When you scan the news feeds, you’ll quickly discover that there’s too much suffering and killing in companion animal “shelters” around the world. Thousands of groups try rescue and adoption as a way out of the problem. Some communities look towards legislation to control the problem. Many advocates and clinics continue to push spay/neuter as the solution. But none of it works. Not really.
The most recent estimates* for the number of adoptable cats and dogs euthanized in U.S. shelters each year is 2.7 million animals. Think about it – on average, that’s one perfectly adoptable cat or dog killed every twelve seconds. The numbers are depressingly higher in many of the kill shelters, of course. Add in the atrocities that are being reported in China and Russia – it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that the numbers continue to be staggering.
Enter Dr. Gary Michelson, a billionaire orthopedic spinal surgeon and creator of Found Animals Foundation. In 2008, this privately funded non-profit group launched the Michelson Prize & Grants. This initiative not only offered a $25 million prize to the first person to successfully develop a single dose nonsurgical method for sterilizing both cats and dogs, but backed up this offer with $50 million in funding for promising research in pursuit of this sterilization technology.
Five years later, scientists from the United States, Canada, Scotland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina have a total of 28 projects either completed or in progress and funded by $12 million of the Michelson grant money. Thank you, Dr. Michelson, for putting your money where it can impact companion animal overpopulation at the source. And, thank you to all of the scientists who continue to pursue a more cost effective and less invasive alternative to surgical ♀Spay & ♂Neuter.