What is Vivisection?

What is Vivisection?

Vivisection: The practice of cutting into or using invasive techniques on live animals. Derived from the Latin vivus, or alive, vivisection is commonly called animal experimentation.


What is animal experimentation

Animal experimentation is the use of animals for claimed scientific purposes where animals are forced to undergo procedures that are likely to cause them pain, injury or death, and that is not meant to benefit the individual animal involved.


Animal experimentation is often detrimental to the individual animals involved and can include:

  • Forcing animals to inhale toxic substances
  • Force-feeding or injecting animals with potentially lethal substances
  • Subjecting animals to situations whereby they are deprived of their basic needs (food, water, shelter, sunlight, air, companionship)
  • Putting animals in terrifying situations to create depression and anxiety
  • Creating illness, disease or injury deliberately by subjecting healthy animals to invasive medical procedures such as removing organs or tissues.
  • Killing animals to use their bodies in dissections.
  • Purposefully breeding animals to create offspring that are more susceptible to disease, pain or distress during their life.


Other important definitions

Animal: When we refer to an animal, we are referring to anyone within the animal kingdom - The group of living organisms typically distinguished from members of the plant and mineral kingdom by the power of moving from place to place and by a metabolism that does not use photosynthesis, this includes insects.


Animal research: This isn’t the same as ‘animal experimentation’. Animal research is what Dr. Jane Goodall does: she studies animals is their wild habitats and does not hurt them intentionally ever – the same would be true for ‘human research’, which includes post-drug development surveillance; clinical research; post mortems and epidemiology.


Animal-based research: Animals used in research aimed at improving the health and welfare of humans and research aimed at improving the health and welfare of production and companion animals (i.e. veterinary research).


Animal-based testing: Animals used as claimed models for public health testing or as claimed models for the safety, efficacy or quality of products to meet regulatory requirements for human and additionally animal products, either in New Zealand or internationally.


Animal-based teaching: Animals used for teaching or instruction, at any level. It involves the passing on of knowledge rather than the acquisition of new knowledge.


Harmful use of animals for research, testing or teaching: Any method where animals are forced to undergo something that is likely to cause them pain, injury, distress or death and that is not meant to benefit the individual subject involved. This includes killing animals for research, testing or teaching purposes.


Non-harmful uses of animals for research, testing or teaching: Any method that does not involve harmful interventions resulting in pain, distress, injury, or death, including:

  • Procedures that are already needing to be performed for the sole purpose of improving the quality of health of the individual animal.
  • Observational or behavioural RTT methods on free-living and sanctuary animals where participation is voluntary. This would involve the voluntary or passive participation of the subject where RTT methods are compatible with the subject's natural habits (ethology).
  • RTT that is done for conservation purposes of the species involved in the study.