The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for March 21, 2003

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.

>  The European Union has approved the merger of Pfizer and Pharmacia.  The merger must still be cleared through antitrust authorities in the US, but is expected to be completed shortly.  (Feedstuffs)

>  Mars has acquired Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (API).  API enjoys a leading position in the US in water treatments for outdoor ponds and indoor aquaria, and has a long established and successful working relationship with Mars as distributor of its AQUARIAN fish food and RENA aquarium, and aquarium and pond equipment business in the USA and Canada.  Financial terms were not disclosed.  (Pets International)

>  The FDA is amending the animal drug regulations to reflect approval of an abbreviated new animal drug application (ANADA) filed by Phoenix Scientific, Inc. The ANADA provides for the oral use of pyrantel pamoate paste for the removal and control of certain internal parasites in horses and ponies. (AnimalNet – Federal Register)

>  Novartis announced that Deramaxx chewable tablets  have been approved by the FDA for the control of pain and inflammation associated with canine osteoarthritis (OA).  Deramaxx was launched last year with an indication for pain relief following surgery.  (company press release)

>  Milk Specialties announced the acquisition of Buckeye Nutrition, a manufacturer of nutrition products for companion animals.  Financial terms were not disclosed.  Each company will retain its identity, and the two companies will essentially operate as independent businesses. (Feedstuffs)

>  A district court in the USA has thrown out 15 of the charges against Tyson in the case alleging a conspiracy to smuggle immigrant workers. The judge said the prosecutors had failed to prove that the company or any of its managers had requested deliveries of illegal workers from undercover agents posing as smugglers. Tyson and some of its managers are accused of hiring illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Tyson’s lawyers are now presenting their case against the further 12 charges against the company and managers. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. announced that, as previously disclosed, it has converted its registration statement on Form S-1 originally filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 14, 2003 into a shelf registration statement on Form S-3. The new registration statement will allow PETCO to issue up to $55 million of common stock, and will also allow the selling stockholders to sell up to 11,500,000 shares of PETCO’s outstanding common stock.  PETCO currently intends to use the net proceeds from the sale of common stock to redeem $40 million in principal amount of its 10.75% senior subordinated notes or to purchase or otherwise repay indebtedness of the company. PETCO will not receive any proceeds from the sale of common stock by the selling stockholders. (Business Wire)

>  Tate & Lyle PLC and IGENE Biotechnology, Inc announced a 50:50 joint venture to produce AstaXin, a natural source of the pigment astaxanthin, which is widely used in the aquaculture industry.  Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring nutrient that is essential to impart the characteristic red color to farmed fish. Most available astaxanthin is produced via a chemical route, but AstaXin is a natural product produced by the fermentation of carbohydrates. (Business Wire)


The Animal Agriculture Alliance announced its second industry-wide Stakeholders Summit.  This two-day conference, “Challenges to the US Animal Protein Businesses: Domestic and International Responses, Risks and Repositioning,” is scheduled for May 12th – 14th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Crystal City, Virginia. In cooperation with Brakke Consulting, Inc. and Rabobank International, the Summit is targeted at senior management of all companies involved from “farm to fork.”  Summit registration and hotel information is available on the Alliance website at

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is a broad-based coalition of individual producers, producer organizations, private industry, packer-processors and retailers, whose mission is to support and promote animal agriculture practices that provide for farm animal well-being through sound science and public information.


>  KOREA    South Korea, which has not exported pork since 2000, plans to vaccinate more than half a million hogs to contain a swine fever outbreak after confirming its first case of 2003. Swine fever was first reported in April of last year and the most recent case had been in December before health authorities confirmed a case this week on a farm in the southwest of the country. (AnimalNet – Reuters)

>  SPAIN   The Spanish agriculture ministry has recorded four new cases of BSE. The new cases bring the number of cases reported this year to 37 and to 248 since the disease was first discovered in Spain. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  SLOVENIA   Slovenia confirmed its third case of BSE in a three-and-a-half-year-old cow slaughtered 10 days ago. The suspected case was detected on March 7 through mandatory testing carried out in Slovenia on all cattle older than 24 months. (AnimalNet – Agence France Presse)

>  JAPAN   Researchers from Japan’s Kagoshima University say they have discovered a new enzyme that breaks down a protein particle that is believed to be the transmitter of BSE. The enzyme is reportedly more powerful and effective than one found last November by a different research team. The new enzyme is effective in sterilizing meat-and-bone meal and disinfecting devices used in slaughterhouses.  The new enzyme was created using a type of actinomycete bacteria used for making antibiotics. (Meating Place)

>  US   The General Accounting Office issued a report stating that the country’s food supply is vulnerable to terrorist attacks, partly because the government cannot ensure the security of processing plants. At the same time, the USDA told food companies, retailers and farmers to increase security because of the heightened security alert. The FDA issued additional security guidelines to food companies, including employee background checks, banning workers from bringing purses or other personal items into food-storage areas and training workers to recognize suspicious behavior or possible food tampering. The FDA also increased inspections of certain food factories and of imported foods. (AP)

>  US   In observation of National Poison Prevention Week (March 16 -22), the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center launched an engaging, fun and educational feature on their website ( titled “Make Your Pet’s Home Poison Safe” to educate pet owners about common household toxins and guidelines to prevent accidental pet poisonings in the home.  The online experience will enable users to walk through an animated model of a house with poisonous items in four room types: bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and garage.  Each room will feature five to six toxic items frequently found in the home (medications, cleaning products, foods, plants, etc.).  The user can mouse over the item and click to safely store or remove it from the room.  Simultaneously, a text box describing the danger will pop-up.  (PRNewswire)


How could the current war with Iraq impact the animal health and nutrition businesses in 2003?  Here are some of our thoughts:
 – consumer confidence could be negatively impacted, resulting in reduced sales of high value meats and pet products
– increased costs of energy (petroleum)-related products could increase the costs of doing business
– security and travel restrictions could inhibit international activities.  Other than tighter security, we see little impact on US air travel.
– bioterrorists could threaten the food supply in a number of ways.  Are we prepared to rapidly detect the many pests and pathogens that could be used to disrupt our food production?  Biological agents could be used to harm livestock or food production facilities.

While one could create a never-ending list of negatives, we’d prefer to reflect on the positives.  One could create just as easily a positive result for each of the items listed above. We believe that the planning and investment in counter-terrorist activities since September 11, 2001 is unprecedented in our history.  We suggest a “business as usual” approach with a heightened level of alertness to what is happening around us.  It is also a good time to pray for the safety of all those involved or caught in the activities of war.

Have a great weekend.
Ron Brakke

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