WHEREAS, these risks demand that we have in place a diagnostic laboratory capable of new test development, a capacity for rapid emergency response in the event of a disease outbreak, and the ability to process samples and report out results rapidly and effectively; and
WHEREAS, such a diagnostic laboratory would increase the cost-efficiency of animal diagnostic testing, position the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health to take a more prominent role in addressing local, regional and national animal disease outbreaks, allow for more state-federal working relationships that bring with them additional federal funding, and help to minimize the negative economic consequences to animal agriculture from disease outbreaks; and
WHEREAS, to remain relevant and successful, the diagnostic laboratory must continue to be a part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), 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; and
WHEREAS, in a national declaration, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stated that in the case of an animal health disease outbreak, it will partner only with selected state labs that have NAHLN capacity to undertake continued surveillance for the potential introduction (intentional or unintentional) of devastating foreign animal diseases into the United States and hence help to prevent the negative economic and trade effects such an introduction would have on the United States economy.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 96th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on February 8-9, 2011, support the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory Development and Accreditation Initiative and urge the Governor and Legislature to work with the Department to further implement the components of that Initiative.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the Division’s goal of certification by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, which incorporates by reference the World Organization for Animal Health (Office International
des Epizooties) (OIE) document “OIE Quality Standard and Guidelines for Veterinary Laboratories: Infectious Diseases, 2008” from the Standards Commission of the Office International des Epizooties as a guide to specific requirements for accreditation.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Governor and Legislature to provide sufficient funding to staff and equip the laboratory for certification. This funding is necessary to hire additional prescribed professional and technical staff including: a board certified pathologist, diener, histotechnician, information technology application support and a quality manager, all of which are critical to addressing natural outbreaks and bioterrorism event prevention and mitigation.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the Division’s goal of maintaining and enhancing its credentials as a satellite laboratory for the National Veterinary Services Laboratory Network, and recommend that an appropriate budget is provided so that the program requirements for animal disease surveillance, tracking and reporting are fulfilled.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support maintaining the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory as co-located with, but not consolidated into, the Department of Health Lab.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the co-location, upkeep and maintenance of the Division’s mobile laboratory, acquired with federal funds for emergency response, at the new laboratory so that it can be functional at that site and can be deployed in the event of a disease outbreak and be available for emergency response.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the Department’s efforts to obtain a digester to allow for cost-effective carcass disposal at the new laboratory, which would allow constituents to submit carcasses for necropsy at a reasonable cost.
The state must increase its investment 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 and/or other animals. The New Jersey Division of Animal Health, Animal Diagnostic Laboratory is an essential component of successful farm animal operations in the state, and is instrumental in animal disease prevention, animal health and also contributes to the surveillance and control of zoonotic diseases that pose threats to humans.
To maintain functionality, retain NAHLN certification and obtain AAVLD accreditation, the Division of Animal Health must maintain and 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 capable of messaging USDA in standard set code (HL7); and to provide our clients with web access results so they can make quicker diagnoses and respond to diseases in a faster, more efficient manner. Continuous IT support is needed for the LIMS system as it is critical to develop the needed functions and maintain them.
American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) accreditation involves inspection and approval by impartial outside entities, who review the operation of the laboratory to determine if it is in accordance with the specifications set forth by AAVLD. The AAVLD has adopted the international standards set forth by the World Health Organization for animal health (OIE). Accreditation affords credibility and enhanced business opportunities in addition to improved capability to identify diseases of importance to animals and humans.