EFSA Deputy Director awarded prize for efforts in improving animal welfare

Herman Koëter, Deputy Executive Director and Director of Science of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been awarded the prestigious Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation prize for his efforts in improving animal welfare through the development of alternative methods to animal testing.

Herman Koëter has received the award principally in recognition of his achievements in introducing non-animal tests into the regulatory assessment approaches of all EU Member States, Canada, the USA, Japan, Australia and other countries. Before joining EFSA, Herman Koëter led the OECD’s scientific work on international harmonization of hazard and risk assessment approaches, which is where he successfully integrated the issue of non-animal testing.

EFSA’s main role is to scientifically assess the safety of food and animal feed based on the most recent and available sound scientific data, some of which is collected involving animal tests. EFSA is developing a proactive animal welfare policy aimed at stimulating the development of risk assessment approaches which encourage the reduction and replacement where possible of the use of experimental animals. This work will be carried out based on sound scientific principles without compromising the integrity of EFSA’s risk assessment procedures and the high scientific quality of its work. As Deputy Executive Director and Director of Science, one of Herman Koëter’s many tasks will be to carry forward this work.

Commenting on the award, Geoffrey Podger, EFSA’s Executive Director said: “On behalf of everyone at EFSA, I should like to offer the warmest congratulations to Herman for his achievements. We are indeed fortunate to have such a distinguished colleague with a wealth of experience which undoubtedly benefits EFSA’s approach to animal welfare.”

The Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation awards one prize every year. The prize is aimed at honouring scientists who have significantly contributed to reducing suffering of animals in animal experimentation. This could be through research, harmonization of methodologies, assessment approaches and raising awareness (For further information on the award: http://www.doerenkamp.ch/en/default.html?id=64). This year’s prize will be awarded in Berlin during the 5th World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences from 21-25 August.

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