The Science

An entire ovary in the process of being analyzed. 

A closer view of the same ovary; follicle evaluation in progress.

Greater magnification, with follicle evaluation in progress.

Dear Friends of 600,

It is my honor to present our

Spay and Neuter Cookie Overview and Update.

As you know, our science-centered mission is to

significantly reduce animal suffering by developing safe,

non-profit, permanent one-dose birth control food

for stray dogs and cats.

Our approach is to modify known ingredients so

that they will safely sterilize a stray without surgery.  

The first birth control food we are developing are the

Spay and Neuter Cookies.

They are being designed to be species- and gender-specific,

and we expect the first Cookie that will be

completed will be for female dogs.

Our Pilot Pups

When we rescue a stray, in addition to caring for her
or him, we also feed her or him a single trial Cookie.

Once a rescued stray has eaten a single trial Cookie,

she or he becomes an official Pilot Pup.

We also cover the associated costs such as veterinary
care, food, housing, transportation, adoption -- and
we add a hefty dose of love and affection.

Trial Cookies 

Each trial Cookie contains a combination of key
ingredients and trial formulations -- often as many
as 15 or more variables go into a single Cookie,
such as the varying temperatures at

which they are prepared and the length of time

they are heated, all of which we are evaluating.

At this stage of development, each trial formulation

(trial Cookie) must be made by one or more
scientists and made by hand one at a time.

The work is labor-intensive and each trial
formulation is unique and can cost thousands
of dollars and take months to prepare -- and
many formulations need to be evaluated.

Once the final formulation is completed,
our goal is to be able to produce it in bulk
for under $5 per Cookie.

In our work, the welfare of the Pilot Pup comes
first, before the science. We take precautions
and go out of our way to ensure that each trial
Cookie is as safe as possible, based on using
ingredients and amounts that we already know
to be safe.

For the safety of the Pilot Pup, to study

variations in formulas, we only increase key

ingredients by very small, controlled amounts,

one tiny step at a time.

This is a significant factor in why it is taking

so long to perfect the formulas.

In contrast, a for-profit drug company

would not typically follow our one tiny step

at a time approach; instead they would

increase the dose as high as possible

and as fast as possible, to cut costs.

Some of us humans at 600 have eaten

trial Cookies ourselves, myself included.

Thus far there have been no negative side effects

for animals or people. We suspect a key reason

for the lack of negative side effects is that the

Cookie is designed as a rare “only one dose

over a lifetime” product, unlike traditional

birth control products that are ingested daily.

Evidence also shows, thus far, that eating multiple

doses (of the ingredients of the Cookies) does

not harm the animal.   

After the Pilot Pup eats the single trial Cookie,

the Pup usually stays at the veterinary clinic for

a few days to ensure that he or she is in good health.

As soon as they get the green light from the

veterinarian, they go home to their foster or

permanent home.

If a home is not readily available, the Pup stays

at the veterinary clinic or in a doggy day care

center until a home is found.

Approximately one month after eating the trial

Cookie, the Pilot Pup comes back to the veterinary

clinic, the veterinarian performs a spay or neuter

surgery and the Pup goes home again.

In a standard spay or neuter surgery, the

veterinarian discards any tissue that is removed,

such as the ovaries or testes.

In our case, the veterinarians keep these

now-treated tissues, and we provide them to other

specialists to histologically process

them physically, chemically and digitally 

for microscopic examination.

Once the slides are digitized, we have them

microscopically examined by other specialists.

This examination is a painstaking process, and

it allows us to determine if the Pilot Pup is sterile

as a result of eating the single trial Cookie.

This in turn allows us to learn if

the trial formulation worked.

How do we know if the Cookie worked?

It’s a long and important answer.

These are the basics of what we refer to as the count,

our nickname for the percentage of various types of

ovarian reproductive follicles that are impaired.

The more follicles that are impaired (the higher

the count) the better, and the closer the dog is

to being infertile. 

For example, a high count occurs naturally through

aging in humans and dogs  -- which is why elderly

humans and dogs naturally become infertile.

Our scientists review, analyze and quantify these

follicles under a microscope, and one of the things

we’re trying to do is cause as many of these follicles

as possible to become impaired -- without harming

the animal, of course.

Our scientists then provide us with a report

on each tissue, including the percentage of

impaired follicles.


A count of 20% means 20% of a certain type of

follicle were found to be impaired. 

Again, the higher the count the better, and the

closer the dog is to being infertile.

Conducting accurate counts is not easy, and we

send the same digital slides to various specialists

in order to secure second and third opinions.

Thus far, three of our best cumulative counts

(the counts for all follicle types found to be

impaired, combined) have been 41%, 45% and 69%.

In short, these are surprisingly high numbers

and good news for the animals.

Some additional good news:

Three of our best individual counts

(the counts for individual types of follicles)

are higher than the cumulative counts.

The best news is that each of these results

have come from their own single trial Cookie

formulation -- produced on a minuscule budget,

with scientists working on our behalf

in their spare time.

On this point, our budget is around $270,000.

What is the magic number that produces infertility?

According to the scientific community,

the answer is unknown.

At this time the answer is not clear

when it comes to dogs, cats, or humans.

What is known is that in humans, for example,

it is common for an adult female in her sixties

to be infertile yet still have a considerable

number of normal follicles.

This is good news for dogs and cats, because it

means that if a human female can be sterile

even though not all of her follicles are impaired

(she has less than a 100% count), the same can

be true for dogs and cats, who have reproductive

systems very similar to humans.

Our ability, going forward, to reliably produce a

high yet less than 100% count should be much

easier than producing a 100% count

-- all of which is good for the animals.

When will we discover the winning formula

and how much will it cost?

As with most scientific endeavors,

no one can answer this question with certainty

-- just as no one can predict the future with certainty.

A team of scientists formulated projections

for the time and cost that would be required

to complete the work, including the studies

needed to submit the data to the FDA and initiate

the FDA approval process so that the product

can be used in the U.S.

They reached the following conclusion:

With a budget of $3 million per year for 3 years,

the Cookie could be developed within those

3 years, including the studies needed to initiate

the FDA approval process.

These funds would go toward hiring scientists,

allowing them to devote themselves full-time

to the project.

As you know, we are not waiting for the $3 million.

Our plan is to continue our research and

development to find the winning formula

-- without applying for FDA approval at this time.

Instead, our work is being performed at a grassroots level:

Scientists are retained individually and paid on a

limited hourly basis, and much is done outside of the U.S.

Instead of waiting for FDA-level funding, we intend to

continue at the grassroots level, find the winning formula

-- and put it to work in field trials in parts of the world

where the need is the greatest and where the suffering

is the most severe.

Despite the obstacles, we are pushing forward

to make the Spay and Neuter Cookie a reality.

In the meantime, I cannot thank you enough for your support.

Thank you for caring.

Alex Pacheco

600 Million Stray Dogs Need You
Animal Rights Hall of Fame 
Adopt A Pet 
PETA Co-Founder 
Chairman (1980-2000)
Sea Shepherd 
Crew Member of the Year
Peace Abbey 
Courage of Conscience Award

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600 Million Stray Dogs Need You

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600 Million Stray Dogs Need You

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