7th World Congress – Animal Alternative’s Premier 2009 Event

Home / In the Spotlight / 7th World Congress – Animal Alternative’s Premier 2009 Event

In the Spotlight

7th World Congress – Animal Alternative’s Premier 2009 Event

Sherry Ward, AltTox Contributing Editor

Published: March 31, 2009

Deadline for WC Abstracts Extended to April 15.

The World Congresses on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences are the longest running series of international scientific conferences dedicated to the replacement, reduction, and refinement (3Rs) of animal use in research and safety testing. Since 1993, these conferences have been held every 2-3 years, and have attracted a large international group of stakeholders and leading experts interested in scientific approaches to the development and use of methods that replace, reduce, and/or refine (the 3Rs) animal-based laboratory methods.

This year, the 7th World Congress will take place in Rome, Italy from August 30 to September 3, 2009. The deadline for abstract submission is

April 10, 2009


An Historical Perspective

The First World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences took place in Baltimore, Maryland in 1993. The origins of the World Congress (WC) meetings were the annual symposiums organized by the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT). “CAAT’s symposium series was so successful that it evolved into the World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences,” according to Dr. Alan Goldberg, who at the time was Director of CAAT. CAAT served as the host for the First World Congress, and Drs. Goldberg and Bert van Zutphen, then a professor in laboratory animal science at Utrecht University, served as co-chairs.

The World Congresses were originally intended to take place every three years and to alternate in location between the US and the EU where most of the interest in the 3Rs was concentrated. However, since animal welfare concerns have clearly spread globally, they have been scheduled for every other year since 2005 and are no longer limited to the US and Europe. In 2007 Japan hosted the first Asian congress of the series. Details and links to proceedings, when available, for the six past World Congresses and the upcoming WC7 are summarized in Table 1.

At the 2007 World Congress, Dr. Goldberg’s presentation The science of alternatives: 25 years and tomorrow described the World Congresses as events where “scientists and others have gathered to share knowledge, science, friendship, and a dedication to humaneness.”

2009 World Congress in Rome

The location of the 7th World Congress in Rome, Italy provides a convenient location for the many EU participants as well as an attractive venue for international travelers from North America, Asia, and other locations. The 7th WC website provides information on the meeting sponsors, organizing and steering committees, and the preliminary program. The meeting website is also the place to go for registration and hotel reservations. A second announcement in the form of a flyer is also available.

The welcome message from the Congress Co-chairs, Herman Koëter and Thomas Hartung, reminds us that “2009 is marked not only by the 50th anniversary of Russell & Burch’s definition of the 3R’s, but also by the European deadline for phasing out animal testing for cosmetics, and the start of the REACH chemical test program.”

The co-chairs describe the 2009 program as being divided into specific day themes as follows:

  • DAY I: INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES, CONCEPTS AND APPROACHES: addresses broad concepts, approaches and strategies, integrating new technologies such as genomics, proteomics, metabonomics, and systems biology.
  • DAY II: AREAS OF ANIMAL USE: includes basic research, development of pharmaceuticals, safety assessment of specific product types and biologicals including vaccines; also covers new developments in education and training and multi-annual animal welfare action plans and large-scale testing programs.
  • DAY III: PROGRESS IN LIFE SCIENCE DOMAINS: addresses basic and applied research and specific hazard endpoints, including animal welfare science and environmental science.
  • (HALF) DAY IV: 50 YEARS AFTER RUSSEL & BURCH: highlights scientific developments relevant to the 3R’s, with emphasis on the exponential progress in recent years, its implications for science, public health, and animal use and welfare.

If you have time in your schedule for only one animal alternative meeting this year, this is the place to meet and share your latest research, policy advances, and ideas with many international colleagues with similar interests and goals in promoting the 3Rs. AltTox.org is planning to present a poster at the 7th World Congress and to participate in the September 1st lunch session Communication Strategies. The major supporters of AltTox, The Humane Society of the United States and Procter & Gamble, have been associated with the World Congresses since their inception, as supporters, co-organizers, and speakers.
Table 1. Summary of World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences meetings.

World Congress




Congress Co-Chairs





Baltimore, MarylandCAATAlan Goldberg & Bert van ZutphenBook: Alternative Methods in Toxicology, Vol. 11750


Utrecht, The NetherlandsUniversity of UtrechtBert van Zutphen & Michael BallsBook: Animal Alternatives, Welfare and Ethics; CAAT Newsletter, 14(2), Conference Highlights:
M. Barker
D. Rudacille
900-1000; 37 countries


Bologna, ItalyECVAMMichael Balls & Andrew RowanBook: Progress in the Reduction, Refinement and Replacement of Animal Experimentation850; 40 countries


New Orleans, LouisianaHSUS; Alternatives Congress TrustHorst Spielmann & Andrew RowanATLA 32, Suppl. 1, 2004500; 34 countries


Berlin, GermanyZEBET; Alternatives Congress TrustHorst Spielmann & Andrew RowanALTEX Special Issue 2006; Abstracts~900; 45 countries


Tokyo, JapanJapanese Society of Alternatives for Animal Experiments; Alternatives Congress Trust; Science Council of JapanYasuo Ohno & Horst SpielmannAATEX, Vol. 14; AltWeb>1,000; >35 countries


Rome, ItalyAlternatives Congress TrustHerman Koëter & Thomas Hartung


Montreal, CanadaCanadian Council on Animal CareClement Gauthier & Herman Koëter

*As reported on WC websites and various articles on AltWeb.
**April 10, 2009 is the deadline for abstract submission.