Tewari.

The work of the department’s Bureau of Animal Health and the PADLS laboratories are essential to protecting U.S. livestock and poultry industries from foreign animal diseases, which, in turn, protects our food supply and our citizens.

The PADLS system was established by the Pennsylvania Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission in 1991 in order to provide rapid and accurate diagnostic assistance to veterinarians involved with food-fiber animals, equine, aquaculture and wildlife. PADLS exists to protect animals and humans from health threats by providing accurate diagnoses to assist Pennsylvania’s agricultural community in controlling diseases to minimize economic loss. The 2021-22 budget funds PADLS at $5.35 million.

The tripartite laboratory system joins together the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Pennsylvania. The three laboratories provide testing, field-based monitoring, and producer outreach with a focus on protecting our citizens, our food supply, and the animal agriculture industry.

The combined resources and technical expertise of leading scientists at these laboratories provide state-of-the-art diagnostic technology that supports veterinarian efforts to advance animal and public health initiatives,” said Brightbill. “The vision, leadership and ingenuity of our lab directors and the PADLS system is key to protecting the place we all call home.”

An additional $5.309 million is proposed to support the work of the Animal Health & Diagnostic Commission, which plays a critical role in supporting PADLS, providing diagnostic support, research dollars and continued collaboration amongst animal agriculture stakeholders.

University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine is proposed to receive $31.66 million to continue their work in preparing the next generation of leaders in animal health. The PennVet Laboratory of Infectious Diseases and Immunology will receive an additional $295,000 to support infectious disease and pathogen research.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System, visit padls.agriculture.pa.gov.

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