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600 Million and Fix the Bitches Dream Big

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

Alex Pacheco, Maria Papazian, and Khiem Nguyen dream big—even when the odds seem stacked against their goals. When you talk to them about 600 Million and its campaignFix the Bitches, you come away feeling optimistic.

Dreamers with a Plan
“Our plan is to permanently end the world stray dog and stray cat over population, and the suffering that comes with it by developing long lasting contraceptives for stray dogs and cats,” says Alex, who is the founder and executive director of 600 Million. (You probably recognize his name for being the co-founder of PETA.)

Sounds like a good dream? Well, after spending some time with this dynamic trio, I am starting to believe it. Mostly, because they have incredible resources and their strong belief that it is possible is contagious.

“We are using the latest scientific advancements and we want to inspire people to volunteer their resources to assist us in developing unique, long lasting, single dose birth control pills for animals,” says Alex. “We are starting with dogs and expanding to cats and other animals in need—such as deer, horses, and farm animals.”

600 Million
It is estimated that there are more than 600 million stray dogs living in deplorable conditions around the world. These stray dogs give birth to between one and three billion puppies each year. “As a result of these staggering numbers, stray dogs suffer terribly, and millions are brutally killed in the name of population control—especially in countries without animal cruelty laws,” says Alex. “And our mission is to use safe, affordable, and non violent methods of controlling animal populations.”

“For starters our scientists are creating more than one formula. This is not a super birth control pill where one size fits all. These multiple formulas will come in the form of food, treats, and injections. And there will be formulas for different species. Plus it will be long lasting. It must be in order for it to control the stray populations.”

600 Million has attracted celebrities like David Duchovny, Eric Roberts, and many others to spread the message to their fans. They have hired scientists to work outside the U.S., and according to Alex, “We expect to have our first formula within 10 to 18 months.”

Check out their video on their Facebook page.

Each country has its own rules and regulations that need to be followed. What works in China is different from India, and so on. “The one thing that will be the same is that these formulas will be safe,” says Alex.

Helping Children by Helping Animals
“We started doing research in Mexico in 2008,” says Maria, who is the volunteer coordinator and administrative director for 600 Million. “We found hundreds of dogs piled up in street corners starving to death. Many stray dogs compete with poor children for the scraps of food on the streets. A number of these children were getting bit by these dogs, and everyone feared rabies.”

Maria, who volunteers with 600 Million, worked as an early childhood special education teacher and is currently an administrator at the University of Miami’s school of education. She is also a graduate of the university. And so is Khiem, chief creative officer of Threefold Studio, a full service creative firm grounded in branding and marketing. Being a graduate of the University of Miami, Khiem’s firm has close ties to his alma mater. “Through an event called PhilADthropy, we got in touch with 600 Million,” says Khiem. PhilADthropy brings students majoring in advertising, marketing, and branding together with nonprofits so that they can create pro bono ad and marketing campaigns.

From these meetings, Khiem, Maria, Alex, and a number of U. of Miami students created Fix the Bitches, a campaign that takes 600 Million’s message to students. “Fix the Bitches was born out of PhilADthropy, a University of Miami event for communication students,” says Khiem. “We created a video that has been getting students involved in this campaign.”

Donations and Loans
To continue their work, 600 Million is asking people to make a pledge. “For people who pledge $500, $1,000 or more, we have a plan in place that will return that money within three years,” says Alex. “That is how serious we are. Pledge and you will get your money back, and we will have pledges for what we need. So far we have $100,000 in pledges.”

To make a pledge or for more information, contact Maria at mariap@600milliondogs.org or Alex at alex@600milliondogs.org.

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