The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for July 12, 2002

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.

>  Novartis announced that, after 12 years in his current position as Head of Animal Health, Hans-Beat Gürtler will retire at the end of August.  During his tenure at the helm of Novartis Animal Health, Hans-Beat reengineered the division to its current standalone structure and tripled sales, mainly through a new product portfolio allied to several acquisitions.  The new Head of Animal Health will be Kurt Schmidt, who has close to 17 years experience in the consumer goods industry, mainly with Kraft Foods. (company press release)

>  Merial is sponsoring a public service campaign to raise awareness of rabies. The majority of rabies infection cases reported to state health offices in 200 involved wild animals like raccoons, skunks, and bats, which are seen more often in neighborhoods as urban sprawl continues. Animal health experts recommend owners take their pet to the veterinarian for regular annual visits, discuss rabies and other diseases with their veterinarian, and update all vaccinations. (company press release)

>  Neogen Corporation announced the release of the world’s first rapid test to ensure ruminant by-products in animal feed and feed supplements are properly labeled. The new test complements the company’s test introduced in early May to detect ruminant by-products in animal protein meal used in the production of animal feed.  Neogen’s new Agri-Screen for Ruminant in Feed Test is designed for use by feedlots, dairies, and marketers of feed products, as well as regulators and auditors of final feed quality and safety. This test is intended to be used to verify that ruminant feed and feed supplements are properly labeled, and do not contain FDA-banned materials. (company press release)

>  Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. announced that, effective July 1, 2002, Vetrepharm Animal Health has been renamed Bioniche Animal Health. This reinforces a consistent identity across all of the Company’s business units, Bioniche Pharma, Bioniche Therapeutics, Bioniche Food Safety and Bioniche Animal Health.  The integrated use of Bioniche across all four divisions of Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. also reflects synergies within the organization such as shared resources including regulatory affairs, research facilities and general administration. (AnimalNet)


Brakke Consulting and Dr. Robin Oakley of Oakley Consulting in Europe have agreed to terminate their consulting agreement after four years.  Brakke Consulting will continue to provide consulting services in Europe under the coordination of Dr. Gilles Guillemette.

Dr. Guillemette started his career and has extensive experience in Europe, and has developed numerous contacts and resources to provide our clients with the services they require.  Please feel free to contact Dr. Guillemette at 816-421-1211 or, or our Dallas office, if you are in need of consulting services in Europe.


> DENMARK   Investigators in Holland have found that the banned growth promoter medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) has been found in pigs on 29 farms. The hormone, which is used in contraceptive pills and as hormone replacement therapy in humans, is permitted as a growth promoter in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, but is banned in Europe.  The Dutch authorities are concerned that the numbers of farms discovered using MPA is going to grow.  At present the largest concentration found in meat from the Dutch farms has been eight parts per billion and the Dutch agriculture ministry has said that such low concentration poses no threat to human health. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  ITALY   Italy has reported its 67th case of BSE. The case was discovered on a breeding farm in Caselette near Turin. The case was discovered following tests by the Turin based zoological institute. Since the first case of BSE was discovered last year Italy has tested 830,000 animals. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  IRELAND   The Irish Minister for Agriculture and Food has announced the first phase of a major initiative to provide for the identification and tracing of pigs and for the eradication of Aujeszky’s Disease from the national pig herd. The National Pig Identification and Tracing System (NPITS) provides for herd identification (in some instances by the use of tags) of the country’s 1,100 pig herds and for recording by means of a centrally managed database of all movements of pigs into or out of these herds. This will include movements involving slaughter, import, export or inter-farm movements. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  US   The recent ruling in a South Dakota court which will halt the beef checkoff has put all federal ag checkoff programs on alert. USDA officials have indicated they will appeal the decision at the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Bush Administration favors the programs and is committed to keeping them in place. The administration argues that the government runs the programs. Therefore, the advertisements (which are drawing all the attention) represent the government’s views and not those of the producers. Consequently, producers wouldn’t have a First Amendment complaint against them. (Pork Alert)

>  US   The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted a request for stay which allows the beef promotion program to continue without interruption while the appeal is pending.  A decision by a District Court in South Dakota ruled that the Beef Promotion and Research Act is unconstitutional and directed that the collection of assessments cease on July 15.  However, the stay postpones implementation of the South Dakota decision and the beef promotion and research program will continue to operate and conduct operations as normal while the appeal is pending.  This stay was requested by the Department of Justice on behalf of USDA. (USDA press release)

>  US   Sheep ranchers will begin paying federal industry fees for advertising and research in a checkoff program similar to one for the beef industry that a federal judge recently struck down. The USDA said this week it planned to begin collecting sheep industry dues to help promote lamb sales. While the sheep fees are mandatory, sheep ranchers are allowed to request a refund. (AP)

>  AUSTRALIA   Australia’s 115 million sheep are set to get special identification tags in a bid to protect the nation’s disease-free status.  The ear tags are part of the National Flock Identification Scheme, and will not only number every individual sheep but also identify its home property.  It follows growing demands from overseas markets for suppliers such as Australia to have trace-back systems in place for its products.  (AnimalNet – Sydney Morning Herald)

>  US   New York University School of Medicine scientists reported that immunization of mice with a non-toxic genetically engineered prion, a protein that causes a group of fatal brain diseases including BSE, delayed the onset of brain disease in mice. The findings were reported in the July 2002 issue of the American Journal of Pathology and later reported by University of Guelph. Previous research has shown it may be feasible to recruit the immune system to fight prion-related disease. The new study is the first to show a vaccine can delay symptoms in a natural model of prion disease in mice. The vaccine approach may be more easily applied to animals, such as cattle, at risk for developing prion disease, than to humans, according to the researchers. Although the experimental vaccine did not prevent brain disease, the study shows that it could break the body’s tolerance to prion protein by inducing an immune response in the form of antibodies in mice. (Wattnet Meatnews)


>  A USDA report shows that U.S. farmers planted 13 percent more biotech crops in 2002 compared to 2001. Here’s a breakdown of U.S. biotech acres by crop:
   -Soybeans: 75 percent in 2002 vs. 68 percent in 2001.
   -Corn: 34 percent in 2002 vs. 26 percent in 2001.
   -Upland cotton: 71 percent in 2002 vs. 69 percent in 2001. (Pork Alert)


And now, a little light relief:

Band of Roving Chief Executives Spotted Miles from Mexican Border

Unwilling to wait for their eventual indictments, the 10,000 remaining CEOs of public U.S. companies made a break for it yesterday, heading for the Mexican border, plundering towns and villages along the way, and writing the entire rampage off as a marketing expense.

“They came into my home, made me pay for my own TV, then double-booked the revenues,” said Rachel Sanchez of Las Cruces, just north of El Paso. “Right in front of my daughters.”

Calling themselves the CEOnistas, the chief executives were first spotted last night along the Rio Grande River near Quemado, where they bought each of the town’s 320 residents by borrowing against pension fund gains. By late this morning, the CEOnistas had arbitrarily inflated Quemado’s population to 960, and declared a 200 percent profit for the fiscal second quarter.

This morning, the outlaws bought the city of Waco, transferred its underperforming areas to a private partnership, and sent a bill to California for $4.5 billion.

Law enforcement officials and disgruntled shareholders riding posse were noticeably frustrated.

“First of all, they’re very hard to find because they always stand behind their numbers, and the numbers keep shifting,” said posse spokesman Dean Lewitt. “And every time we yell ’Stop in the name of the shareholders!’ they refer us to investor relations. I’ve been on the phone all damn morning.”

“YOU’LL NEVER AUDIT ME ALIVE!” they scream. The pursuers said they have had some success, however, by preying on a common executive weakness. “Last night we caught about 24 of them by disguising one of our female officers as a CNBC anchor,” said U.S. Border Patrol spokesperson Janet Lewis. “It was like moths to a flame.”

Also, teams of agents have been using high-powered listening devices to scan the plains for telltale sounds of the CEOnistas. “Most of the time we just hear leaves rustling or cattle flicking their tails,” said Lewis, “but occasionally we’ll pick up someone saying, ’I was totally out of the loop on that.”

Among former and current CEOs apprehended with this method were Computer Associates’ Sanjay Kumar, Adelphia’s John Rigas, Enron’s Ken Lay, Joseph Nacchio of Qwest, Joseph Berardino of Arthur Andersen, and every Global Crossing CEO since 1997. ImClone Systems’ Sam Waksal and Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco were not allowed to join the CEOnistas as they have already been indicted.

So far, about 50 chief executives have been captured, including Martha Stewart, who was detained south of El Paso where she had cut through a barbed-wire fence at the Zaragosa border crossing off Highway 375. “She would have gotten away, but she was stopping motorists to ask for marzipan and food coloring so she could make edible snowman place settings, using the cut pieces of wire for the arms,” said Border Patrol officer Jenette Cushing. “We put her in cell No. 7, because the morning sun really adds texture to the stucco walls.”

While some stragglers are believed to have successfully crossed into Mexico, Cushing said the bulk of the CEOnistas have holed themselves up at the Alamo. “No, not the fort, the car rental place at the airport,” she said. “They’re rotating all the tires on the minivans and accounting for each change as a sale.”

Hope you CEO’s are able to laugh at yourselves a bit. (anonymous)


We hope you enjoyed the article on CEO’s that has been moving through Texas this week.  We’ll address the situation in a more serious manner in the near future.

This week brought an announcement at Novartis Animal Health that Hans-Beat Gürtler would retire at the end of August.  After 33 years with the company, Hans-Beat has been the head of Animal Health for the past 12 years.  While Hans-Beat was at the helm, Novartis became a major player in the animal health industry.  Much of the growth in the past few years in the total heartworm and flea & tick markets can be traced back to Novartis under his leadership.  Novartis Animal Health was also one of the pioneer companies in development of agency programs with distributors, which has become commonplace today.

We have enjoyed our relationship with Hans-Beat these past few years, and wish him the best in the future.  Hans-Beat, for a job well done, “Congratulations!”

Have a great weekend.

[Ron Brakke]

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