Pilgrim's Pride to buy out ConAgra stake

US - Poultry processor Pilgrim's Pride Corp. (PPC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Thursday said it will sell shares to raise $522.9 million and use the bulk of the proceeds to buy ConAgra Foods Inc.'s (CAG.N: Quote, Profile, Research) stake in the company.
calendar icon 5 August 2005
clock icon 4 minute read
Vietnam vaccinates poultry to fight bird flu - VIETNAM - Vietnam has begun to vaccinate 210 million poultry as part of an all-out effort to eradicate the deadly bird flu virus which has killed 42 people in the country, half of them since December.

The Agriculture Ministry said it would use more than 400 million batches of vaccine imported from China and the Netherlands to inoculate chickens, ducks and quails against the deadly H5N1 virus.

"All efforts are for the health of the people. We will have to take whatever action required, regardless of the cost," Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat said this week as he launched the vaccination campaign.

The campaign began in the northern province of Nam Dinh, 90 km (55 miles) south of Hanoi on Thursday, with veterinarians teaching farmers how to administer the vaccine.

"We will make sure that every duck and chicken will be vaccinated," Pham Minh Dao, head of Nam Dinh's Animal Health Department, told Reuters as farmers in Giao Chau commune took their chickens in cages for the free injections.

Other provinces with high risks of infection, most of them in the Mekong Delta rice basket, will vaccinate between September and November, before the arrival of the winter when the deadly virus seems to thrive best.


The virus has killed at least 61 people in Asia since it arrived in late 2003 -- nearly all of whom contracted it from infected fowl -- and experts have feared ever since it would mutate into a form which could pass easily between people, which it cannot now.

If it did mutate into such a form, the world would face a pandemic in which millions of people could die and experts have been trying to figure out how to minimise the impact.

Scientists who used computer models to stimulate an outbreak of a mutated strain said this week it could be done if the right strategies were put in place and there was a mobile stockpile of anti-flu drugs.

The H5N1 virus appears to be able to hide in healthy-looking ducks, thus putting other birds and people at risk in a region where duck farming is widespread, scientists say.

In the Mekong Delta, 70 percent of ducks carry the deadly virus, state media quoted animal health officials as telling a bird flu conference in Hanoi this week.

Vietnamese officials say tests show ducks in the delta live with the H5 component but the birds show no symptoms, making it difficult to detect the disease.

The H5N1 virus killed two more Vietnamese last week, taking the country's toll to 42. It has also killed 12 Thais, four Cambodians and three Indonesians.

More than 140 million chickens have been slaughtered in the region in a bid to halt the disease, but experts say it is now endemic in several countries, including Vietnam.

Source: Reuters - 4th August 2005

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