I’ve just finished a book called The Most Powerful Idea in the World by William Rosen. The book is a colorful description of the cultural conditions present in the Industrial Revolution during the 18th and early 19th centuries.
This period is relevant to pet lovers because it was during this time that animal and people power were replaced by the incredible power of steam, and in turn millennia of those toiling at physical labor could turn that energy towards improving the quality of their lives.
Rosen describes a system of legal and cultural changes that encouraged – actually incentivized – clever people from all walks of life to turn their ideas into action and create tools and knowledge that helped everyone. This phenomenon is at the heart of what good science is all about: smart people building on ideas from other smart people to make, create or understand things to improve lives.
In veterinary medicine, a culture of invention is alive and well. It is supported by grants from organizations like Morris Animal Foundation that support the best and most promising scientific ideas. There are incredibly smart people looking for ways to solve animals’ problems every day.
At our Foundation, we’ve initiated the largest study ever conducted in veterinary medicine – a 10-year long, $25 million dollar study following every aspect of a group of 3000 dogs in homes across the US called the Golden Retriever Lifetime study. And this is in addition to the other 240 studies that we are funding, which collectively will impact every aspect of animal health. There are new techniques that are tested, and new protocols that are proven to be better than the old way we were doing things.
We’re surrounded every day with bad, sometimes scary news. But since the Industrial revolution people and animals’ lives have been positively impacted in the best way possible: smart people identifying - then solving, the problems we face.
For the animals we love, the only thing I wish for is to increase the pace these problems are being addressed by increasing the funding these inventors and scientists can receive. As animals’ place in our society continues to make strides, so does my confidence that their problems will rank alongside the greatest ones of mankind and cures will be found.