Experimental research with animals is usually conducted in universities, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, defense establishments and commercial facilities that provide animal-testing services to industry.
The focus of animal testing varies on a continuum from pure research, focusing on developing fundamental knowledge of an organism, to applied research, which may focus on answering some question of great practical importance, such as finding a cure for a disease.
In the European Union, vertebrate species represent 93% of animals used in research, and 11.5 million animals were used there in 2011.
By one estimate the number of mice and rats used in the United States alone in 2001 was 80 million.
The increased use of assistance animals is also complicated by the lack of surveillance, and a complex and often contradictory regulatory framework.
For this Research Topic, we invite papers representing a variety of approaches from various countries that elucidate and advance the roles of assistance animals.
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Literally, "vivisection" means "live sectioning" of an animal, and historically referred only to experiments that involved the dissection of live animals.
The term is occasionally used to refer pejoratively to any experiment using living animals; for example, the Encyclopædia Britannica defines "vivisection" as: "Operation on a living animal for experimental rather than healing purposes; more broadly, all experimentation on live animals", The earliest references to animal testing are found in the writings of the Greeks in the 2nd and 4th centuries BC.