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Animal Health News & Notes for February 27, 2004 2/27/2004

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 Brakke Consulting's
 Animal Health News & Notes for February 27, 2004
 Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
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2004 Animal Health Directories are now available!  Go to www.brakkeconsulting.com//inddir1.html for more information.
 
 
IN THE NEWS:
 
earnings:
Heska
Ridley
Smithfield Foods
VCA Antech
 
 
other news:
Agway
Alltech
AVANT Immunotherapeutics
BioProducts
Chr. Hansen
Creekstone Farms
Lallemand
Lohmann Animal Health
Old Mother Hubbard
PharmaGap
Synbiotics
Trouw Nutrition
Vitamex NV
 
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2004 US ANIMAL HEALTH DIRECTORY
 
The 2004 US Animal Health Manufacturers, Distributors, and Services Directories are here and ready for shipment! The Directory is a valuable desk reference for anyone in the animal health and related industries.  There are 314 company listings in this year’s directory, which combines the Manufacturers and Distributors into a single directory for the first time. Each company listing includes contact information, general email address, web address, company descriptions, and up to 4 key personnel (when supplied).
 
Order yours today by calling Jane Morgan at 972-243-4033 or by ordering online at www.brakkeconsulting.com and clicking on the "Industry Directories" button.  We now accept credit cards for payment. The Directory is $250.00 for the first copy, and $75.00 for each additional copy to the same company address.
 
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COMPANY EARNINGS RELEASES
 
>  VCA Antech, Inc. reported financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2003 as follows: revenue increased 14% to a fourth quarter record of $132 million; while net income increased to $9.4 million.  During the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2002, the Company incurred an after-tax litigation settlement charge and after-tax debt retirement costs in an aggregate amount of $7.5 million. After adjusting for the impact of these charges in 2002, fourth adjusted operating income increased 22% compared to the prior-year quarter.  The Company also reported the financial results for the year ended December 31, 2003 as follows: revenue increased 13% to $545 million; while net income increased to $43.4 million.  (company press release) top
 
>  Heska Corporation reported financial results for its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2003. Quarterly revenues were $21.6 million, an increase of 18% from the comparable period in 2002.  Net income for the quarter was $1.4 million, Heska's most profitable quarter ever.  For the year 2003, total revenues were $65.3 million, an increase of 27% over the year 2002.  Net loss for the year was ($3.5 million) , the company's lowest net loss since its 1997 IPO.  (company press release)   top
 
>  Smithfield Foods Inc. reported sharply higher earnings in its fiscal third quarter, mainly due to improvements in the company's hog production operations. The company said its net income soared to $46.1 million in the quarter ended Feb. 1, from $5.3 million in the year-earlier period. Sales soared to $2.7 billion in the quarter from $1.8 billion in the year-ago period. The fiscal 2004 third quarter included the results of newly acquired Farmland Foods, a pork production and processing business. It also reflected $7.5 million in financing costs related to a short-term loan obtained to finance last year's purchase of Farmland Foods. (AP) top
 
>  Ridley Inc. reported results for its fiscal 2004 second quarter ended December 31, 2003. Net earnings for the fiscal 2004 second quarter were $3.9 million compared with $6.6 million in 2002.  Sales decreased by 16.5% to $127 million compared with $152 million in the year-earlier period. Generally, a comparison of sales on a dollar basis is not necessarily indicative of the strength of Ridley's business because fluctuating commodities prices can influence revenues. However, for this quarter and for the year to date, the lower sales revenues closely track the reduction in the Company's sales volumes. (Business Wire)  top
 
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COMPANY NEWS RELEASES
 
> Lallemand Inc. and BioProducts Inc. announced the formation of a strategic alliance involving marketing, sales and distribution of yeast products for ruminants.  BioProducts will market and sell Lallemand's Levucell SC ruminant-specific yeast product. Lallemand also brings to the alliance an ongoing commitment of significant resources to identify and develop effective probiotic strains and characterizing modes of action for specific application in production and companion animals.  Both companies will work jointly on increasing overall demand for Levucell SC by educating feed manufacturers, nutritionists and end-users. Financial terms were not disclosed.  (company press release)  top
 
>  Chr. Hansen announced a new microbial product that significantly reduces shedding of E. coli O157:H7 by feedlot cattle. In two challenge studies, Probios FS, specifically developed as a food safety product, reduced the environmental load of E. coli O157:H7 in commercial feedlots by 92% and 97%, respectively. In a commercial feedyard study at Logan Valley Feeders, results showed that individual animal shedding was reduced by over 56% and the number of pens shedding was reduced by over 62% when the product was fed 14 days prior to slaughter. Researchers say that while the product doesn't eliminate E. coli, it does significantly reduce the rate and magnitude of shedding. (Drovers Alert) top
 
>  Alltech Inc. announced the acquisition from Agway Inc.  the intellectual property of and pilot plant to manufacture Optigen 1200, a time release feed technology.  Optigen 1200 is a polymer coating that allows for the controlled release of encapsulated feedstuffs.  The sale of Optigen is part of Agway's bankruptcy plan.  (Feedstuffs) top
 
>  AVANT Immunotherapeutics announced that Lohmann Animal Health Int'l has been named the exclusive North American developer, manufacturer and marketer of AVANT's recently USDA-approved double gene-modified Megan Egg vaccine for use in breeding and laying hens.  The vaccine is for use in commercial breeders and egg layers to eliminate or reduce Salmonella enteriditis levels in chickens.  Financial terms were not disclosed. (Poultry Times)  top
 
>  Vitamex NV and Trouw Nutrition Int'l announced an agreement wherein Vitamex has granted a license to Trouw to use its patented technology for the application of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in animal nutrition.  Currently, Vitamex has patents in the Dutch and Belgian markets, and has filed patent applications worldwide.  Both Vitamex and Trouw will further develop the technology and will market their products independently.  Financial terms were not disclosed. (Feedstuffs)  top
 
>  Old Mother Hubbard pet food company announced that Catterton Partners, a private equity fund, has taken a stake in the company. The company will continue to be part-owned and operated by the founding Scott family.  Catterton also has a stake in the Healthy Pet veterinary clinic consolidator with 24 hospitals. Financial terms were not disclosed.  (Pet Product News)   top
 
>  PharmaGap Inc. announced that an assay technology it previously developed as a noninvasive test to measure the overall potential for swine to resist infections has been successfully adapted to measure the immunoresistance capacity of poultry.  The assay can be used to help breeders wanting to accurately identify highly disease-resistant animals for the development of breeding lines with enhanced immunity and disease resistance.  (Feedstuffs)    top
 
>  Creekstone Farms, a premium-beef producer, has become the first US meatpacker to volunteer to test every animal it processes for BSE. The company says it has assurances from its Asian customers they would accept its beef products if it tests every carcass. The company exports about 25% of its beef products. Japan has insisted on 100% testing for BSE before it reopens its market to US beef. The Agriculture Department has received a request from Creekstone Farms to perform voluntary testing at its Arkansas City slaughter plant.  The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is the only agency now authorized to test for BSE in the US. (AP)  top
 
>  EU   Synbiotics announced the availability of an ELISA rabies test in the EU.  The test, Serelisa Rabies Ab Mono Indirect ND, is unique in that it takes only three hours to establish whether dogs and cats have been successfully vaccinated against rabies, and requires neither specialist equipment nor direct handling of the live virus.  The test is expected to replace the existing fluorescent antibody test as an integral part of the UK government's Pet Travel Scheme.  (Animal Pharm)  top
 
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Animal Agriculture Alliance
Key Stakeholder's Summit
March 22 - 24,   Arlington VA
 
Animal Welfare’s Importance to the Food Chain: Turning Challenges into Opportunities
 
The two and a half day Summit is targeted at senior management of all companies involved from “farm to fork,” with the goal of providing CEO’s, COO’s and CFO’s with the insight and information to successfully meet future challenges.  Event sponsors include ADM Animal Nutrition, Brakke Consulting, Cargill Animal Nutrition, National Corn Growers Association, Rabobank, United Soybean Board and the Food Systems Group of Vance Publishing.
 
This year’s Summit is focused specifically on animal welfare and its importance to all stakeholders in the food chain.  Prominent speakers will present some of the newest, most innovative ideas being implemented today that are creating opportunities from these challenges that could impact our entire industry.  Other speakers will present new findings from 2004 public opinion polls on consumer attitudes about animal welfare and food safety, as well as an overview of the animal rights movement as compared with other social movements in the US.  Additional topics include safeguarding the livestock industry, new track & trace programs, and strengthening communications with our customers, consumers and the media. Visit www.AnimalAgAlliance.org for more information.
 
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ANIMAL HEALTH NEWS
 
>  US   The Texas Agriculture Commissioner confirmed a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza on a 6,600-chicken non-commercial farm in Gonzales County, Texas. The discovery of the highly pathogenic strain is the first case in the US in 20 years.  The AI strain found in Texas (strain H5N2) is different than the H5N1 strain that has been found in 10 Asian countries and blamed for more than 20 human deaths. The AI stains found earlier this month in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were low pathogenic H5 and H7 strains and are not dangerous to humans. (Wattnet Meatnews)
 
>  US   The European Union and South Korea banned the import of all poultry products from the US following the outbreak of a highly contagious strain of avian influenza in Texas.  Mexico banned most US poultry products. Russia, the United States' largest poultry export market, blocked poultry imports only from Texas but said it was considering a US-wide ban. (Russia previously had banned imports from Delaware.)  EU Health and Consumer Affairs Commissioner  said the US-wide ban could be reduced to Texas if US authorities prove they have contained the outbreak. (AP)
 
>  JAPAN   Japan announced its 10th confirmed case of BSE, which was found in an eight-year-old Holstein. The cow was from the Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo. The infected cow was slaughtered on Feb. 20 and will be incinerated. Officials are trying to trace the animal's birth place. Authorities have requested that the transfer of other animals on the 63-cow farm be restricted. (Meating Place)
 
>  US   The 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the national dairy checkoff unconstitutional, overturning the lower court ruling. The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel came just six weeks after the appeal was heard. Pennsylvania dairy producers argued that the mandatory checkoff represents coerced speech and is, therefore, a violation of their First Amendment rights. The plaintiffs practice sustainable agriculture and say the mandatory checkoff program does nothing to promote their products. The appeals court based its decision to overturn the lower court ruling on the 2001 US Supreme Court ruling in the mushroom industry. Checkoff collections will continue during the appeals process. (Drovers Alert)
 
>  US   The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has changed Wyoming's brucellosis rating from Class Free to Class A. Wyoming was classified as Class Free until a brucellosis-infected herd was discovered on Dec. 23, 2003. At that time, the state took immediate measures to maintain its Class Free status according to federal regulations. However, on Jan. 21, 2004, another brucellosis-affected herd was confirmed. Aside from Wyoming, only two states are affected with cattle brucellosis, Missouri and Texas. Both states are designated as Class A. (Drovers Alert)

>  FRANCE   US meat inspectors reported that processing plants in France do not meet USDA food-safety and sanitation standards, prompting USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to ban all processed meat from France, including delicacies such as foie gras and delicatessen meats. The ban does not involve ordinary cuts of beef, pork, or poultry.  FSIS did not specify the violations that were discovered and only said that officials believe the move is "vital to ensuring the continued protection and confidence of the public." French officials present during the inspections dispute the charges.  (Wattnet Meatnews)
 
>  EU   At a conference global conference on animal welfare organized by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), European Commissioner David Byrne called for an international set of welfare standards. At the conference, bringing together the 166 member countries of the OIE and various OIE-affiliated international organizations, the European Commission obtained official observer status within the OIE.  The observer status will now enable the Commission to advance the EU’s view on all international animal health and welfare issues within the organization. (Wattnet Meatnews)
 
>  ITALY   Italian scientists have found a second form of BSE that more closely resembles the human Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease than the usual cow form of the illness.  BSE and human CJD are caused by different forms of mutant proteins called prions.  A number of people, mainly in England, have also suffered from what is called variant CJD, a brain disease believed to be acquired by eating meat from infected cows. Now, the team of Italian researchers reports a study of eight cows with BSE found that two of them had brain damage resembling the human victims of CJD. They said the cows were infected with prions that resembled those involved in the standard form of the human disease, called sporadic CJD, not the variant caused by eating infected meat. (AP)
 
>  US   North Dakota is one of two dozen states setting up  “reserve veterinary corps.” Veterinarians in the corps are being outfitted with laptops, global positioning systems, digital cameras and other tools necessary to track down, record and monitor a disease outbreak wherever it occurs.  The North Dakota Reserve Veterinary Corps was established a year ago with $25,000 in federal aid. The funding came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from USDA.  According the state veterinarian, the program was started so that in the case of an emergency, the state would have more trained personnel to mobilize and to raise all veterinarians’ awareness to report anything suspicious. (Pork Alert)
 
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WESTERN VETERINARY CONFERENCE
FEBRUARY 15 - 19, 2004
 
The 2004 Western Veterinary Conference concluded last week in Las Vegas enjoyed the attendance of more than 6,400 veterinarians and 1,600 veterinary technicians.  Attendees were able to enjoy an exhibit hall with 400 exhibits, and approximately 2,750 exhibitors attended the conference.  Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Crane and his staff to a successful conference.
 
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BRAKKE CONSULTING VIEWPOINT
 
It seems like the animal protein business keeps getting hit with one outbreak after another.  The latest poultry influenza outbreak was right here in Texas.  What surprised most Texans was that we didn't think George W. would let something like that happen here.
 
The good news is that the various disease outbreaks point out the opportunity for new and improved products to protect the health of animals and the consuming public.  Has your company increased your research and development spending in 2004?  It takes funding to create innovation.
 
Have a great weekend.
 
Ron Brakke

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2735 Villa Creek, Suite 140
Dallas, TX  75234    USA

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