If you’re reading this blog, odds are it has something to do with helping animals…maybe something grand like preventing the senseless killing of healthy animals by stemming pet overpopulation. All over the world.
That’s what a billionaire surgeon, Dr. Gary Michaelson, decided to do.
An inventor and entrepreneur who made the Forbes 400 Richest list by patenting spinal surgical tools, Michaelson created and funds Found Animals® to achieve that lofty goal. As a surgeon, Michaelson is aware that surgical sterilization — spaying and neutering — is one of the most effective tools in preventing pet overpopulation. He also knows that the expense of surgery prohibits its widespread application, especially when it comes to animals. People are willing to pay a lot to deal with human health problems, but there’s far less funding available for animal issues, and especially abstract ones.
So Michaelson would like someone to do what he did: Come up with a good solution to a medical problem. And he’s putting his money where his heart is.
For Animal Cafe, Mary Haight interviewed Aimee Gilbreath, Found Animal’s Executive Director. Gilbreath explains how the Michaelson Prize and Grants in Reproductive Biology are funding scientific research in the field — to the tune of $75 million.
It’s a two-tier program: $50 million worth of grants in a variety of disciplines go towards research to find a low-cost, nonsurgical method — a one-dose drug — to neuter both cats and dogs. The person or group who ultimately accomplishes that goal gets the $25 million Michelson Prize.
It’s still going to take a while. You can’t rush science — see Cure for Cancer, lack thereof. But in the meantime, Found Animals is working in various ways to help encourage pet adoption, to prevent pets from getting lost — and, yes, to get people to spay and neuter their pets surgically.
After reading the Animal Cafe post about Found Animals and listening to the interview with its Executive Director, two things came to mind.
- I thought I was connected to the pet community. How did I never hear about this program?
- The person who designed the logo , a collar with a tag that hovers over the name of the program like a halo, is brilliant. I don’t suppose I could afford to hire her/him for my next project…