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(vĭv'ĭsĕk`shən), dissection of living animals for experimental purposes. The use of the term in recent years has been expanded to include all experimentation on living animals, rather than just dissection alone. The practice contributed to the outstanding progress that was made in the 17th cent. by William Harvey in understanding the circulation of the blood. However, the use of research animals in the laboratory did not become widespread in Europe until the 19th cent. In 1896, when the National Institute of Health originated in the United States, it began to take an active role in encouraging proper care and use of laboratory animals. Since 1945, the National Society for Medical Research has tried to explain to the public the nature and necessity of experimental procedures on animals. During the 1980s, the incidence of vandalism, harassment, and theft in research centers using animals for testing increased greatly. Most nations have government agencies that assume advisory or regulatory roles in the practice of vivisection. Private organizations in the United States concerned with vivisection include the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In the United States today, strict rules and procedures, laid down by the National Institutes of Health and a number of other public and private organizations, ensure ethical and sensitive use of animals for research. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Animal Welfare Regulations are among the most important documents setting forth requirements for animal care and use by institutions using animals in research, testing, and education. Regulations have been effective since 1985. Members of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees observe and enforce compliance to these rulings on institutional levels. The USDA regularly inspects all institutions that use animals for experimental purposes. Animals most frequently used in the laboratory include rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and monkeys. When animals more closely resembling humans in size and structure are needed, dogs and chimpanzees may be utilized. Animal experimentation is especially advantageous if offspring of several generations are to be observed: for instance, about 5 generations of mice can be observed in a year, whereas in humans the same experiment would require over 100 years.


See studies by T. Regan (1988), S. Sperling (1988), and B. Rollin (1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the performance of operations on live animals for the purpose of studying the functions of the body, the effect of medicinal substances, methods of surgical treatment, and so forth. In vivisection the research is conducted at the time of the operation itself—for example, in an acute experiment through irritation, transplantation, or removal of an organ. On the other hand, in a chronic experiment (originated by I. P. Pavlov), the operation merely serves as a preparation for subsequent research (for example, the creation of a fistula of the salivary gland or stomach). Vivisection is an extremely valuable method in medical and physiological research. Experiments are conducted in such a way that animal suffering during operations is minimized by the use of narcosis and so forth. Accusations from antivivi-section societies (in Great Britain and the USA) of the torture of animals by physiologists or medical experimenters are therefore without foundation. In the USSR vivisection is permitted only for scientific purposes.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the act or practice of performing experiments on living animals, involving cutting into or dissecting the body
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
After I vivisected the mortgage interest deduction, the microphone passed to him and he completely ignored my remarks, instead talking about something else.
At the same time that tens of thousands of European Mennonites had been reaping the benefits of racial warfare, millions of their fellow humans had been tortured, brutalized, starved, injected, hung, vivisected, shot, gassed, and incinerated.
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, vivisected the current GOP front-runner, Donald Trump, on national television Thursday.
Indeed, Engels's rhetoric oddly vivisects the animal out of the human even as he is retracing Darwin's steps, and what this suggests is that the human arises properly in the competence (to invoke Chomsky's vocabulary) wherein that which separates humans and other animals is crafted, and crafted in/as language.
For the readers of the Middle Way in the Zen-oriented 1970s Byles wrote, in a more upbeat tone, that, "The Buddha-heart is in a sprig of plum blossom, and also in the humblest worm and the vivisected rat" ("Pollution, Grasping and Us" 36).
In There Goes the Gayborhood?, University of British Columbia sociologist Amin Ghaziani vivisects the transformation of these communities, which he labels "gayborhoods," as well as the emergence of gay enclaves in other urban precincts, suburbs, and small towns across America.
Still others, previously vivisected, are opened; our linger on the innards.
Personalities, which means personal criticism and analysis, presuppose a whole world-laboratory of human psyches waiting to be vivisected. (30) To acknowledge the force of Lawrence's objection is to complicate his relationship to the clinical language and methodology that marks Lawtoo's style.
PETA first began undercover investigations around 1981--getting video of rhesus monkeys being vivisected in a Maryland medical research lab by posing as employees--and a few legislatures responded by enacting laws to protect animal research from exposes.
It is apparent later on that Prendick feels a mixture of fear, irritation, and pity toward such exotic felines as the vivisected puma and the Leopard-Man in chapters 8 and 16.
Likewise, on "Ode to Alan Young, Fauxtown Legend," he vivisects a conman who pretends to be a Motown legend, and in the process, casts a shadow on people who take him at his word and buy into the con.
This occurs in the context of reminding my students that my own initial efforts as a graduate student were vivisected, and that a manuscript is a living thing that may require unanticipated magnifications and minimizations as it comes into being.