TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Department of Homeland Security officials are telling a panel of researchers that a new animal research lab is still needed, even though federal funds are scarce. Undersecretary Tara O'Toole said Friday in Washington that the threat of existing and emerging animal health disease remains real. She says construction of the proposed $650 million National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas should move forward. A panel of the National Research Council is reviewing plans for the lab, which is to be built near Kansas State University in Manhattan. The National Research Council is part of the National Academy of Sciences. Among the issues are whether the threat of deadly animal diseases warrants construction of the lab, and whether the planned size and scope are appropriate.