July 01, 2009

 

 Funding shortage forces closure of Fresno lab

posted June 16, 2009
 

Budget shortfalls have caused the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System to close its Fresno location effective July 19.

The laboratory system, operated by the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine since 1987, provides diagnostic services for veterinarians and animal producers in California's agricultural heartland. Closure of the nearly 60-year-old Fresno laboratory will shift diagnostic testing to other facilities in the laboratory system, according to a May 18 UC-Davis press release.

Dean Bennie I. Osburn said reduced state funding combined with rising costs associated with managing a sophisticated laboratory system has left it struggling to maintain services. Compounded by the weak economy, the dire fiscal situation has left the system with a projected funding deficit of more than $2 million in 2009-2010.

The laboratory system has its reference laboratory at UC-Davis and branch laboratories in Turlock, Fresno, Tulare, and San Bernardino. The network of diagnostic laboratories receives approximately 80 percent of its funding from a contract with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The remainder comes from fee-for-service testing provided to veterinarians and agricultural producers.

The laboratory system has contacted area veterinarians and agricultural producers via e-mail, alerting them to the Fresno laboratory's impending closure and informing them of plans for continued diagnostic services.