The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for June 28, 2002

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
Company Earnings Releases

>  ConAgra Foods Inc. reported a 58.7% profit increase for its fourth quarter, beating Wall Street estimates.  The company earned $192 million for the quarter ended May 26, up from $121 million in the same period last year.  Its fourth-quarter sales were steady at $6.4 billion, about the same as a year ago. Sales of packaged foods increased, while sales declined in its meat processing, food ingredients and agricultural products divisions. For the year, ConAgra had net income of $783 million up from $638 million a year ago. Revenue rose to $27.6 billion from $27.1 billion a year earlier. (AP)

Company News Releases

>   A chemical drum exploded at the Pfizer Corp. research lab in Groton, CT Tuesday, blowing the roof off a warehouse and injuring seven people, two critically.  The explosion happened inside a small warehouse used to store chemicals for making batches of test pharmaceuticals.  The blast peeled the metal roof off the building and blew out windows on an adjacent building.  About 4,500 people are employed at the Groton facility. Four buildings in the complex were evacuated and roads in the area were blocked off.  No residents were evacuated, and police said there was no danger to the community. (AP)

>  Anika Therapeutics, Inc. announced it has renewed its contract with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. to market Anika’s HYVISC product. HYVISC is an injectable, high molecular weight hyaluronic acid-based product used in the treatment of joint dysfunction in horses associated with equine osteoarthritis.  The new contract extends exclusive U.S. marketing rights for HYVISC to BIV through May 2006. (Business Wire)

>  Pharmacia announced the launch of Q-MAX Maximum Milk Quality Plan, a new online mastitis management program.  The Q-MAX plan is based on the premise that quality milk production requires clean cows with clean udders.  The goal is to reduce the incidence and duration of intramammary infections.  (company press release)   

>  PETsMART, Inc. announced it has filed a registration statement in connection with a proposed underwritten public offering of 14.5 million shares of its Common Stock, plus an over-allotment option of 2,175,000 shares.  Of these shares, 13,182,584 are being offered by entities affiliated with Carrefour SA, and 1,317,416 shares (plus the shares in the over-allotment option) are being offered by PETsMART.  (Business Wire)

>  Central Garden Pet Company announced that the United States District Court granted the Scotts Company’s motion for summary judgment against Central in the suit which Central had originally filed in July 2000 seeking damages and injunctive relief as well as restitution for, among other things, violation of the federal antitrust laws. Central intends to appeal the order granting summary judgment to Scotts.  Central does not anticipate any charge to earnings based on the court’s decision and expects that future litigation costs relating to this case will be reduced substantially. (Business Wire)

>  ProLinia, Inc. and the University of Georgia have produced three healthy cloned piglets from skin cells from a commercial hog.  Prolinia has licensed technology from Geron Corporation, the company that owns the technology used to clone Dolly the sheep. ProLinia has subsequently filed three additional improvement patents. This is the first time ProLinia has cloned hogs.  Smithfield Foods has already partnered with ProLinia to implement cloning within a large-scale hog production operation as part of a technology development agreement. The agreement is non-exclusive and ProLinia plans to commercialize the technology with other large-scale producers. (company press release)

>  Arkansas’ Supreme Court has ruled that ConAgra did not violate trade secret laws when it used a feed formula that was identical to the one developed by Tyson Foods. The ruling set aside an earlier $20 million judgment that Tyson won earlier. The Supreme Court said Tyson’s feed formula was not a trade secret and the poultry producer didn’t have to have a post-employment agreement with its employees to protect its secrets. (Wattnet Meatnews)

> has launched Vision by PigCHAMP, a record-keeping system that is 100% internet based, to provide the next generation of swine information and knowledge management systems.  Vision offers SPC charting and real-time benchmarking.  Data entry and reviewing of data is done through the web browser, and the software is upgraded automatically.  (Pig Progress)


We continue to invest in and improve the quality of our newsletter and other services.  Today marks the first day that Brakke Consulting’s Animal Health News & Notes is being sent out from a  listserv format.  We expect the transition to go smoothly.  If you have difficulties with the new format, please email us at and inform us of the problem.

Thank you for your readership.

Animal Health News

>  SPAIN   A new case of BSE has been reported in Spain. The case was confirmed on a farm in the Coaña municipality in the Asturias province. This bring to 60 the number of cases reported this year and 142 since the first case of the disease was discovered in Spain. Earlier this month cases were also reported in other provinces. (WattNet Meatnews)

>  KOREA   Three pigs at a farm outside of Seoul have tested positive for foot-and-mouth
disease in final tests.  The authorities will cull a total of 6,138 cloven-hoofed animals, mainly pigs and cows, in the affected farm and neighboring areas. This will bring the total culled to contain the outbreak of the disease since May 4 to 133,770 animals. (AnimalNet – Reuters)

>  GERMANY   More than 1,500 sheep have been slaughtered at a farm in central Germany as a precaution to prevent an outbreak of the livestock disease scrapie.  An entire flock was slaughtered after tests confirmed one animal was infected with scrapie.  Scrapie is a member of a family of ailments that includes BSE. The case was the third this year in Hesse. (AP)

>  FRANCE   The European Commission has given France 15 days to lift its ban on British beef. The move follows the European Court ruling last December, which said that France was breaking European law by banning imports of British beef under the Date Based Export Scheme. However, the French agriculture minister and health minister, as well as the secretary for small and medium-sized enterprises, have called for a new scientific analysis of the situation. They added that it would probably be September before a decision is reached. The president of the British farming union (NFU) stated that if France refused to act, the Commission must seek to impose substantial fines at the earliest opportunity. He added that the illegal activity by France had already spanned more than two-and-a-half years. (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  US   Representative Greg Ganske introduced a bill to expedite the animal drug approval process that would require that animal health companies pay user fees, similar to those collected from companies making human drugs.  Under the proposal, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine would collect fees to be used for more equipment and personnel to reduce the backlog in the animal drug approval process. When a similar program was introduced for human drugs, the backlog was reduced by almost 50% over a seven-year span. The bill’s sponsors propose that CVM meet a set of performance standards, and that the fees start at $5 million per year, eventually increasing to $10 million. (Pork Alert)

>  US   A federal judge dealt a major blow to the national beef checkoff by ruling that the program is unconstitutional. Saying that the checkoff violates individual cattlemen’s First Amendment rights. He ordered a halt to checkoff collections beginning July 15. The judge ruled that beef producers shouldn’t have to pay for advertisements with which they disagree. He also said that producers were paying for ads that benefited others that sell beef, such as restaurants and retail stores. (Pork Alert)

>  US   United Egg Producers (UEP) announced a new certification program that brings significant animal welfare changes to the industry.  The new guidelines, which are based on scientific studies, include increasing the space allowance per hen and improving air quality, beak trimming, molting and handling procedures.  Producers adhering to the guidelines will be audited yearly through an independent certification program. While adherence to the certification program is currently voluntary, the UEP received an overwhelmingly positive response as it unveiled the program in January to producers. 135 of the top egg-producing companies in the U.S. have adopted the recommended certification standards. This represents 180 million egg-laying chickens or nearly two-thirds of all the egg-producing chickens nationwide. The UEP is developing a welfare seal for egg cartons to help retailers and consumers identify eggs that meet certification standards.  (AnimalNet)

>  JAPAN   A university research team claims to have enhanced the health benefits of pork by transplanting a spinach gene into a pig.  The spinach FAD2 gene turns the pork oleic acid into linoleic acid, which is commonly found in vegetables but not mammals.  According to researchers, the presence of the spinach gene makes people less likely to develop excess fats or liquids in the blood, even after eating a large amount of pork fat. (Pig Progress)

Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

Oh, how time flies when you’re having fun and are busy!  Thanks to many of you, BCI had the most successful first two quarters in our history.  We closed a number of executive searches.  In addition, our sales force recruiting service filled a number of field positions.

In the merger and divestiture area, we closed one large transaction, continue to be involved with three separate due diligence assignments, and were retained for two new divestiture assignments.  In the market research area, we completed and delivered the Sales Force Effectiveness Study to four companies.  We refreshed our small animal veterinary panel group of 1,000 clinics and completed three assignments utilizing this panel.

The Practice Management Group continued providing presentations at veterinary associations, and helping veterinarians improve the management of their practices.

There were numerous other projects in both the large and small animal area.  We thank each of our clients for their business during this period and look forward to the next six months.

We wish all of you a “Happy and Safe 4th of July”.

[Ron Brakke]

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