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A vivisection (as the name for 'dissections in living people and animals' from Latin: vivus "living" and sectio "incision") is a surgical intervention on the living organism (for research purposes), i. H. on animals as well as on living humans - in contrast to necropsy .

Use of vivisection on animals

Vivisection is carried out to test surgical methods - also for teaching purposes - and is now usually carried out under anesthesia or at least under local anesthesia . Vivisections are controversial for reasons of animal welfare ; they may mostly only be carried out under the conditions of the Animal Welfare Act . Since the beginning of the publication there were doubts about the scientific sense of vivisections. Numerous organizations around the world are active against vivisection, including the European Stop Vivisection , the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) and the Israeli Society for the Abolition of Vivisection .

Vivisection, animal experimentation and animal welfare

The term vivisection, colloquially used in the 19th century to describe all kinds of animal experiments, was used by scientists, but above all by opponents of vivisection, colloquially for all non-therapeutic interventions on living animals until well into the second half of the 20th century. Accordingly, the original Latin meaning of the term vivisection has expanded over time and has established itself in dictionaries internationally as a synonym for all types of animal experimentation , as well as the term antivivisectionist for opponents of animal experimentation:

  • The word "vivisection" referred to any type of animal experiment, whether the animals are dissected or not. ( Encyclopaedia Americana )
  • Intervention on living animals for scientific experimental purposes. ( Duden ).

By the end of the 20th century at the latest, the term vivisection was largely superseded in the German-speaking world by the term Tierversuch as the basic name for the experimental use of living animals in pharmacology, physiology and other disciplines.

In the UK and France in the late 19th century, the resistance organized against the method - for example by the English publisher Charles Warren Adams and by Marie-Françoise Bernard , the wife of the physiologist Claude Bernard , and Étienne Pariset , the founder of the Société protect rice of animaux .

The term is also used in a figurative sense to denote an approach that is disrespectful or dangerous towards an object of investigation.

Vivisection in Humans in Medical History

The meaning of vivisection in humans was already hotly debated in antiquity, as the Roman encyclopaedist Celsus ( De medicina, prooemium 23-26. 40-44, 74), who died around 50 AD, reports, referring to the Alexandria Medical School refers to the usual vivisections of those sentenced to death. Scientific methodological and ethical arguments oppose the two schools of theoreticians and the empiricists. Theoreticians consider it necessary to know the causes of diseases and therefore demand a precise knowledge of the internal organs, which can sometimes only be gained through vivisection. On the other hand, the empiricists object that the internal organs are changed during vivisection and that the findings are therefore not usable; In addition, by treating the sick and opening corpses, the desired knowledge may be obtained more slowly, but much more gently and without cruelty. In ancient medical practice, human vivisection was rarely performed.

During National Socialism , u. a. Vivisections carried out on concentration camp prisoners without anesthesia . Vivisections on animals, however, were strictly forbidden by the Reich Animal Protection Act. On the Japanese side , too, vivisections were carried out on humans during World War II, especially on an enormous scale by Unit 731 .


  • W. Deuse: Celsus in the Proömium of 'De medicina': Roman appropriation of Greek science. In: ANRW II, 27.1 (1993), pp. 819-841, esp. 831-841.
  • Andreas-Holger Maehle: Vivisection. In: Werner E. Gerabek u. a. (Ed.): Encyclopedia of medical history. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1451 f.
  • Nicolas Perthes / Birgit Grieseck / Marcus Krause / Katja Sabisch (eds.): “Menschenversuche”. An anthology. 1750-2000. Frankfurt a. M .: Suhrkamp 2008 (779 pages).
  • J. Pigeaud: Un médecin humaniste: Celse. Notes sur le 'prooemium' du 'De Medicina'. In: Les Études Classiques 40 (1972), pp. 302-310, esp. 304ff.
  • Christian Schulze: Celsus . Hildesheim: Olms / Darmstadt: WBG 2001, p. 34f., There 145 lit. index.!
  • Theodor Meyer-Steineg : Vivisection in ancient medicine. In: International Monthly for Science, Art and Technology 6, 1912, pp. 1491–1512.
  • Wolfgang Zapfe: Ancient medicine in class. Using the example of the topic 'Research, Help, Earning' (Consilia - Teacher's Comments 4). Göttingen: V&R 1982, especially pp. 17-20.
  • Wolfgang Zapfe: Research, Help, Earn. The doctor in ancient times. A course for teaching Latin from 10th to 12th Grade. Texts with explanations. Work assignments and accompanying texts (Exempla 4). Göttingen: V&R (1982) 2nd ed. 1994, pp. 16-19 (text). 39f. (Work orders).

Individual evidence

  1. The great foreign dictionary. 2nd revised and expanded edition. Dudenverlag, Mannheim, Leipzig, Vienna, Zurich 2000, ISBN 3-411-04162-5 , p. 1404.
  2. Archived copy ( memento of the original from January 11, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Stop vivisection @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ [1] American Anti-Vivisection Society
  4. ^ [2] Israeli Society for the Abolition of Vivisection
  5. Ulrich Tröhler, Holger Maehle: Anti-Vivisection in Nineteenth-Century Germany and Switzerland: Motives and Methods. In: Nicolaas A. Rupke (Ed.): Vivisection in Historical Perspective. 2nd Edition. London 1990, pp. 149-187.
  6. ^ A b Pietro Croce: Animal experiment or science: a choice. Book publisher CIVIS Publications, Massagno, September 1988, ISBN 3-905280-05-7 , p. 21.
  7. ^ Duden - Volume 1: The German orthography. 24th, completely revised and expanded edition. Dudenverlag, Mannheim, Leipzig, Vienna, Zurich 2006, ISBN 978-3-411-04014-8 , p. 1089.
  8. ^ Pschyrembel Clinical Dictionary. 255th edition. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York 1986, ISBN 3-11-007916-X , p. 1672
  9. German translation in: Aulus Cornelius Celsus, About medicine science in eight books. Translated and explained by Eduard Scheller. 2nd Edition. Braunschweig 1906 (reprint: Darmstadt: WBG, 1967), p. 24 [prooem. 23-26]. 27 f. [prooem. 40-44]. 33 [prooem. 74].
  10. See also Jutta Kollesch , Diethard Nickel : Antike Heilkunst. Selected texts from the medical writings of the Greeks and Romans. Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig 1979 (= Reclams Universal Library. Volume 771); 6th edition ibid 1989, ISBN 3-379-00411-1 , p. 27 f. and 84. ( Aulus Cornelius Celsus, Die Medizin, Book 1 , from the preface).
  11. ^ [3] Report of a victim Dr. Mengeles
  12. "Love for animals and enemies"
  13. ^ "Unmasking Horror" Nicholas D. Kristof (March 17, 1995) New York Times. A special report .; Japan Confronting Gruesome War Atrocity
  14. Unlocking a deadly secret ( Memento of November 24, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Photos of vivisection
  15. Human experiments , accessed June 25, 2010.

Web links

Commons : Vivisections  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Vivisection  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations