September 3, 2009
The HSUS Honors Scientist for Advancing Alternatives to Animal Testing
ROME — The Humane Society of the United States bestowed its 2009 Russell & Burch Award today to Dr. Thomas Hartung for advancing the development and implementation of non-animal methods in toxicity testing.
The HSUS presented the award at the 7th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences. Hartung is a co-organizer of the meeting. The award recognizes scientists who have made outstanding contributions toward the advancement of alternative methods in the areas of biomedical research, testing or higher education. Alternative methods are those that accomplish one or more of the "Three Rs" devised by William Russell and Rex Burch in 1959. The Three Rs are: Replacing or Reducing animal use in experiments and Refining methods so that animals experience less pain and distress.
Hartung was head of the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) from 2002 to 2008. He was recently appointed to two positions at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.: director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), and the inaugural Doerenkamp-Zbinden Chair for Evidence-Based Toxicology in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. In addition, Hartung is honorary full professor at the University of Konstanz in Germany, an active affiliation he has maintained since teaching there.
"Thomas Hartung is recognized as the world's foremost authority on alternative methods of toxicity testing," said Martin Stephens, Ph.D., The HSUS' vice president for animal research issues. "In addition to being a scientist, administrator, author, and a sought-after speaker, Thomas is also an excellent magician, and he is slowly but surely helping to make many animal-based tests disappear."
As head of ECVAM, Hartung was responsible for coordinating the independent evaluation of non-animal tests, as well as organizing efforts to promote their scientific and regulatory acceptance. Hartung accelerated the process of validating alternative methods. The test strategies developed at ECVAM will change the way safety assessments for chemicals are carried out in Europe and elsewhere.
Hartung has also helped strengthen international cooperation and coordination among national and regional validation centers.
The Russell & Burch Award is a $5,000 prize and trophy. The 2009 Award comes on the 50th anniversary of the publication of William Russell and Rex Burch's pioneering book, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique, detailing the Three Rs approach. The first Award was given in 1991 to Alan Goldberg, Hartung's predecessor as director of CAAT.
Follow The HSUS on Twitter.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.