To the House of Representatives:
I am returning today without my approval H.R. 11873, an act authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage and assist States in carrying out programs of animal health research.
I believe, as do proponents of this bill, that veterinary research has helped to make American livestock the healthiest and most productive in the world. We must continue to maintain high standards of research.
But I also believe that this bill adds little to the existing programs of the Department of Agriculture and other agencies.
We are presently spending over $40 million on programs involving animal health research, and nearly every land grant college and colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States is participating in these programs.
This bill, however, would establish a new categorical grant program that would authorize an expenditure of an additional $47 million annually and would be duplicative of many programs that already exist. The overlapping would be especially true of programs in fish and shellfish research and predator control.
Because this bill would add further to the Federal taxpayers' burdens without significantly meeting national needs and would only add to inflationary pressures within the economy, I feel that I must withhold my approval.
GERALD R. FORD
The White House,
August 14, 1974.