» 2001

Animal Health News & Notes for June 15, 2001 6/15/2001

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Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for June 15, 2001

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
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Company News Releases

>  The Iams Company, a leading provider of therapeutic diets for veterinary use, has selected VetCentric to deliver Eukanuba Veterinary Diets® directly to clients on behalf of recommending veterinarians.  With their veterinarian’s prescription, clients can authorize automatic refills and product shipment by placing a phone call, sending an e-mail, or logging in to their veterinarian’s Web site. Iams and VetCentric will co-promote the client delivery option to veterinarians not currently using this service. All facets of the transaction are handled by VetCentric, including inventory management, shipping, billing, and customer service.  (company press release)

>  Neogen Corporation has entered into a letter of intent to acquire QA Life Sciences, Inc. of
San Diego, Calif.  The purchase is subject to due diligence and approval of Neogen's Board of Directors, and is expected to be completed in less than 60 days. QA Life Sciences is a niche player in the foodborne bacteria testing market with unique, established technology that complements Neogen's comprehensive food safety product offerings.  QA's sales were less than $1.0 million in its last fiscal year.  The majority of the company's products carry quality approvals from the independent Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC). (PRNewswire)

>  PETsMART announced that the millionth pet has been placed through PETsMART Charities' in-store Adoption Center.  To celebrate, PETsMART will provide for all of Elsie's pet needs for life, including pet food and grooming and training.  Elsie is a two-year-old retriever mix. (Business Wire)

>  The European Union's Standing Committee for Animal Nutrition has granted approval to  Alltech's Yea-Sacc1026 , making it the only yeast culture to gain European Union approval as a performance enhancing yeast additive for dairy cows, fattening cattle, and calves.  Alltech developed Yea-Sacc from a naturally occurring strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast.  (company press release)

> ProLinia, Inc. announced it has obtained rights to non-exclusively license nuclear transfer (cloning) technology from Geron Corporation for agricultural applications.  The Geron technology was acquired from the Roslin Institute and was used to clone Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.  Under terms of the License Agreement, ProLinia will gain access to Geron’s current and future issued patents and patent applications covering nuclear transfer for use in swine (worldwide) and bovine (except Australia and NZ).  Geron, through this agreement, obtains a minority equity position in ProLinia and royalty income on future product sales. (company press release)

>  Chronix Biomedical announced it is collaborating with the Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Georg-August University in Goettingen, Germany, a leading European veterinary research institute, for a study of the genetic and molecular bases of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) with the intent of satisfying the unfilled need for a highly predictive test detecting indications of the condition. This cooperative work, to which Chronix will contribute in particular its
expertise in nucleic acid detection and expression profiling, will focus on identifying the molecular basis of the disease and methods for detecting affected cattle. The Institute of Veterinary Medicine will in turn focus its expertise on cellular nucleic acid detection, clinical specimens and studies, and further bovine genomic research. (PRNewswire)

>  INDIA  Alltech has established a fully owned subsidiary in India, Alltech Biotechnology Private Ltd.  The new company is headquartered in Bangalore and will offer a comprehensive range of feed additives and technical support to the Indian poultry, dairy and livestock industries.  (company press release)

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  Preparing the Veterinary Profession for Corporate and
Trade Issues in the America

Santiago, Chile was the location of a recent conference of leading food animal authorities from North and South America. Leaders from government, academics and industry,  from each side of the equator, were asked to comment on the future of veterinary medicine and how the three sectors could work more closely together to ensure a safer food supply. 

The conference was entitled: Preparing the Veterinary Profession for Corporate and Trade Issues in the Americas.  The conference presentations asserted that the complex and rapid-paced development of international trade, coupled with increasing societal demands for the production of safe, inexpensive food raised in a humane and environmentally friendly manner, demands immediate attention from the veterinary community.  In North America, veterinary education is focused on specialization.  The current curricula fail to provide adequate training for those interested in acquiring the necessary skills for the emerging area of globalization and trade in food animal production.  In South America, there is little harmonization between veterinary curricula and there is tremendous variation in degree programs, rendering it difficult to ascertain if veterinarians are prepared to assume decision-making responsibilities regarding international transport of food. 

G. Gale Wagner, Ph.D., Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology and Coordinator of International Programs for Texas A & M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is the project coordinator of a new program entitled the Global Veterinary Leadership Program.   The University of Georgia is also a participant.  Others who have expressed interest in developing a consortium to manage the program include Iowa State University , the University of California at Davis, Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, and Virginia Tech.  The Global Veterinary Leadership Program is structured as either an international certificate course or a combined DVM MSc course available as an add-on to the DVM degree plan.  The program elements include leadership training, coursework, participatory learning and comprehensive, economic-related study and work opportunities to prepare students for the expanding world market for veterinary expertise.

Student externships or internships are being developed with international firms in the U.S., Chile, Brazil and Argentina.  Students will work full-time, on a company-directed, practical but challenging project that prepares them for, and exposes them to, an international career environment.  “There is an escalating need for veterinarians educated and experienced in the complex and challenging roles of food animal production,” stated Ron Brakke, president of Brakke Consulting, Inc.  “This is why we (Brakke Consulting, Inc.) believe it is important that industry invest it it’s own future through supporting programs such as the Global Veterinary Leadership Program.”

Further information about the Global Veterinary Leadership Program can be obtained by contacting G. Gale Wagner, Ph.D.,  Texas A&M University, at 979-845-4275 or gwagner@cvm.tamu.edu or Ron S. Brakke, Brakke Consulting, Inc., at 972-243-4033 or rbrakke@brakkeconsulting.com.  

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Animal Health News

>  CZECH REPUBLIC  The Czech Republic reported that a second test on a cow suspected of having mad cow disease was positive, in the first case of BSE in eastern Europe. The government will probably extend BSE testing to all slaughtered animals older than 30 months. If a third test is positive, part of the herd the infected cow came from would be slaughtered. (Reuters)

>  SPAIN   Spain's Ministry of Agriculture has said that more than two thousand pigs on a single farm will be killed after cases of swine fever were detected on a farm in the north eastern Catalonia region .  Pigs within a three km (1.8 mile) radius of the farm in Llieda may also be slaughtered in a bid to stem the spread of the disease. (AnimalNet – Reuters)

>  UK   The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons called on the British government to launch a full public inquiry into the handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis, saying it was essential that the lessons of the epidemic, which has devastated British farmers and the tourist industry, were learned. It believes that the crisis has exposed serious weaknesses in the way scientific advice is sought and used by ministers. The number of foot-and-mouth cases in Britain has reached 1,744, with the Ministry of Agriculture confirming four new cases on Thursday. And despite government assurances last month that the battle had been won, clustered outbreaks have continued to spring up. (Reuters)

>  CANADA  The Canadian Cattle Identification Program will be fully implemented on July 1 when
beef processing plants will begin reading the ear tags from each animal that moves through the system and record the ID numbers back to the database. All cattle currently in the system that are moving from their present location are required to be tagged. Enforcement of the cattle identification program will consist of education and extension for the first year. Effective July 1, 2002, enforcement will take the form of financial penalties imposed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. (AnimalNet – Central Alberta Adviser)

>  US   The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee secured $40 million in funds to modernize the National Animal Health Facility in Ames, Iowa. The improved facility that will house the Agricultural Research Service National Animal Disease Center (NADC), APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) and the APHIS Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).
The proposed facility will replace existing USDA facilities in Ames.  This is the second year funding has been provided for the modernization of the National Animal Health Center.  First year funding was $9 million. (AnimalNet – Beef.org)

>  Researchers at Louisiana State University have discovered that bovine coronavirus has been associated with several outbreaks of shipping-fever pneumonia.  Respiratory coronavirus has not previously been believed to cause respiratory-tract infections in cattle.  The virus has been detected among cattle in 11 different states in the southern and western United States. Approximately 90% of cattle involved in two major U.S. outbreaks of shipping-fever pneumonia were infected with the coronavirus.  (AnimalNet – LSU press release)

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Agribusiness News

>  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a new report to the FDA that shows there have been no allergic reactions to StarLink.  Last October, FDA asked CDC to provide technical help in determining if 28 people who suffered symptoms of what appeared to be an allergic reaction had gotten the reaction from consuming corn products containing StarLink Bt.  The medical histories and other data, along with blood samples of the affected people, were collected by CDC.  An FDA lab developed a test for the presence of antibodies to the Bt protein (a scientifically accepted sign of the presence of an allergic response).  CDC then sent coded blood serum samples to FDA for analysis.  Those tests showed that none of the samples "reacted in a manner consistent with an allergic response to the Cry9c protein," the CDC report says.  The report also says that there's no evidence that the reactions indicate that these people were sensitive to the Cry9c protein. (DirectAg)

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Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

Earlier in the newsletter, we provided a section on the Global Veterinary Leadership Program.  We believe that this program offers an opportunity for food and animal product companies to assist in the educational process of veterinarians for the improvement and understanding of global food safety issues.  How often have you heard or seen a veterinarian interviewed in regard to the BSE issues?  How often have you seen or heard an interview or article from a veterinarian related to the foot and mouth disease problems and concerns?

While the Global Veterinary Leadership Program does not have all the answers, it is a well-planned and organized effort to start educating a small number of interested veterinary students in the US and LA on global food safety issues.   To be successful the program will need several companies to underwrite veterinary student externships or internships.   These veterinary students will be from U.S., Chile, Brazil and Argentina.  Students will work full-time, on a company-directed, practical but challenging project that prepares them for, and exposes them to, global food safety issues.

This program should not be viewed by industry as another hand out to the veterinary schools.  Instead, it should be viewed as a program that industry needs to support in order to influence change in the education of food animal veterinarians.  Please contact our office or Dr. Gale Wagner at Texas A&M at the address above for further information.

[Ron Brakke]
 
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