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March 15th, 2017

We've been busy working on innovative projects related to our mission of advancing non-surgical methods to prevent unwanted litters of cats and dogs. This year has gotten off to an active start with a "Think Tank" in February, and the welcome addition of both Jesse Winters, the newest member of our Board of Directors, and Maddie's Fund® , the newest member of our Council of Stakeholders!

Please take note of some upcoming events, including ACC&D's 6th International Symposium to be held in 2018.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments!

Girl with dog in Columbia
Joyce Briggs, President
Participants from left to right (back row) Carla Forte Maiolino Molento, Kate Atema, Peter Sandøe; (middle row) Andy Sparkes, Sarah Endersby, Michael Barrett, Amy Fischer, Kevin Morris, Apryl Steele, Jesse Winters, Roger Haston, Lisa Moses, Deepashree Balaram, James Serpell, Carly Robbins, Vic Spain, James Yeates; (front row) Valerie Benka, Joyce Briggs, Carmen Espinosa, Monica List, Susan Getty, Phil Tedeschi. 
"This Think Tank was a one-of-a-kind opportunity for experts in the field of animal ethics to work collectively to move forward. We value the opportunity to provide support for meaningful work like this." 
Katie Parker, Executive Director, Animal Assistance Foundation

On February 15-17, 2017, ACC&D convened experts from diverse fields for a Think Tank addressing questions surrounding ethical decision-making when trialing innovations in the field on dogs and cats. The Think Tank was hosted by the University of Denver's Institute for Human-Animal Connection in Denver, CO, and was funded by the  Animal Assistance Foundation , The ASPCA , and International Cat Care . We are grateful for our host, funders and the inspiring cast of experts that joined the event.

The impetus for this, ACC&D's sixth Think Tank, was two ACC&D projects which involved trialing innovations on cats and dogs in a field setting, in one case a vaccine and the other an ear tag , meant to benefit the species involved. Both projects surfaced ethical questions regarding such aspects as study design, sourcing of animals, and the impact of the study on the local community. As current literature, guidelines, and policies don't comprehensively address these ethical quandaries, the goal of the Think Tank was to fill this gap with resources for both future ACC&D studies and broader application. ACC&D has conducted five prior Think Tanks on topics ranging from gene silencing to population modeling to methods of marking non-surgically sterilized dogs and cats. Multiple exciting ethics-focused projects are emerging from the Think Tank--stay tuned for more information in future newsletters!

"I  was very honored to be invited to participate in this think tank; the level of expertise in the room was truly amazing. I was also very pleased with the level of productivity and the practical outcomes of the workshop- I can't wait to see our plans unfold!"
Monica List MV, PhD Candidate in Philosophy, Michigan State University

ASPCA's Jesse Winters Joins ACC&D Board   Newppl

We are pleased to welcome Jesse Winters to our Board of Directors. Jesse joined the ASPCA in 1999 and currently serves as Senior Director of the ASPCA's Shelter Outreach department, helping guide development and implementation of the mentoring program for the ASPCA Relocation Initiative. Jesse served on the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for ACC&D's GonaCon vaccine trial, and as a newly minted Board member, with deep experience coaching animal welfare agencies, was a valued participant at our Think Tank on ethical decision-making resources for the field. We are grateful to Jesse for all she has contributed to ACC&D thus far, and look forward to continuing to work with her in this new capacity. Welcome, Jesse!

Good news! PetSmart Charities® has renewed their commitment to ACC&D's mis sion for another three years with a pledge of $50K a year. We are also excited to announce that we have gained a new Council member, Maddie's Fund® We appreciate both organizations'  commitment to innovation to save lives, and specifically to ACC&D's work, as members at this Visionary Circle level ($25,000 or more p ledged for at least three years). They bring our Council of Stakeholders to an all-time high of ten members. We appreciate the financial support and strategic input these leaders provide for our work.
Update on Our "Marking" Initiatives Jay
Dog in Kenya with prototype ear tag (green spots are antibiotic spray)
The ACC&D team has been hard at work to develop a method to identify animals sterilized without surgery , since traditional methods (tattoos, ear tipping/notching) require heavy sedation or anesthesia, and "field-ready" non-surgical fertility control will be practical for a conscious animal. We've enjoyed excellent partners along the way, including an interdisciplinary Cornell University team, a veterinary anesthesiologist and pain specialist, an optometrist, and a human body piercing company!

This past fall, we brought our prototype, a small ear tag applied using topical anesthetic, to Kenya to evaluate in 100 free-roaming dogs in a rural community. These dogs were receiving vaccination against rabies (a good proxy for temporary contraception). We partnered with a researcher from the Smithsonian Institution and chose this project because an ear tag would spare the dogs a more painful ear tattoo identification.

We approached the study with optimism for success (based on previous results in anesthestized dogs and cats) but knowledge that a study is just that: a study. We discovered that even with topical anesthetic, the tag application was transiently very painful and the tag fastener was not durable enough to survive harsh conditions. We stopped this study after six dogs, and concluded that at this time, there is too much against ear marking to advance this initiative in dogs at this time, but we remain committed as ever to finding a solution!

We are still exploring using this technique to mark free-roaming cats. Feral cats would benefit from sedation for even the simplest of non-surgical contraceptives (e.g., a vaccination), and a thinner needle could be used. A small study in indoor-outdoor pet cats (anesthetized for dental work) showed promise for ear tag retention, and our next step is to evaluate tag application in sedated cats under guidance of a Board-certified anesthesiologist. Stay tuned!

  • March 16th, 2017: ACC&D President, Joyce Briggs, was interviewed for the Community Cats Podcast about the breadth of ACC&D's work. The interview will be available at CommunityCatsPodcast.com as of March 16th - be sure to check it out! 
  • May 9-12, 2017: ACC&D will be exhibiting at the Humane Society of the United States' Animal Care Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Be sure to stop by booth #109 to say hello!
  • July 18-21, 2017: The 8th International Wildlife Fertility Control Conference, hosted and sponsored primarily by the Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control, a partnership between The Humane Society of the United States and the Dietrich W. Botstiber Foundation, will be held in Washington, D.C. Abstracts are due March 25th!
  • TBD, 2018: ACC&D will host its 6th International Symposium on Non-Surgical Contraception Methods of Pet Population Control in 2018! We will soon announce a date and location on our website and Facebook page.

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