"The agricultural and food infrastructure of the United States may be susceptible to terrorist attack using biological pathogens. In addition to the economic effects of such an attack, some animal pathogens could cause illness in humans. Diseases that can spread from animals to people are known as zoonotic diseases. Scientific and medical research on plant and animal diseases may lead to the discovery and development of new diagnostics and countermeasures, reducing the risk and effects of a successful terrorist attack. To safeguard the United States against the introduction of non-native animal disease, Congress has appropriated funds to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Some of this work is performed at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), located off the coast of New York. Congress created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003 and transferred ownership and operation of PIADC from USDA to DHS. The USDA and DHS cooperate to conduct foreign animal disease research at PIADC, but they have identified PIADC as outdated and too limited to continue as the primary facility for this research."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34160