Michelson won case against U.S. Surgical
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2008:
(Actual publication date 11-5-08.)
Animal advocates may enjoy the irony that some of the money that Gary Michelson has posted to promote developing a non-surgical method of sterilizing dogs and cats came from U.S. Surgical, via Michelson’s successful 1995 lawsuit against the company.
U.S. Surgical founder Leon Hirsch, who retired and sold the company in 1998, was for more than a decade a frequent target of animal rights protests led primarily by Friends of Animals, for using dogs in sales demonstrations of surgical products. Hirsch in response founded the pro-animal research organization Americans for Medical Progress in 1992 and helped to fund it for six years.
That was after Hirsch in 1987-1989 hired the now defunct private security firm Perceptions International to spy on FoA and other critics of his activities. Among the Perceptions International operatives was Mary Lou Sapone, more recently known as Mary McFate, whose infiltration of at least three anti-gun violence organizations as an alleged paid research consultant for the National Rifle Association was disclosed in the August 2008 edition of Mother Jones magazine.
In 1988 Sapone befriended fringe activist Fran Trutt, loaned her the money to buy four pipe bombs, and introduced her to another Perceptions International employee, Marcus Mead, who in November 1988 drove Trutt to place one of the bombs in the U.S. Surgical parking lot. Arrested at the scene, Trutt served a year in custody.
U.S. Surgical publicized the arrest as discrediting animal rights activists but Sapone s role was exposed within days.
Friends of Animals sued U.S. Surgical over Sapone s activities. The case and related actions were in court for nearly 10 years, but never went to trial.
FoA, founded in 1957 to promote low-cost dog and cat sterilization surgery, is still a leading sterilization service provider, but has opposed research and development of non-surgical sterilization methods.
FoA opposition to animal experiments done to develop Neutersol influenced the Humane Society of the U.S. to withdraw temporarily from funding some of the work in 1991. The HSUS subsidiary Humane Society International later was involved in field-testing Neutersol in Mexico and Romania.
FoA president Priscilla Feral told ANIMAL PEOPLE that FoA opposition to non-surgical sterilization is not categorical. Feral said that FoA might endorse a non-surgical sterilization method if it causes less trauma to the animals than surgery, and is otherwise safe, effective, and affordable.
Feral mentioned that her considerations in deciding whether to endorse a non-surgical sterlization method would include how the method is developed and whether animals are killed to produce it. A product using stem cells extracted from tissues removed during conventional sterilization surgery would be more acceptable to FoA, Feral explained, than a product using the remains of animals slaughtered for food.