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Sources of laboratory animals vary between countries and species; most animals are purpose-bred, while a minority are caught in the wild or supplied by dealers who obtain them from auctions and pounds.
In 1831, the founders of the Dublin Zoo were members of the medical profession who were interested in studying animals while they were alive and when they were dead.
These divisions between pro- and anti- animal testing groups first came to public attention during the Brown Dog affair in the early 1900s, when hundreds of medical students clashed with anti-vivisectionists and police over a memorial to a vivisected dog.
In 1822, the first animal protection law was enacted in the British parliament, followed by the Cruelty to Animals Act (1876), the first law specifically aimed at regulating animal testing.
Aristotle and Erasistratus were among the first to perform experiments on living animals.
Avenzoar, a 12th-century Arabic physician in Moorish Spain also practiced dissection; he introduced animal testing as an experimental method of testing surgical procedures before applying them to human patients.
Animal testing, also known as animal experimentation, animal research and in vivo testing, is the use of non-human animals in experiments that seek to control the variables that affect the behavior or biological system under study.