Claude Bernard’s Vivisection, suffering of Animals and a divorce!

Claude Bernard (July 12, 1813 – February 10, 1878) was a French physiologist. He is considered as the "Father of Physiology". Claude Bernard's aim, was to establish the use of the scientific method in medicine. He dismissed many previous misconceptions, took nothing for granted, and relied on experimentation.

Bernard practiced vivisection to the disgust of his wife and his daughter. Vivisection is surgery conducted upon a living organism, typically animals with a central nervous system. He firmly believed that the advancement of medicine and the relief of human suffering justified the suffering of animals but his wife was not convinced, the couple were officially separated in 1869 and his wife went on to actively campaign against the practice of vivisection.

His wife and daughter were not the only ones disgusted by the cruelty of Bernard's animal experiments. George Hoggan a physician-scientist who spent four months observing and working in Bernard's labortory and was one of the few contemporary authors to chronicle what actually went on there. He was later moved to write that his experiences in Bernard's lab had made him "prepared to see not only science, but even mankind, perish rather than have recourse to such means of saving it."

A broader interpretation of vivisection includes non-behavioural experimental research involving living animals. In this interpretation, the term is preferred by those opposed to research using animals, as there it implies otherwise avoidable suffering. In the scientific community, vivisection for living tissue study has been superseded by modern techniques, and the term "animal experimentation" is applied to all research involving animal studies, regardless of mortality. Non-arbitrary research requiring vivisection techniques that cannot be met through other means are subject to an external ethics review in conception and implementation. Although vivisection is restricted to cancer and other malignant disease research, the distinction between humanitarian and commercial goals remains a contentious issue.

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