The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for October 10, 2003

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
You can now use this section to jump directly to a news item about a particular company.  Simply click on the company name.
Digital Angel
eMerge Interactive
IMI Global
Micro Beef Technologies
Smithfield Foods
Swift & Co (earnings)
Veterinary Products Laboratories

>  Swift & Co. reported results for its first fiscal quarter 2004 ended August 24, 2003.  Net sales rose 16% to $2.48 billion, while first-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 87% to $95.2 million. The company’s Swift Beef unit posted first-quarter operating income up 42% to $62.1 million, while Swift Pork posted a 187% rise in operating income to $14.7 million. (Meating Place)

>  QIAGEN N.V. and Merial Limited announced that Merial has acquired the assets of QIAGEN’s Pecura business acquired and developed by QIAGEN.  The technology portfolio of the Pecura division includes the veterinary rights to a novel class of drugs that are based on immunostimulatory dinucleotides, which are believed to have promising potential in veterinary applications for livestock and companion animals. Pecura has an exclusive license from Coley Pharmaceutical Group, Inc. for the use of the CpG oligonucleotides in animals. As part of the agreement, QIAGEN has retained certain rights to the technologies applicable for research tools. Financial terms were not disclosed.  (PRNewswire)
>  Veterinary Products Laboratories announced the impending launch of Modipher EQ Mist (Equine Appeasing Pheromone) at the National AAEP convention in late November.  The product is for equine veterinarians who wish to offer an alternative to owners looking for a natural, safe and effective way to reduce stress and thereby modify horse behavior caused by fear-based stress.  Modipher EQ is based on a technology using maternal pheromones that has been available for years, and recommended and used by certified behaviorists and veterinarians in Europe.  It is intended to be used as an aid in the management and reduction of anxiety that may occur during the following stress-inducing situation. (company press release)
> Digital Angel Corp. announced that the USDA has ordered 300,000 units of an electronic tracking system that the company won federal approval for earlier this year. The system includes an implantable microchip about the size of a grain of rice and an electronic ear tag. (AnimalNet – Knight-Ridder Tribune)
>  The US Justice Department has ruled that the sale of Farmland Industries’ pork business to another large processor would not create an unfair monopoly. Ruling allows the sale of the bankrupt cooperative’s pork business to either Smithfield Foods or Cargill, or another company. (Wattnet Meatnews)
>  A coalition of five agricultural data service companies jointly announced plans to create the beef industry’s first data exchange standards, to be known as Beef Information Exchange.  The five participants are all also actively involved in the USDA’s National Identification Development Team.  The companies involved include AgInfoLink USA, APEIS Corp., eMerge Interactive, IMI Global, and Micro Beef Technologies. (company press release)

Brakke Consulting announces upcoming seminar
“Improving Recruiting and Interviewing Skills”
November 18 – 19, 2003
Among the most important activities involved in building and maintaining a high performance organization are the recruiting, selection, and retention of high caliber personnel.  Yet most organizations devote very little time to developing a consistent process and providing appropriate training to the managers within their organization who are charged with this important responsibility.
Brakke Consulting, in conjunction with Pegasus Training, has designed a 1½ day training seminar that will address the skill sets needed to improve the recruitment, selection, and retention of quality personnel.
The seminar will be taught by consultants with many years of experience in recruiting and training activities.  Identifying, qualifying, interviewing, and hiring individuals that meet your company’s personnel profile is a challenge. This seminar will assist attendees from your company in meeting that challenge. 
The seminar will be held in Dallas on November 18 and 19. If you have any additional questions, please contact our Dallas office at 972-243-4033.  Online registration is also available on our web site at

>  CANADA  Genetic tests have confirmed that the lone cow diagnosed with BSE was born in Canada, on a farm in Saskatchewan.  The cow was born in 1997, just before a North American ban on including protein from cattle and other ruminants in cattle feed.  (AnimalNet – Reuters)
>  JAPAN  Japan’s health ministry reported the nation’s eighth case of BSE in a 23-month-old bull slaughtered last month. The bull is the world’s youngest animal shown to be infected with the disease.  Japan is the only Asian nation to confirm the presence of BSE with seven confirmed cases since September 2001. Since October 2001, every cow slaughtered for consumption in Japan has been screened for BSE. (Meating Place)
>  EU   The European Union Council of Agriculture Ministers  voted for new legislation to control outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. The European Commission says the new directive sets out detailed measures to rapidly control and eradicate the disease, and outlines procedures on recovering the status “free of FMD and infection without vaccination.” The new directive also includes measures to ensure a high level of preparedness against the disease. Member states must comply with the provisions by June 30, 2004, at the latest. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>   US   Development continues on the US Animal Identification Plan, and the latest draft of the plan is available online. The plan’s intent is to protect US animal agriculture by helping safeguard animal health. The US Animal Health Association and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will review the current draft during the USAHA’s annual meeting this month. The draft plan recommends: (1) all states have a premises-identification system in place by July 2004; (2) unique, individual or group/lot numbers be available for issue by February 2005; (3) all cattle, swine and small ruminants possess individual or group/lot identification for interstate movement by July 2005; and (4) all animals of the remaining species/industries noted previously be in similar compliance by July 2006.  To view an executive summary or the complete draft plan, visit (Pork Alert)
>  UK   British scientists are assessing whether BSE has crossed from cattle to sheep on Britain’s farms. Questions emerged last week when some “puzzling” results surfaced from 28 sheep-brain samples out of 30,000 that were tested. Additional tests could take months before any conclusions can be drawn.  The three explanations being examined are that there was a problem with the testing method; that the results confirm the existence of scrapie, a BSE-like sheep disease; or that BSE has spread from cows to sheep. Sheep have been viewed as a theoretical risk. Tests on sheep infected experimentally with BSE suggest that the disease infects far more tissue that it does in cattle.  (Pork Alert)
>  US    The Iams Pet Imaging Center has determined that  strokes (brain infarctions) are more common in small animals than previously believed. Since opening in the spring of 2002, the Iams Pet Imaging Center has provided diagnostic information for more than 1,600 pets, about a fourth of which suffered neurological disorders of the brain. Out of those brain cases, it was determined 10% of dogs scanned experienced a stroke, which were generally believed not to occur in dogs. A lower percentage of cats have been diagnosed as having a stroke. (PRNewswire)
>  US   Beef producers across the US will soon receive firsthand information about how their beef checkoff dollars are used. The delivery vehicle: a “Beefmobile,” a van emblazoned with beef art that will travel across the country and visit livestock marketing facilities. In addition to delivering information to beef producers, the Beefmobile will have a consumer component and whet consumer appetites for beef.  Funding this multi-purpose promotional vehicle is the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which comprises 108 beef producers who oversee the $1-per-head Beef Checkoff Program. (Wattnet Meatnews)
>  US    Exposure to high levels of cat allergen as a child may prevent the development of allergies, according to a study published in the October 2003 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI).  The study found that, despite cat being the most common allergens of sensitization, keeping these animals at home was not related to an increased risk for the development of sensitization between age 7 and age 11. Children who continually owned cats or dogs had a lower incidence of developing allergies to the animal compared to new pet owners and to those who had only been exposed earlier in life. Among the children allergic to cats, 80% had never kept a cat at home. Researchers found that persistent exposure to high levels of cat and dog allergen appears to be protective against the development of an allergy among both boys and girls. (PRNewswire)
>  US    Cat owners can toilet train their cat and get rid of litter-box odors with The Feline Evolution CatSeat, by Evolve Products. The CatSeat is used initially as a litter-box, then mounted on the toilet. It has already been successfully used by several thousand cat owners during the three-year testing phase prior to its release onto the market this year.  has “litter texture” retractable shelves to compensate for the lack of litter and a slightly oversized toilet seat to support heavier or older cats. (PRNewswire)

This week brings us some interesting stories related to new technologies, either being developed or entering the animal health market.  It appears that the age of electronic ID and computer systems to monitor food animals is just around the corner.  How could health records for individual animals, stored on a chop in the animal, impact your business?  When these chips also become bio-sensors that can routinely monitor the animal’s temperature, it will have an even bigger impact on herd health programs.  Is your firm ready for the new electronic age?
Next week is the deadline for receiving the early registration discount for the Brakke Consulting/Pegasus seminar “Improving Recruitment and Interviewing Skills.”  Our experiences with many of our clients has suggested that many of your managers could benefit from this training.  It’s going to take some well-trained personnel to sell “the Feline Evolution CatSeat.”
Have a great weekend.
Ron Brakke

This electronic newsletter is the sole property of Brakke
Consulting, Inc.
Any use of the contents herein should be approved by
and appropriately attributed to Brakke Consulting, Inc.
For more information about Brakke Consulting’s services
and syndicated studies, visit our website at

In order to receive the HTML version instead of the text
version of this newsletter, use the link at the bottom of this
week’s newsletter that states: “If you would like for us to
remove your name from the circulation list, or if you need to
change your profile or email address, please click here”.
Then click on the button below your email address that
says HTML, and click “Update subscription.”


en_USEnglish (United States)