Animal lovers, sheltering agencies and rescuers struggling to care for and re-home the endless stream of surplus, unwanted dogs (and cats) all over the world—may find hope in the efforts of a new non-profit organization, 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You, which has been founded by Alex Pacheco, co-founder of PETA and Humane America, with one main mission—to stop dog (and cat) overpopulation.
The goal of 600 Million Stray Dogs is to develop “permanent birth control dog food,” an edible sterilization formula, which will permanently sterilize a dog with only one dosage and provide the equivalent of a “cure” for dog overpopulation. (Permanent birth control cat food, a one-dosage edible cat sterilant, is also planned.)
Dr. Jeffrey Young, a highly respected Veterinary Surgeon with more than 20 years devoted to establishing spay/neuter programs and training veterinarians all over the United States, Latin America and Europe, and also the founder of Planned Pethood, is serving as the Scientific Director for 600 Million Stray Dogs—a position he fills as a volunteer.
Along with Alex Pacheco, Dr. Young made an announcement in September 2012 that clinical trials have begun on permanent birth control dog food, currently nicknamed “the Dog Treat.”
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Following are exciting excerpts from a letter published by Dr. Young, who explains, “This “Dog Treat” has a sterilizing formula inside of it. Though it is not ready yet, once it is completed and when used as intended, it will:
a) Make a female dog reproductively sterile for life.
b) Produce sterility in a female dog after eating just one “Dog Treat.”
c) In effect, spay a female dog - without surgery and without negative side effects.”
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“When perfected, “the Dog Treat” will give us the ability to end the cycle of suffering for the world's 600 million stray dogs, who give birth every year to an estimated one billion stray pups,” Dr. Young states.
CAN PERMANENT STERILIZATION BE ACCOMPLISHED IN ONE DOSE?
Currently, multiple doses of this product are needed to produce sterilization. 600 Million Dogs is working to change this--so that a single dose will produce sterilization. They have commissioned scientists to perform this work, and clinical trials have very recently begun, says Dr. Young.
600 Million Dogs says its goal is to be able to conclude current trials and finalize the formula within 18 months, if funding permits. At that point the next phase will begin. This is the really exciting part--it involves using the product on a controlled basis in real-life applications in three specific countries. Unfortunately, due to high costs, the U.S. is not one of the first three, they say.
How likely is it that permanent birth-control dog food is possible? The answer, says Dr. Young, is “very likely,” for three reasons:
1) Birth-control dog food has existed for over 25 years. Though it did not accomplish permanent sterilization, a product was made by Carnation Foods, the producer of Mighty Dog dog food and was announced by Carnation in 1985. The New York Times published the news that, within months, birth-control-dog-food “will be on store shelves across America.”
Tragically, Carnation's birth control dog food appears to have been torpedoed. It mysteriously and quite literally disappeared and has never been made available. (The New York Times article about Carnation's announcement can be seen at www.600MillionDogs.org).
2) There currently exists a single-dose sterilization formula for male dogs, called Neutersol, which has been approved for use in the U.S. by the FDA. However, this product must be injected – in its current form it does not work when it is eaten.
Neutersol is described as a "99.6% effective, safe alternative to surgical castration" for male dogs. But injections cannot end the stray-dog overpopulation because each dog must first be captured before it can be manually injected directly into the testicles.
3) Based on years of scientific data generated by numerous other scientists in more than one country, the founders of 600 Million Stray Dogs say they have sound reason to believe that an oral-sterilization formula is within reach. Various species of animals have been given different versions of the formulas which the organization is targeting--and sterility has occurred.
Until their scientific study and initial work is completed, there are humanitarian reasons why some information they would like to share must, instead, be kept confidential, say the founders of 600 Million Stray Dogs. They do not want their “Dog Treat,” the planned permanent birth control dog food, to be torpedoed and mysteriously disappear like Carnation's did.
COULD “DOG TREAT” HARM ANIMALS OR THE ENVIRONMENT?
Alex Pacheco and Dr. Jeffrey Young of 600 Million Stray Dogs state that, even at this preliminary stage, they can disclose that there is over 20 years of data on the ingredients on which they are focusing in developing “Dog Treats,” which, when used as intended, will not only sterilize a female dog in one edible dose, but also:
--- Do not harm the animal.
---Do not harm or sterilize people.
---Do not transfer sterilization from one animal to another. (Meaning: If a dog ate the treat and then an eagle ate the dog, the eagle would not be sterilized.)
---Do not have any known negative side effects when used as intended.
---Do not harm the environment.
“We have not forgotten cats,” say the developers of “Dog Treat, “the reason we started with dogs is because there already exists far more data on dogs than cats -- thus it should take less time to finalize a dog formula than a cat formula.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
There are thousands of exhausted rescuers and shelter workers who would celebrate any product that would help end dog and cat overpopulation on a mass, worldwide basis and also in states, cities and small communities across this country. However, anyone with experience with the pet industry understands that there are also powerful forces that thrive on perpetuating the maximum number of four-legged “consumers” possible.
Will “Dog Treat” be able to survive in a marketplace that needs to assure that millions of puppies and kittens are available each year to maintain the consumer market for supplies, food and services on which American pet owners, alone, reportedly spent $52 billion in 2011?
A one-time ingestible dog /cat sterilant that has permanent results is the dream of anyone who has worked with homeless animals anywhere. Although there is still work to be done, does it sound like 600 Million Stray Dogs is on the right track with “Dog Treat?”
Could “the Dog Treat”—a one-dose edible sterilant for female dogs-- be a “cure” for dog overpopulation worldwide?