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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).

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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 ?
problems" and as "material for experimental physiology" (Ryder 158) explains why, for Charles Bernard and the vivisectionists, a dog like Caro is "lost material," while for Miriam and the middle-class readership of the novel, Caro is a "gentle fellow-creature" (191, 202).
Many contemporary antivivisectionists compared the fate of the suffering animal to the suffering of women under the hands of surgeons whose practices seemed not so far removed from those of vivisectionists. Activist Elizabeth Blackwell became haunted by 'the image of a woman like a vivisected animal', given her recognition that
For instance, epidemiology studies directly the way diseases like cancer, cholera, etc., actually occur in real human populations and obtains important, fundamental results otherwise unobtainable by "whole armies" of vivisectionists "conducting absurd studies on animals" (p.
In June 1909, the Journal of Zoophily, the organ of the AAVS, listed twelve arguments from the vivisectionist side as to "why vivisection is right," each manifestly flimsy.
true that as a social vivisectionist she fills her stories with period arrivistes, dour Protestants, intellectual frauds, the small minds that often accompany large fortunes.
maintains, the vivisectionist exemplifies with his impassive suppression
If that last image recalls Shelley's most famous literary vivifier (and vivisectionist), Victor Frankenstein, the comparison seems apt in that Lodore also features a scene of creation, although without the scientific and alchemical underpinning of the earlier novel.
On a clothesline in Department of Tropical Research hang shirts and pants, reminders of the bodies that animate this gear--which, in turn, remind us of the various roles Dion takes on: tropical explorer, archaeologist of the mundane, entomologist, paleontologist, spelunker, romantic traveler, vivisectionist, and so on.
(9) In The Magician's Nephew vengeance is taken against the vivisectionist Uncle Andrew; similarly, in Lewis's science fiction novels for adults, it is taken against those who experiment cruelly with animals.
In The Island of Doctor Moreau, the vivisectionist Moreau sculpts not animals out of people, like the disillusioned Rubek, but people out of animals.
He grudgingly agrees to take Colin out for a walk only to see him kidnapped by an evil vivisectionist. The only answer is to assemble a team of crack commandos in an attempt to rescue Daisy's beloved hound from the laboratory.
In The Fortnightly Review, John Bridges described the vivisectionist as a kind of "scientific geographer at home" obtaining "precise knowledge of the geographical structure of a country, of the elevation of its plateaux and mountain ranges, of the geological features, and of the average rainfall in different latitudes and longitudes." (21) The country described in this rather improbably extended metaphor is, of course, the inner landscape of the experimental animal, an internal geography which advocates of vivisection in the nineteenth century frequently represented as coterminous with the landscapes which had long been the province of natural historians.