Vivisection (Encyclopedia of Science)
Vivisection (pronounced vih-vih-SEK-shun) literally means the dissection or cutting of a living animal. The term has come to apply to any and all types of experiments on live animals, and it is a term to which many scientists object. People who believe that humans have no right to perform any type of experiments on animals are sometimes called antivivisectionists, although they can be more properly described as animal rights activists.
Humans have been using animals for their own purposes probably from the earliest times, and some would say that the notion that people are more important than animals is taught in the Bible. The Greeks said that since animals could not think as humans did, they were a lesser form of life, and this notion was continued by Christians who said that since animals had no souls, they were not really important. With the beginning of modern science in the seventeenth century, animals were used as an easy way of understanding our own bodies. That is, a doctor would cut open a pig or a sheep and study its internal organs as a way of learning more about human anatomy. But cutting into a dead animal's body is different than performing an experiment on a living subject.
Scientific use of animals
By the nineteenth century, doctors were regularly using cows, sheep, and goats to study...
(The entire section is 1001 words.)
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