The one-time recognition award was presented to the three scientists for their achievements in turning "the reduction, refinement and replacement of experimental animals from an ethical issue and marginally scientific hobby into mainstream science, involving leading experts in life sciences around the globe." The three laureates have spent the past two years at their respective research institutions building up the most prestigious research centers for the development of alternative methods: ZEBET (Centre for Documentation and Evaluation of Alternatives to Animal Experiments) in Berlin, FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) in Nottingham, and CAAT (Center for Alternatives in Animal Testing) in Baltimore.
Professor Horst Spielmann is an adjunct professor in regulatory toxicology at the Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy of Freie Universität Berlin. For over 20 years the physician has devoted himself to researching alternatives to experiments with animals. He has led several studies with this objective that were commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Research and the European Commission. He has previously received several international awards for his pioneering work in this area.
The 7th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences was held August 30 to September 3, 2009, to exchange information on current developments in animal welfare. Thanks to new testing methods in genomics and computational technology that make it possible to study drugs, vaccines, food additives, pesticides, and cosmetics products for their potential side effects, an unprecedented decline in animal testing is expected in the coming decade. Congress participants are assuming that in 20 years, animal testing will no longer be needed to verify the tolerability of products.
Over 950 animal rights activists and experts from politics, academia, and industry from 40 countries took part in the conference.