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WHEREAS,New Jersey Division of Animal Health, Animal Diagnostic Laboratory is an essential component of successful farm animal operations in the state.  It is instrumental in animal disease prevention, animal health and also contributes to the surveillance and control of zoonotic diseases that pose threats to humans; and 

WHEREAS, the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory faces many issues – emerging diseases that require new test development, rapid emergency response capabilities in the event of a disease outbreak, the ability to process samples and report out results rapidly and effectively and the need to continue to be a part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).  The NAHLN is an initiative undertaken by the United States after the United Kingdom’s outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease (1998) and in response to the 9/11/2001 attack on the United States by terrorists.  In a national declaration, it was proposed that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will partner with selected states to undertake continued surveillance for the potential introduction (intentional or unintentional) of devastating foreign animal diseases to the United States and hence prevent the negative economic and trade effects it would have on the United States economy; and

WHEREAS, in order to keep up with current testing, the Division of Animal Health is required to upgrade its equipment, hire qualified professionals, train staff in the most current techniques, have a laboratory information system (LIMS) that is capable of managing internal data including testing results and reporting, billing and other essential functions, in addition to communicating with our federal partners (USDA) through a secure server and to provide our clients with web access results so they can make quicker diagnoses and respond to disease in a faster, more efficient manner; and

WHEREAS, in order to be considered for future funding and continuation of NAHLN status, it is required that the Division of Animal Health implement ISO-17025 quality assurance (QA) standards and have a LIMS system capable of messaging USDA in standard set code (HL7); and

WHEREAS, when implementing QA standards and meeting the requisites set forth by the animal diagnostic accreditation body, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), the Division of Animal Health will pursue accreditation, endowing the Division with the credibility the laboratory deserves for the quality of work it performs; and

WHEREAS, being an accredited laboratory provides the Division national and international recognition and ensures adherence to standards set by the International Organization of Epizooties, the international group that oversees animal health; and

WHEREAS, the future of New Jersey’s animal health relies on the lab’s diagnostic capabilities and the ability to continue to grow and establish itself as a nationally and internationally recognized accredited laboratory.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 93rd State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on February 6, 2008, support the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory Development and Accreditation Initiative and respectfully urge the Governor and Legislature to work with the Department to further implement the components of that Initiative.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Governor and State Legislature to provide increased funding for hiring of professional staff required for the growth of the laboratory and to meet the current demands in animal diseases diagnosis.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the NJDA-DAH in acquiring a LIMS for its laboratory and that we respectfully request that the Legislature appropriate a budget to ensure that DAH will be able to continue as a NAHLN lab with its animal disease surveillance, tracking and reporting system to protect the agriculture industry in New Jersey.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we, the delegates, continue to support the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory development and accreditation, essential for national and international recognition.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we, the delegates, urge the state to invest in the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory so that we ensure that diseases (or threats of disease) will be identified quickly and that appropriate action can be taken to prevent the transmission of these diseases which could harm the public or other animals.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we, the delegates, recognize the need for the state to develop the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory and therefore support the expansion of services and accreditation endeavor provided by the Division of Animal Health, Animal Diagnostic Laboratory in order to maintain and enhance the services it provides.