The “High Quality Research Act” is draft legislation prepared by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (1). The draft legislation would require pre-award certification by NSF that research funded by NSF is:
1) In the interests of the United States to advance the national health, prosperity, or welfare, and to secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science;
2) The finest quality, is groundbreaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society at large; and
3) Not duplicative of other research projects being funded by the Foundation or other Federal science agencies.
The NSF currently uses two criteria (intellectual merit and broad impact) to evaluate applications during the peer review process. Read more
By Rod Hill / ASAS Public Policy Committee
Animal scientists have been given a view into the future of global agricultural research via a report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Philip Pardey and Jason Beddow, scholars at the International Science and Technology Practice and Policy Center, University of Minnesota, describe the changing dynamics of global investment in agricultural research. The greatest spending growth has occurred in China, India and Brazil. These countries now play a major role. Funding for agricultural research in these countries increased by 12.5 percent per year between 2000 and 2009. In contrast, spending grew at just 3 percent per year in the U.S. and other high-income countries during that time. Read more
By Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam / ASAS Public Policy Committee
On Apr. 24, 2013, a Federal labeling bill titled “The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act” was proposed with the support of nine senators and 22 representatives. Additionally, 37 genetically engineered (GE) food labeling bills have been introduced in 21 states. None so far have been enacted into law. Thirteen bills have been defeated, including the Proposition 37 initiative that was rejected by California voters in 2012. Hawaii, Washington, Indiana, Missouri and Vermont are among the states with bills pending. The wording of the Federal labeling bill includes the statement that “the process of genetically engineering food organisms results in material changes to food derived from those organisms.”
Though GE crops have unique attributes or traits, for example insect resistance resulting from the expression of the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin that kills lepidopteron caterpillars, the foods derived from GE organisms have not been found to be materially different in health, safety, or nutrition to conventional food. Read more
May 23, 2013 – Shortly after the devastating tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, Dr. Rod Hall, state veterinarian for Oklahoma, extended a formal invitation to American Humane Association’s (AHA) Red Star Animal Emergency Services to officially deploy to the disaster in Moore.
The tornado, reported to be EF-5 strength and two miles wide, touched down in the Oklahoma City area on Monday killing at least 24 people.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the people in Oklahoma as they begin recover and rebuild. Just as people are adversely affected by a natural disaster, so are our animals–both those we keep as pets and those on our farms and ranches,” said Animal Agriculture Alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith. “The Alliance is encouraging its members to donate to worthy causes which will be on the ground in Oklahoma helping in this devastating storm’s aftermath.” Read more
By Sam Jones-Ellard / USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
WASHINGTON, May 23, 2013—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a final rule to modify the labeling provisions for muscle cut commodities covered under the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) program. Read more