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News: Vivisection

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Background information on Vivisection [When available]

Etymologically, vivisection refers to the dissection or, more generally, any cutting or surgery upon a living animal, typically for the purpose of physiological or pathological scientific investigation.

Some dictionaries and encyclopaedias use the term "vivisection" to refer to any kind of harmful animal experiment, whether it entails surgery or not. "Vivisection" has thus become an emotive term (Croce 1991). It is claimed that animal rights advocates attempt to use the word "vivisection" to recast the terms of the discourse on animal research to favor their position. The term has been applied broadly to any type of experimentation in which animals (including humans) are injured, with or without cutting or surgery (see animal testing for information on other forms of animal experimentation). Supporters of animal research and testing respond that animal experimentation does not require the invasive procedures suggested by the word "vivisection".

Historical overview

Comparatively recent (mainly since the 19th century) controversy regarding vivisection has centred around moral questions of whether the benefits of animal experimentation outweigh the suffering inflicted. Those advocating a strict animal rights view, rather than a more general animal welfare position, may argue that, regardless of possible benefits to society, vivisection is immoral based on its transgression of the rights of animals.

Modern codes of practice like those issued by the U.S. National Institute of Health or the British Home Office require that any invasive procedure on laboratory animals must be performed under deep surgical anaesthesia. These codes are legally binding for most organisations involved in vivisection in the western world (see, for example the U.K. animals (scientific procedures) act (ASPA). Welfare laws and accepted codes of conduct specify that the procedures carried out on laboratory animals should not be painful to them, however the laws do allow for anaesthetic not to be used if it will confound the results of an experiment. Opponents to vivisection claim that the law can fail to protect animals being vivisected [1] and point to undercover investigations showing that animals sometimes do suffe

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