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Closer to the Magic Pill?

Symposium brings together those interested in nonsurgical sterilization

For decades, those laboring in the trenches of animal care and control facilities and humane societies have dreamed of the magic pill—or, more likely, the magic shot—that would render animals sterile without the need for surgery. The dream is a particularly big one for those working in developing nations, where stray and feral dogs still roam the streets in packs, and where resources for spay/neuter surgeries are even more limited than they are stateside.

While the dream is not yet a reality, the exchange of information and ideas at a groundbreaking symposium held in April in Dallas has the potential to bring it a little closer. The 4th International Symposium on Non-Surgical Contraceptive Methods of Pet Population Control brought together 185 scientists, veterinarians, animal welfare professionals, public health advocates, pharmaceutical company representatives, and funders from 25 countries to discuss advances in the development of long-term, nonsurgical contraception for companion animals. The meeting also spotlighted the Michelson Prize and Grants in Reproductive Biology—a $25 million award to be given to the first entity to create a safe, practical, and permanent nonsurgical sterilant for male and female cats and dogs, and up to $50 million in other grants for promising research.

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