Animal Testing

Decent Essays

Animal testing is a controversial topic in today’s society, much more than it was 100’s of years ago. Testing on animals was practiced long ago, and is still practiced today. Greek writings about vivisection [the dissection of a live organism] can be found dated as early as 500 BC. At that time, in Ancient Rome and Alexandria, and later in Greece, vivisection was originally practiced on human criminals, but prohibitions on the mutilation of the human body soon arose. This caused a reliance on animals as a substitute for humans. Many physician-scientists believed that animals lacked intelligence, so justice and injustice could not possibly apply to them. One such physician-scientist was the popular Aristotle. Other physician-philosophers such as Galen (130-200 AD) engaged in public vivisections, which was a popular form of entertainment. The purpose of vivisection was to develop theories of human anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology. In one of Galen’s experiments on an animal, he demonstrated that arteries actually contained blood, disproving earlier physician’s belief that the arteries contained air. A French philosopher named René Descartes (1596-1650) experimented occasionally on animals as well. He believed that animals were automata; unable to experience pain and suffering in the same way humans do. Lastly, English Physician William Harvey (1578-1657), through vivisection experimentation, discovered that the heart was the organ that circulated blood

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