07/07/10 — State animal disease lab in Rose Hill will close

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State animal disease lab in Rose Hill will close

By Staff Reports
Published in News on July 7, 2010 1:46 PM

The state budget approved by the General Assembly this week eliminated funding for the Rose Hill Animal Disease Laboratory in Duplin County, and the lab will close July 16.

The lab conducts necropsies and blood tests. It will not accept diagnostic samples or carcasses for necropsy after Tuesday.

"We regret that the Rose Hill lab is closing, but continued budget reductions forced agencies and legislators to make some very difficult decisions," said state veterinarian David Marshall. "Trying to keep five labs properly maintained and equipped became too costly."

Closing the lab, which is operated by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, will eliminate seven positions and save the state about $432,000 annually. The seven displaced employees will have priority in applying for other state jobs for which they are qualified.

The lab's closure should not affect the state's ability to conduct mandated regulatory disease testing, Marshall said. "The diagnostic tests that have been performed at Rose Hill will be handled by the department's full-service Rollins Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Raleigh," he said. "We are working with farmers to help them make this transition."

The state's veterinary diagnostic lab system was established in 1950 to assist animal owners and their veterinarians in diagnosing diseases of livestock and poultry, and in preventing outbreaks of catastrophic foreign animal diseases by early detection. In addition to Rollins, the department operates branch labs in Arden, Elkin and Monroe.

Information about the lab system is available online at www.ncagr.gov/vet/ncvdl.