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A Cure for Euthanasia?

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Science  18 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5947, pp. 1490-1493
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1490

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Humane organizations throughout the United States can't surgically sterilize homeless cats and dogs fast enough to control their numbers, and developing countries with dangerous feral dog populations—such as China and India—fare even worse. As a result, millions of dogs and cats are euthanized in U.S. shelters each year, and millions more are shot and poisoned around the globe. For the past decade, humane organizations have pushed for a nonsurgical alternative to traditional spay/neuter surgery—something cheaper and faster, such as a vaccine or a pill, that would allow them to reach many more animals with the same resources. Researchers have developed similar products for wildlife, but they have turned out to be ineffective or impractical for use in companion animals. Lack of funding and interest has slowed further progress. That may be about to change, thanks to a U.S. billionaire named Gary Michelson, who has announced $75 million in grants and prize money for the development of a single-use, nonsurgical sterilant for dogs and cats.