Welcome to Plum Island, the nation's only live animal infectious disease lab. On this island, about the size of Central Park, scientists make sure cows and chickens don't go mad with power and kill us all in impotent rage. Or something like that. Chickens are definitely involved at some point in the process.
Basically, they test livestock for foot and mouth disease, among other infections, that could destabilize food prices and cause outbreaks in the U.S. food industry that could cost billions world wide.
Honestly, it's the "among other infections" part that gets my interest. Conspiracy theory much? What else could they be cooking up in their super-not-exactly-secret-but-highly-secure lab? Also, how often does one get to write a story about zombie sheep?