In an effort to help control pet overpopulation, medical inventor Dr. Gary Michelson is offering $25 million for the first entity to develop a single dose, non-surgical sterilant for use in cats and dogs, and up to $50 million in grant funding to support research toward that end.
Found Animals Foundation, Michelson’s nonprofit organization, made the announcement along with its partner Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs at the SPAY/USA Conference in Chicago on Oct. 16.
The goal of the Michelson Prize and Grants in Reproductive Biology is to encourage researchers in the United States and other countries to take on the challenge of non-surgical pet sterilization. The foundation says that although surgical spay/neuter procedures are relatively safe and effective, it is not ideal.
“Surgical spay/neuter procedures are just too expensive and inconvenient for many pet owners—we need a better solution,” said Aimee Gilbreath, executive director of Found Animals.
The foundation said it would also help make sterilization accessible and affordable worldwide, and aid developing countries where pet overpopulation is even greater.
Researchers have been on the verge of discovering pet contraceptives and non-surgical sterilants for years, but a lack of funding has kept these ideas stalled in the early stages of research, according to the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs. The prize has the potential to stimulate research “allowing for ground-breaking approaches in pet sterilization to emerge,” said Joyce Briggs, president of the organization.