Dear Porky and Buddy
I’ve heard about pet birth control via pet food.
Is this a real product that is available to purchase?
What an interesting question! We had no idea, so we asked Dr. Google, who, as you know, knows everything.
It turns out that there have been serious efforts by pet food manufacturers to develop pet food that contains birth control.
They seem, however, to have come to a screeching halt.
When you search for “pet food with birth control” you find a 1985 article in the New York Times that reports on a new dog food about to appear on the market.
In 1975, the Carnation Company along with Upjohn Company began testing a dog food formulated with a chemical birth control known as mibolerone.
Tests results were very favorable in-home dogs and in 1985, Carnation Company announced it was seeking approval by the FDA to bring the dog food to market for the consumer.
They eventually received FDA approval, but the dog food never went on the market.
We were mystified about why, so we kept digging.
In a nutshell, it got entangled in the culture wars over abortion.
We found a link to the text of a November 2000 article by Merritt Clifton (a well-known animal advocate) that appeared in the now defunct magazine Animal People.
Mibolerone is a close chemical relative of mifepristone, otherwise known as RU-486, the infamous morning after pill.
Mibolerone would also be capable of causing a chemically induced human abortion (although a pregnant human female would have to eat can after can of dog food (about a week’s worth of food for a Great Dane) to accomplish such a thing.
Nevertheless, Carnation withdrew the food from the market rather than get embroiled in the fight that was just then heating up.
So, while chemical birth control is available from veterinarians for pet owners, it is not available in pet food.
If available, would it be an effective tool in the efforts of humane organizations to reduce feral cat and dog populations?
Whatever you think about human abortion, we still kill millions of unwanted pets in this country every year and who knows how many worldwide.
It’s our loss.
About Oswego County Humane Society
We provide services to promote and strengthen the human-animal bond through fostering-to-adoption programs, spay/neuter clinics, and humane education.
The Oswego County Humane Society is designated under IRS code 501(c)3 as a charitable organization: 161586001 and registered with the New York State Charities Bureau: 06-70-81.
Our registration number with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is RR239.