Mifrepristone decision has real implications for birth control pet food. Pacheco appeal is just another 600 million gallons of dog cess.
WASHINGTON D.C.; POMPANO BEACH, Florida–– The real news of note about animal birth control released on December 16, 2021––though it was not billed as such––came from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Twenty-one years after authorizing the use of the progesterone-blocking chemical RU-486, marketed as Mifrepristone, as a “morning after” abortion pill, the Food & Drug Association permanently eased restrictions on distribution of Mifrepristone by mail.
FDA decision may be landmark for animal contraception as well as abortion rights
The FDA decision was widely reported as a landmark in the long and highly politicized struggle over abortion rights.
But the FDA ruling may also clear the way for the owners of the relevant patents to re-introduce a contraceptive pet food that was developed between 1975 and 1985 by the Upjohn and Carnation companies.
The product was only briefly marketed before the FDA banned all RU-486 products, whether for human or animal use.
More stale cookies
The FDA decision pertaining to Mifrepristone was issued within minutes of distribution of yet another nonsensical “Science Update: Spay and Neuter Cookie” from 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You founder Alex Pacheco.
Pacheco, 63, has raised funds since 2009 with the promise that somehow, despite lacking any scientific credentials, laboratory facilities, identifiable scientists or veterinarians on staff, or biologically plausible theory as to how it might be done, he is on the brink of developing a one-dose “Spay and Neuter Cookie” to permanently sterilize either female or male dogs and cats.
(See “600 Million” reasons to toss Alex Pacheco’s alleged spay/neuter cookies, Pseudo-science & the Alex Pacheco “Spay & Neuter” Cookie, Alex Pacheco of “600 Million” says he was gunner on a boat with no guns, Steve Hindi & SHARK up the ante & call Alex Pacheco’s bluff, Alex Pacheco serves stale “Spay & Neuter Cookies” again for Christmas, and Spay/neuter popcorn? It’s as real as Alex Pacheco’s s/n cookies!)
If Pacheco has any credentials of note at all, it was as a cofounder of PETA in 1981, who left PETA in 1996.
$2.5 million raised to do what?
600 Million Stray Dogs Need You filings of IRS Form 990 show that Pacheco has nonetheless persuaded donors to entrust him with upward of $2.5 million since 2011 in response to online and direct mail appeals making no more scientific sense than claims that COVID-19 vaccinations are cover for injecting Americans with microchip tracking devices, or that “Jewish space lasers” rather than the effects of global warming are responsible for ever more frequent and more destructive forest fires.
The most recent 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You filing of IRS Form 990, for the year 2019, shows $100,037 purportedly spent for “R&D program and support,” out of total expenditures of $264,680, but includes no indication as to where the money went.
Hired elves at the North Pole?
There are no identified paid personnel except Alex Pacheco and his sister Mary, no identified subcontractors, and despite Pacheco’s frequent insinuations that some scientific work is being done abroad, no declaration of foreign currency transfers.
In fact, on Part IV of the filing, lines 14a through 16 categorically deny that 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You has personnel, projects, or financially dealings outside the U.S.
Pacheco in his December 16, 2021 “Science Update: Spay and Neuter Cookie” claimed to have “recruited a highly qualified U.S. based Scientific Director,” whom he did not name, “an additional new chemist,” also not named, as if 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You had any chemists in the first place, and “an additional new veterinarian,” again not named, without offering any indication that 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You ever had a veterinarian to begin with.
Continued Pacheco, “Our studies have produced some of our highest follicle counts to date: a 71% and 68% follicle count, each of course from a single trial cookie (in two of our Pilot Pups) — which are terrific results.”
This assertion, unexplained in Pacheco’s “Science update,” harks back to the original 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You proposition.
The Arizona rodent control product developer SenesTech in 2006 tested a product based on vinylcyclohexene, called ChemSpay, in dogs, funded by the Alliance for Contraception of Cats & Dogs.
The experiment, however, which used vinylcyclohexene to destroy ovarian follicles to prevent conception, was unsuccessful.
In December 2010 SenesTech announced that it would be working with Pacheco and 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You to raise funds to try again with ChemSpay. But that relationship was short-lived.
SenesTech in April 2011 advised Alliance for Contraception of Cats & Dogs executive director Joyce Briggs that “neither ‘600 Million’ nor Mr. Pacheco have any claim, right, title, license or interest in our ChemSpay product or any other [SenesTech] product.”
Because vinylcyclohexene is an internationally recognized carcinogen, meaning that exposure could potentially cause cancer in humans, ChemSpay would in any event have been extremely difficult to register for use in dogs and cats.
It certainly could not be registered in an ingestible form, such as a “cookie” which might be consumed by humans, no matter how accidentally, and in any event would have no contraceptive effect on male animals.
Confirmed Pacheco in his December 16, 2021 appeal, “The compound we have found to be most effective thus far is the man-made chemical known as VCD: Vinylcyclohexene dioxide, CAS. No. 106-87-6, C8H12O2.
Rodenticide & epoxy ingredient
The EPA-approved product is ContraPest, manufactured by SenesTech.
ContraPest is approved specifically as a rodenticide, an application for which the safety requirements are considerably different than those applicable to contraceptive use in either companion animals or animals classed as livestock.
Vinylcyclohexene dioxide is otherwise chiefly used in manufacturing epoxy resins.
“In addition,” Pacheco said in his December 16, 2021 appeal, “we are also continuing to investigate more than one possible formula and compound, such as the naturally occurring papaya seed.”
This notion appears to have originated from the use of papaya extracts to tenderize meat.
A Brazilian product called StopSex, developed beginning in 1999 by veterinary researchers Marcelo Vivaqua, Carmo Fausto Moreira da Silva, and Felipe Berbari Neto, was initially introduced specifically to reduce testosterone release from the testicles of pigs.
The active ingredient is papain, extracted from papaya pulp, in a milk-like solution of lactic acid and glucose.
“StopSex has the fibrosing effect,” explained the product literature. “The lactic acid induces inflammation. The damaged tissue is replaced by fibrous tissue, while the papain, a substance best known as a meat tenderizer, promotes the digestion of testicular tissue.”
Vivaqua, da Silva, and Neto introduced StopSex as a method of chemically castrating pigs before slaughter. This is required by Brazilian law, and by the laws of several other nations, to prevent “boar taint” from contaminating pork products.
Good for dog-eaters?
StopSex was advertised as significantly less painful than the conventional procedure of mechanically castrating pigs without the use of anesthetic.
The idea that StopSex could be adapted for use in contracepting dogs was raised by Brazilian veterinarian Silvio Leite during a September 2010 United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization consultation.
Leite opined that unlike hormonal contraceptive methods, “This product would not be risky in case of dog meat consumption,” then added that he had no relationship with the StopSex developers and manufacturers.
“Also, I personally do not endorse dog meat consumption,” Leite said.
StopSex, at least by that name, appears to no longer be marketed, and no success in use of StopSex as a dog and/or cat contraceptive appears to have been reported in veterinary literature.
Upjohn & Carnation
Much of Pacheco’s December 16, 2021 pitch to donors, like his many past pitches over the years, has resembled the rhetoric that the Upjohn and Carnation companies used from 1975 to 1985 in repeatedly announcing that they hoped to soon introduce the Mibolerone-based contraceptive dog food.
Many older donors may remember the false hopes those announcements raised, especially through “golly gee” summaries ballyhooed by supermarket tabloid newspapers, that something like a “spay/neuter cookie” might soon become available.
Some older donors may also be susceptible to conspiracy theories about why this never happened.
But there was never any conspiracy. All RU-486 products were kept off the market for 15 years because they could be used in humans to induce abortion.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration finally authorized the manufacture and marketing of RU-486 in September 2000.
Mibolerone products for animals administered in liquid form subsequently became available by veterinary prescription, as they long have been in northern Europe, and are used to some extent to suppress estrus in racing greyhounds, sled dogs, some show dogs, and zoo animals.
But use of Mibolerone as an animal contraceptive in liquid form requires frequent dosing and has only short-term contraceptive effects
This means it is used effectively only with captive animals, not with free-roaming dogs and cats, nor even with pets who may escape outdoors.
That Mibolerone could ever have been used in any form resembling “Spay and Neuter Cookies” was never more than a tabloid supposition.