[[quoteright:200:[[VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cit_tsukihime_c47_-_ciel_-_43rd_procedure.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:200:[[ImmortalityHurts A downside to immortality.]]]]

->''"Ever since I was a kid, I'd have this dream where somebody would find out what I could do. It starts off with lots of ice cream and balloons, and ends in a small white room where little bits are cut out of me until there's nothing left to cut."''
-->-- '''Ned''', ''Series/PushingDaisies''

A standard justification for any unusual character to maintain a {{Masquerade}}, because TheGovernment is Evil and ScienceIsBad and if [[GovernmentConspiracy the authorities]] got their hands on them, they'd stick them in a concrete box and [[PlayingWithSyringes perform all sorts of cruel experiments]] to find out what makes them and/or their special powers tick, either [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman destroying their quality of life, or killing them outright]] in hopes of getting [[CapturedSuperEntity all sorts of goodies.]]

Scientists will usually be portrayed as [[ForScience too obsessed to care]] for anyone or anything who might be used to further our knowledge of the universe or make a cool new weapon, caring only about the fame or payment they'll receive from their higher-ups. Only one bad scientist is enough to spoil your day, but in settings that use this trope the ''majority'' of encountered research workers are likely to be like this.

The oddest part of this trope is that the danger may ''never even materialize within the story'' -- but the certainty of it happening will '''never be questioned''' by anyone concerned. HumansAreBastards after all, InhumanableAlienRights be damned.

Sadly, there is a lot of TruthInTelevision to this trope. There is a long and dark history of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_experimentation#History_of_medical_abuse_of_human_subjects human subject research]] and the early days of biological science can best be summed up as: "Let's see how many needles we can stick in this dog before it stops making noises!"

Modern research works a lot less intrusively as sonography, [=MRIs=], and other medical imaging techniques have made hands-on vivisection less necessary for the internal examination of research subjects. Given sufficient funding and resources, there should be no reason for slicing off a limb just to see how it looks on the inside. The PlayingWithSyringes mentality of fictional "research" also happily ignores the fact that when you only have ''one'' specimen, it is a good idea to take care of it because once it stops working it'll be much harder to figure out how it used to. Of course, this is cold comfort to the specimen -- it just means the torture will be of a greater duration, and would still result in them being locked away somewhere against their will. Just because they aren't cutting you up doesn't mean they ever intend to let you wander off (or that [[AndIMustScream you won't wish they were]]).

Then there's the question of medical ethics. In RealLife, medical researchers have to follow ''very'' strict testing standards to be able to publish their results. Getting caught violating them can easily end their careers and leave them facing civil or even criminal charges. It should be noted that the NotEvenHuman excuse some scientists love to use in fiction would not be much of a defense, as no law explicitly says only ''Homo sapiens'' [[InhumanableAlienRights have the right]] to refuse to be gutted against their will. The RealLife instances where people have donated their bodies (or blood samples or whatever) to science in order to help research of particular conditions were, after all, ''voluntary''.

Of course, these considerations only apply to scientists who ''intend'' their results to be publicly documented. It can be expected that [[GovernmentConspiracy various black ops]] organizations that either suspect or already know about TheMasquerade won't care at all about any of this. (And [[NotCheatingUnlessYouGetCaught crime is only punishable if one is caught]].) Further, who knows ''what'' organizations like these would ''do'' with the knowledge they gain. So, you'll probably want to do your best not to get caught by them just the same.

Compare AlienAutopsy, in which the fantastic creature being studied is usually dead when human scientists find it in the first place, which would make such an up close and personal study sound ''significantly'' less unethical; MedicateTheMedium, in which the special ability would be dismissed as psychosis and treated as such.

See Also: PlayingWithSyringes, when they really ''do'' cut something up.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Agito, the short-tempered fire fairy from ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'', can only remember being confined in a lab, which had left her almost completely broken, physically and mentally. According to her, she was only days away from death by exhaustion before being rescued.
* ''Manga/{{Ajin}}'': Getting caught by the government is basically fate worse than death for any Ajin, as Kei found out during his short stay. The scientists basically do all sorts of horrible tests, from slowly cutting off all your limbs, to crushing you in a trash compactor, etc. etc. Companies will pay to use Ajin to test the safety functions of their products. And as Ajin simply revive fully healthy whenever they "die", it's basically eternal hell for them. Luckily for Kei, he managed to escape after only a few days of torture.
* ''Manga/MidoriDays'' manifests the danger in the form of a MadScientist who, of course, wants to dissect Midori ForScience.
* A variant is Alphonse Elric from ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist.'' Mustang advises Al not to continue with the State Alchemy exam because there is often a physical examination involved, at which point they would discover his armor is empty and cart him off to a laboratory for study. However, Al doesn't have a masquerade; people who don't know the truth simply assume he likes armor/feels safe inside it.
** Later on in [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime version]], at least, it's implied that most people know he's a living suit of armor, but since the government already knows how to create those, [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight nobody really gives a damn]]. At the time of the exam, Colonel Mustang wasn't ''quite'' high enough in the chain of command to realize this.
* ''Manga/{{Narutaru}}'' plays with this; Akira is really worried that something along these lines will happen if people find out about the "shadow dragons" because "[[GenreSavvy that's how it always happens in manga...]]"
** Which, given the series' [[HumansAreBastards tone]] and [[CrapsaccharineWorld setting]], is is probably 100% accurate (or worse).
* Ryouta attests that this is why the escaped Magic Users in ''Manga/BrynhildrInTheDarkness'' (who received their powers through PlayingWithSyringes in the first place) can't simply go public. They'd just end up back in the lab again. Which is odd considering the efforts the antagonists themselves go to to make sure that ordinary people don't find out about the existence of the Magic Users.
** When confronted about this particular paradox, Ryouta rightly points out that Vingulf would simply set up another lab somewhere else under new management, which is sadly TruthInTelevision.
* Dr. K-ko's antagonist status in ''Anime/MagicalPokaan'' comes from her intent to fool around with the girls in a lab.
* In the early episodes of ''Manga/SgtFrog'', this is part of the reason (along with imprisonment and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking potential traffic accidents]]) why the alien frogs are not allowed to go out on their own, at least before they develop their {{Mobile Suit Human}}s.
* In the ''Manga/ExcelSaga'' manga, this happening to [[DeathIsCheap Hyatt]] is one of many reasons Excel is nervous about health care providers.
* Between this and [[spoiler:[[AndIMustScream drowning at the bottom of the Hudson River for half a century]]]], Eve Genoard of ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' chooses this fate for [[spoiler:her missing brother]].
** She needn't worry though, because [[spoiler: it turns out her brother wasn't there -- the Lemures fished him out to use as a bargaining chip]].
* ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'': [[spoiler:In her backstory, Ciel]] was subjected to a ''very'' thorough "examination" after TheChurch discovered her bizarre ability to automatically, completely regenerate from any injury. No matter what they did, she just wouldn't die, but that didn't stop them from trying over and over again. In her route in the game, she attempts to kill Shiki [[spoiler:after he is possessed by Roa]] to keep him from suffering the same fate.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Utawarerumono}}'', [[spoiler: Hakurou]] takes his [[PettingZooPeople Petting Zoo Person]] girlfriend and runs, not wanting this to happen to her. [[spoiler: [[{{Squick}} He]] [[TearJerker fails]].]]
* ''{{LightNovel/Durarara}}'' has an interesting variation on this: instead of capturing [[HeadlessHorseman Celty]] and performing a forced vivisection, a doctor approaches the supernatural entity in question and ''asks her'' if she would be willing to undergo such a procedure in exchange for a permanent place to stay -- and she agrees. The results are still rather traumatic for her though, as it turns out that TheFairFolk are resistant to drugs and anesthesia. She then lives and falls in love with one of the scientists who did the work, and it's implied that she even works for the organization [[spoiler: even after she learns they're holding her head]].
* Tessla in the ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' manga didn't have a chance to run away. Her life and death make up Vash and Knives' [[DarkAndTroubledPast tragic]] {{backstory}}.
* Subverted and justified in ''Anime/DigimonTamers'': the local [[TheMenInBlack Men In Black]]'s leader Yamaki has an all-consuming hatred for Digimon, and really ''would'' cut them up. At one point, he sadistically destroys a Digimon on-screen over the mon's pleas for mercy. Takato worries about this for Guilmon and at one point imagines the army brutally gunning down his dinosaur buddy. [[spoiler:Yamaki eventually sees the error of his ways, at which point the Tamers stop caring about keeping their Digimon hidden.]]
* Dr Ni has expressed his interest in research of the slightly odd characteristics of the youkai-ness of most of the sanzo party in ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}''. Given who this is, it's safe to assume this research wouldn't be pleasant.
* ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'' has references to PANDORA practicing experimentation on Contractors. It's mentioned that initially, various countries did this, until a U.N. treaty intervened. Not to stop this, but to demand that countries would share their research. The manga provided some glimpses into one of such research facilities.
** One has to wonder at the sanity of these scientists as well, because running human testing of an... unethical persuasion on a test subject whose only priority is their own survival, and is [[TheUnfettered quite willing to go to any extreme]] to stay alive and is superpowered doesn't seem like the best idea. The only reason any Contractor would have (willingly) stayed in those facilities was because they thought that their chance of survival was better if they did, but that doesn't necessarily mean they enjoy what goes on there. The instant they felt that staying in the testing was more likely to end up with them dead than escaping, they would have put their all into leaving. And we are talking about a group of people who could do anything from literally just [[TeleportSpam teleporting out on a whim]], [[PlayingWithFire to creating a firestorm to escape]], [[MakingASplash to causing a flood]], [[GravityMaster to crushing the walls with gravity]], etc. That said, any testing facility that treated its Contractors well could very easily have a BadassArmy on demand if there was ever a threat to the facility.
* In ''Anime/{{Witchblade}}'' at some point the wielder was captured and examined, but it turned out that while she was kept sedated, they wouldn't dare do anything that could look like an attempt to harm or remove its host (it can mince heavy machinery in an eyewink even ''against'' her will) before killing her outright. Manga, on the other hand, contained flashbacks about [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke genetic]] experimentation with demon remnants as a source for creation of {{Super Soldier}}s ([[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters this didn't end well]]).
* Referenced in ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'', when the [[ChurchMilitant Magdalan Order]] approaches [[BlessedWithSuck Joshua]] about joining them so they can help him learn to use his powers better, his sister Rosette tries to convince him not to by telling him they'll perform experiments on him and "[[PeopleJars pickle you in formaldehyde!]]" Joshua's response is just to laugh and tell her she reads too many books. (And she doesn't seem to believe it anyway, she just [[DontSplitUsUp doesn't want them to take Joshua away from her]].)
* Subverted: When [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Special Agent Axel Hughes]] finds out that Joey is the KidWithTheRemoteControl for ''Manga/{{Heroman}}'', Joey asks him what's going to happen to him. "The U.S. Government is going to lock you away and do experiments on you for the rest of your life." Upon the look of horror on Joey's face, Axel laughs and tells him, that ''no''; a friendly alliance is more beneficial for everyone. "You really thought we were going to do that?"
* [[MadScientist Mayuri Kurotsuchi]] in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' wants to cut up and experiment on anybody who demonstrates abilities he's unfamiliar with. He's equal-opportunity, though; he also cuts up and experiments on ''himself''.
* In ''Manga/{{Nichijou}}'', miss Nakamura wishes to do this to the robotic Nano, so she can take credit for inventing her. If Nakamura weren't so inept at her repeated attempts to kidnap Nano, this would be quite dark for such an upbeat show.
* In ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' there were three variations. [[spoiler: The first one was what Takano wants to do with Rika so that she can jump start the Hinamizawa disease and have everyone kill one and other. The second variation involved both Satako Houjo who was at a higher level of the disease and needed to take injections to quell it. Again Takano wants to dissect her, only in her case, so she can study her. The third was the people of Hinamizawa, back when they were called Onigafuchi Village. They killed, dissected and cannibalized the higher diseased members so they could develop a stronger immunity to the disease.]]
* Subverted in ''Anime/SonicX''. While the local authorities do take the giant humanoid bunny and her strange companion to a laboratory, at no point is it even implied that Cream and Cheese are in any actual danger.
* Besides the fact that she will eventually die from [[PsychoSerum drug]] withdrawal, this is also why Shinn wants to send [[SuperSoldier Stella]] back to Earth Alliance Forces in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeedDestiny''.
* Nedzu from ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'' is a very rare example of a non-human animal with a Quirk, which led to him being experimented on when he was first discovered. Eventually he was freed, though, and despite the abuse he suffered, he decided to become a hero with his SuperIntelligence, eventually becoming the principal of [[AcademyOfAdventure UA High]]. His glee when given a socially acceptable opportunity to make humans squirm serves as a sign of how traumatic the experiments were for him, though.
* The protagonist in ''Manga/MadeInAbyss'', Riko, initially hides Reg from staff at the Belchero Orphanage because she fears this happening to him. Since he's a robot who apparently came from the Abyss, and since relics are frequently objects of study, this fear isn't unreasonable. Later, when Reg and Riko meet Nanachi, they explain that they normally hide from Delvers because they fear this happening to them, as well, [[spoiler:since they are the only person known to have returned from the Sixth Layer of the Abyss with most of their humanity intact]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/{{Vogelein}}'', this is one of the arguments the Duskie gives for why HumansAreTheRealMonsters, saying that they'll take the title character, lock her up, and take her to pieces to see how she works. Considering that she's a clockwork Faerie...
* A different example has {{Deadpool}} supporting character Montgomery at the mercy of a corporation that keeps him hooked up to machines, the better to utilize his precognition to their advantage.
* In ''GIJoe vs. the Franchise/{{Transformers}}'', the Joes are ordered to do this to [[KidAppealCharacter Bumblebee]] and Wheeljack by their superiors, who [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman only see them as machines]]. They almost carry them out, until a stunned Wheeljack reveals that the army's plans of nuking Cobra Island will have disastrous consequences...
* This was the motivation behind mutated child Batwing's rampage in ''Comicbook/UntoldTalesOfSpiderMan''. When Spider-Man discovers him and promises to get him help, he freaks out completely because, as he put it, "Not going... get cut up by scientists... like mom said!"
* Sadly proved right in ''ComicBook/ElseworldsFinestSupergirlAndBatgirl'', when ComicBook/{{Supergirl}} discovers ComicBook/LexLuthor found and dissected [[Franchise/{{Superman}} her baby cousin]] many years ago.
* The ComicBook/{{Planetary}}/[[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLA]] crossover oneshot is set in an alternate reality where the Planetary organization controls the advancement of science and technology the world over. By the time of the story, they've ''already'' cut up [[ComicBook/TheFlash Barry Allen]] and Ray Palmer (the Atom) in order to create super-fast couriers and shrinking technology for ''Fantastic Voyage''-style medical procedures.
* ComicBook/NikolaiDante refuses to report back to the the Makarov Dynasty after the Romanov Dynasty Weapon Crest fuses with his body for fear that the Makarovs would cut him up to learn how to design a similar Weapon Crest for themselves.
* ''Comicbook/TheSandman'': One of the reasons Hob keeps his immortality a secret from most people he knows, including the mortals he falls in love with. It's too easy for him to imagine a bunch of "Noble-prize wannabes examining slices of my pancreas."
* ''ComicBook/SupermanSecretIdentity'': [[Franchise/{{Superman}} Clark Kent]] ''is'' captured and experimented on by shady military types, and only narrowly escapes. On his way out, he finds the bodies of other superhumans who weren't so lucky, some of them children. When he learns he's going to have kids of his own, he makes it clear that [[IfIWantedYouDead he could have taken the entire government apart]] a long time ago if he wanted to and is prepared to help them out on his own terms.
* ''ComicBook/{{Supergirl}}'':
** ''ComicBook/{{Bizarrogirl}}'': After helping defeat Bizarrogirl, Dr. Light wants to run tests on her. Supergirl quickly knocks Dr. Light out, picks her doppelganger and makes off with her because she doesn't want Bizarrogirl to become a guinea pig.
--->'''Supergirl:''' Dr. Light was going to keep you. Run tests on you indefinitely. I couldn't let that happen.
** In ''[[ComicBook/Supergirl2005 2011]]'' story ''Good-Looking Corpse'', Kara Zor-El investigates an abandoned clandestine research facility and finds the bodies of several Kryptonians who have been experimented on.
* Subverted in ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan''. Nick Fury explains to Peter Parker that since he is technically an illegal genetic experiment, he will become government property when he turns eighteen. Peter freaks out and assumes this trope is in effect, but Fury later clarifies that Spider-Man will simply become a SHIELD agent and a government-sanctioned superhero.
* Paul Chadwick's ''ComicBook/{{Concrete}}'' plays with this trope extensively. For one thing, the title character is just as eager to understand his transformation as the scientists are, and therefore he cooperates with them. For another, he is a world-famous celebrity, and it would be quickly noticed if he vanished mysteriously, or if some overzealous scientist got carried away with his studies. Furthermore, scientists in ''Concrete'' tend to be sympathetic characters who want to stay on the right side of the law. In fact, Concrete cooperates with the government and the military to create his cover story.
* An issue of Comicbook/{{Hellblazer}} has John Constantine dealing with the ghost of a recently deceased Unit 731 scientist who participated in these kinds of experiments. In contrast to the experiments described below under Real Life that at least had purpose, the ghost relates all manner of ForTheEvulz stories about the pointless 'experiments' he and his colleagues had done. He even preempts the question of "why?" or "How would this help you win the war?" by explaining "You have to understand; we were insane." His last request is that he wants to die being vivisected by John using his rusty wartime surgical implements before moving on, not for absolution, but because he feels it would be appropriate.
* This is ''exactly'' what pissed off the Xorda in ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'' as Ivan Kintobor ordered soldiers to capture the Xorda representative and he dissected him. The Xorda responded by obliterating most of humanity.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In the ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' fanfic [[http://archiveofourown.org/works/139056 "Interview"]], the trolls (who ended up on Earth in this fic) [[DefiedTrope defy]] this outright:
-->''First, blanket statement: we're not going with your ridiculous military scientists. No poking, no prodding, no examinations, no experiments. If you're that curious you can ask nicely, but we reserve the right to say no. And especially don't do the cliché kidnap-them-in-the-middle-of-the-night-when-they're-off-guard thing.''
* In ''Series/Supergirl2015'' fic ''Fanfic/{{Survivors}}'', a secondary character warns the Danvers that [[ComicBook/{{Supergirl}} Kara]] is being searched by a group that kills and/or experiments on aliens.
-->'''Jeremiah:''' Apparently this DEO is in the business of killing aliens or... experimenting on them. They have all been racing to find you but the DEO has given up, he believes.
* In ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'', Shag points out that John can't go home with [[WingedHumanoid wings]] because he'd be dissected; Paul unknowingly echoes this when he tries to talk John into finding a way to change back. Much later, after he really is facing the return home, John sourly reflects that at least the scientists won't be able to hang onto him.
** Also, Jeft refers to extremely powerful psionics as suffering this fate while Shag is yelling at him for apparently inducing psionic powers in Ringo.
* Has happened a couple of times in ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'' fanfic showing the nations' {{Fanon}} HealingFactor.
* [[DiscussedTrope Brought up]] in ''Fanfic/AMightyDemonSlayerGroomsSomePonies'', where the main character has nightmares that the moment the My Little Ponies reveal themselves to humans, they'll get kidnapped and experimented on by a stereotypical MadDoctor.
* One of the many reasons Shirou wants to keep the Magic Association away from the Sekirei in ''Fanfic/InFlight''.
--> ''If you are defeated, the best you can hope for is death, and your corpse will most likely be violated and experimented on.''
* An interesting variation in ''Fanfic/AradsStardust''. Funnily enough, [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Twilight Sparkle]] is ''already'' in the captivity of [[VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown XCOM]], an organization where this trope is their typical MO. However, the Council has also recommended sending Twilight to another base where only painful experimentation awaits her, which many XCOM personnel recognize as a horrible possibility and seek to prevent it.
* In ''Fanfic/{{Emergence}}'', the students who meet and befriend Team WebAnimation/{{RWBY}} ask them to keep their abilities secret, out of a fear of this happening. However, when the government finds out, they instead hope to befriend and recruit the girls.
* Defied in [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/11255/the-finger-trap The Finger Trap]]. Adrian Parker jokingly (or [[ComedicSociopathy not so jokingly]]) asks if this will be the case with [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Twilight Sparkle]], who knocked on Adrian's door. The army official tells that there are laws against that, since doing so could invite possible retaliation by the alien's civilization, citing a deleted scene from E.T.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/3442555/1/Street-Sharks-Redux Street Sharks Redux]]'', the protagonists are mindful of this trope as one of many reasons why they want to avoid being re-captured by [[MadScientist Dr. Paradigm]]. Among other things, he makes no secret of the fact that he wants to brainwash them into being his flunkies. One story arc has him capture Slammu, drugging him, and keeping him StrappedToAnOperatingTable to perform countless tests to determine what physical changes took place. Because Dr. Paradigm's into PragmaticVillainy though, he doesn't ''actually'' cut Slammu up. He plans to hold off on that until he's more sure of the potential HealingFactor or else has more test subjects...
* ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'': In the first episode of the second version, Kal-El warned Shinji about this possibility if it was discovered that his DNA was partially alien.
* In ''Fanfic/SOE2LoneHeirOfKrypton'' Asuka -ComicBook/{{Supergirl}}- keeps quiet about her powers and her alien DNA because she is afraid of becoming a guinea pig.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Subverted in ''Film/ETTheExtraterrestrial'': [[spoiler:Despite their initially sinister appearance, the scientists pursuing E.T. show no sign of wanting to cut him up, and even try to save his life when he's dying. They do want to cart him off and lock him up in a secret location while they study him, though.]]
* Averted in ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind''. [[spoiler: Both humans and aliens always planned to return everyone unharmed at the end, except for volunteers who agree to be taken to the aliens' planet.]]
* Played straight in ''Film/{{Starman}}''.
-->'''Shirmin:''' ''(disgusted)'' Welcome to planet Earth.
* In ''Film/{{Phenomenon}}'' the government is almost totally upfront about wanting to do this to George. Because George's mind is [[NinetyPercentOfYourBrain working at near 100% efficiency]], it takes him no time at all to realize what they're not saying is [[spoiler:that the exploratory surgery they want to do would kill him, and that they think they'd get less data doing the same surgery after his death.]]
* ''Film/{{Transformers}}'': They're actually ''shown'' experimenting on Bumblebee. And by "experimenting", we mean basically torturing him.
* In ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'' movie, knowledge of what Thunderbolt wants to do with the gamma power is why Bruce keeps running because he knows they'll dissect him and try to weaponize the gamma power.
* In ''Film/BeneathThePlanetOfTheApes'', Cornelius warns the fugitive astronaut Brent against speaking if captured by the apes-- "If they catch you speaking, they will dissect you. And they will kill you. [[InThatOrder In that order]]."
* Notably averted in ''Film/EscapeToWitchMountain'' and ''Return From Witch Mountain'', which revolved around the HumanAlien kids being more in danger of exploitation by greedy individuals than dissection by TheMenInBlack. However, it's played straight in the 2008 ''Film/RaceToWitchMountain''.
* In ''Film/{{Splash}}'', an "internal examination" was the next thing on the to-do list of mermaid Madison's scientist captor.
* In ''Film/{{District 9}}'' [[spoiler:Wikus]] is nearly vivisected (without anesthesia and fully aware) when it turns out [[spoiler:his mutation into a Prawn]] makes him capable of operating the aliens' weapons. It turns out his employers secretly have been dissecting and experimenting on the aliens for years for that same purpose.
* "Disassemble" is practically an [[ArcWords arc word]] in ''Film/ShortCircuit''. Except that NOVA had little interest in Number-5's sentience; they saw it as a bug that needed fixing at best and a potential threat to innocent civilians at worst. At no point in either movie does any organization have any deliberate intention of doing any unpleasant experimentation on him.
** Nobody wanted to disassemble him, but they did want to deactivate him because he still had a powerful and dangerous laser weapon on him and was out of their control. (Number-5 didn't reveal he removed the weapon and turned that space into a harmless toolbox until the end of the movie.)
* A kid-friendly version appears in the Swedish children's movie "Pirret" (approximately "That Bubbly Feeling"). The movie is about a little girl who can fly when she's particularly happy and has "that bubbly feeling". Her mother asks the family physician if there's anything wrong with the girl, and the girl is whisked off to the hospital where a ''very'' unsympathetic doctor tries to find out what makes her fly. No actual cutting up, just MRI scans and stuff. Of course, since the doctor is constantly scaring her, she doesn't get "that bubbly feeling" in the doctor's presence, and in the end she's released.
* In ''Film/StarshipTroopers2HeroOfTheFederation'', former {{Jerkass}} Lieutenant Pavlov Dill uses these exact words when he finds that the rest of the soldiers ([[PuppeteerParasite all infected by mind-control Control Bugs]]) have infected Gen. Shepherd with the Arachnids' plan being to send him back to the Federation so he can infect other Federation Leaders and take over the world. His threats are cut short when another infected soldier slowly walks behind him and slits his throat, making it RedemptionEqualsDeath:
-->'''Pavlov:''' "You bastards... you are all under arrest for murder, sedition, for treason against the Federation. Oh! Your going to pay... because we're not going to kill you... oh no... you see, we got special places for things like you... where they cut you up, but they keep you alive when they cut you up... so they can see what makes you tick, and then what makes you sick! And I will be there, oh yeah! I'm going to be there when they see-- (threat cut short by infected soldier [[KilledMidSentence cutting his throat]]).
** Arachnid dissection and vivisection [[FunnyBackgroundEvent occur in the first film]] as well- particularly pay attention to the captured brain bug in the epilogue.
* ''Film/JackFrost1998''. Jack Frost's son is afraid that Jack will be experimented on by the government if he'd ever been discovered. Jack says he doesn't care, as long as he gets to spend some time with his son.
* In ''Film/TheManWhoFellToEarth'', this issue comes up when [[spoiler: Thomas (an alien) is captured by the U.S. government and experimented upon for ''years'', no matter how much he begs. Oh, the prison is a nice hotel suite, he never wants for food, etc. and he even has a final tryst with his Earth mistress...but his imprisonment seals the fate of his dying race back home, and he is finally released a broken, stranded soul]].
* In ''Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch'', one of the cloned scientists tells Gizmo they'll "just have to cut you open" for their tests.
* Literal example: In ''Film/{{Creepshow}}'', Jordy Verrill decides not to call a doctor about the alien green growth on his hand because he imagines the "cure" will be to chop off his afflicted fingers. Without anaesthetic.
* ''Film/EdgeOfTomorrow''. Major Cage asks Rita Vrataski, the only other soldier who's been stuck in a GroundhogDayLoop like he is, why they don't just tell General Bingham what's happening. Rita says that she's [[YouHaveToBelieveMe already tried it countless times]] and was [[CassandraTruth usually thrown in the psych ward]], except for the one time they believed her and she was vivisected.
* ''Film/TheAgeOfAdaline'': After being discovered by a police officer, Adaline narrowly escaped being sent somewhere presumably for "study". She clearly fears a repeat of this and what that might include, staying under the radar over the subsequent decades.

* Literature/{{Unwind}}. Literally. And to make this worse this process is legal and organized by the government.
* ''The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs''. Its owner killed it to know how it worked, didn't learn anything, and now no longer gets golden eggs. Poor sucker.
** Used as a proverb when it looks like somebody might end up cutting off a vital source of long-term gain (be it information or money) in their greed for ''short''-term gain: "Don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs".
** Subverted in ''[[Literature/TheEschatonSeries Singularity Sky]]'' when an ignorant citizen of a backwater world asks a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien for a goose that lays golden eggs. No-one thinks about how it works until they start suffering radiation sickness... transmutation in real life is a nuclear process, after all.
* Explicitly averted in the Creator/IsaacAsimov short story "Belief". The protagonist is a physics professor who discovers that he can fly; the entire story is about his attempts to get the scientific establishment to take him seriously. (His claims of antigravity get written off as a hoax, even on at least one physical demonstration.)
* Asimov also wrote an SF version of the Golden Goose story (''Pâté de Foie Gras'') which averts this. Even though it's just a goose, the government scientists were extremely careful not to harm it, and were terrified when it developed a fever. They weren't interested in the goose so much for the traditional reason ("Gold! ''Gold!'' We're ''RICH''!!!") so much as they were interested in how a frakking ''goose'' was accomplishing nuclear transmutation of the elements inside its reproductive system.
* In Creator/MercedesLackey's [[UrbanFantasy urban fantasies]], this trope is out in full force. The [[GovernmentConspiracy secret government facility]] or evil corporations are more than happy to track down people with psychic or magic talents and do nasty things to them in the name of controlling them and/or using their powers.
* This is why Cris from the Creator/PhilipKDick short story ''The Golden Man'' never stays in one place too long. In the case of [[Film/{{Next}} the movie]], however, the threat wasn't scientific experimentation but rather the possibility that the FBI would imprison Cris for life and force him to use his predictions to their advantage. [[spoiler:He willingly goes with them in the end to prevent a nuclear attack that would kill his love interest.]]
* ''Literature/{{Larklight}}'' has an interesting version with the backstory of its space pirate captain, who was sent to an institute for studying strange life forms after surviving a deadly and mysterious plague. When he overheard the doctors' plans to dissect him, he gathered the other test subjects and ran for it. In a universe full of colorful and bizarre aliens of every possible shape and peculiarity, his crew is the weirdest thing most people have ever seen.
* Creator/StephenKing writes of ''The Shop'', a government organization which does paranormal researches, into a lot of his stories. Charlie from ''Firestarter'' was on the run from them because of their desire to use Charlie as a weapon. This is mainly because her powers were entirely due to their PlayingWithSyringes with her parents, and they wanted to see the only really militarily useful result of the experiment. And by "militarily useful," we mean [[PersonOfMassDestruction "potentially able to crack the planet in half."]]
%% * Used in the ''Literature/MaximumRide'' series, where the main characters are running away from one of these types of labs.
* Similarly to the ''[[Franchise/TheTwilightZone Twilight Zone]]'' example, the first humans to encounter the aliens in ''Literature/PandorasStar'' by Peter F. Hamilton are dissected. The sequence, told ''from the alien's point of view'', is pure horror even with death being (usually) a minor inconvenience in the Commonwealth.
* In ''Literature/HaloFirstStrike'', this is the reason given by Doctor Halsey for why the data on how Sergeant Johnson survived contact with the Flood can never be told to anyone (even Johnson himself, who would likely turn himself in). Ironically, she tells this to the Master Chief[[note]]himself the result of an invasive experiment[[/note]]... who later crushes the data crystal containing the aforementioned information.
* The backstory in ''Literature/TheStarsMyDestination'' has shades of this with the first man, a scientist, to learn to Jaunt, or teleport. The first time it happens is under the stress of a fatal situation, and the scientist knows that, to replicate the phenomenon, his colleagues are going to do their best to kill him. Subverted because he actually ''goes along with this'', and after saying his goodbyes, ''does'' replicate it. The result is, by the time the novel takes place, all of mankind can teleport at will.
* The reason that Nancy, heroine of Creator/LoisDuncan's ''Literature/AGiftOfMagic'', gives for wanting to keep her psychic powers a secret. She's isn't afraid of being dissected, but she is afraid of being dragged off by the government and being turned into a lab rat. [[spoiler: The government already knows about her powers and respects her right to keep them to herself if that's what she wants.]]
* In China Mieville's ''Literature/PerdidoStreetStation'', Isaac visits the garuda [[PettingZooPeople (eagle people)]] ghetto and tries to bribe some of them to come to his lab so he can study them. The garuda leader loudly informs his flock that "they'll take your wings away, kill you dead!" even though Isaac protests that's not his plan. To be fair this is such a crapsack world that this is a reasonable assumption.
* Invoked in Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/TheStarBeast'' by John's ancestor when he acquires a native pet (or rather, [[spoiler:inadvertently kidnaps a native princess]]) while exploring an alien planet.
* Flinx of the ''Literature/HumanxCommonwealth'' series was [[DesignerBabies genetically manipulated]] by the [[EvilutionaryBiologist Meliorare Society]] as part of their secret program to produce [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke supermen]]. When their [[BodyHorror more spectacular failures]] came to light, they were outlawed and hunted down along with all their experimental subjects. Those that could be "made normal" were corrected; those that could not were destroyed. Despite being superficially normal, Flinx is possessed of strong PsychicPowers, which alone would be enough to get him put in a fishbowl and studied for the rest of his life, but that plus his affiliation with the Meliorares means he is exceedingly careful to reveal his talents only to people he absolutely trusts. Even then, he runs afoul of this trope on several occasions, most specifically in ''Flinx in Flux'', where not just one but two separate antagonists join the hunt -- one to "fix him" and the other to "study him". On several occasions, he also runs afoul of surviving members of the Meliorares who see him as an opportunity for vindication of their cause.
* Creator/MichaelCrichton's ''Literature/{{Next}}'' revolves around the ''RealLife'' legal precedents that could be [[LoopholeAbuse interpreted]] as this. Yeah, that's right; current biotech laws are vague enough that if a doctor harvests cells from you, not only can they sell them to researchers without compensating you, whoever buys those cells might own your "cell line", a.k.a. ''you and your children.'' ...At least if they have a skilled AmoralAttorney.
* According to the [[PlantAliens Mi-go]] of the Franchise/CthulhuMythos, the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign hunts down and torment them for knowledge.
* In ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy1'' the pan-dimensional beings [[spoiler:also known as mice]] try to obtain Arthur Dent's brain to perform experiments on ("Diced.") to find out the ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything.
* In a novel a small group of people are captured by aliens who have been living in an underground complex in South America. The aliens then take one of the group to cut them up to see their intestines, for predicting the future, rather than for science. Turns out the 'cutting up' was an assumption on the part of the humans and in fact the aliens got all the information they wanted with sophisticated, and harmless, scans.
* In ''Literature/CorrespondenceFromTheGoddess'', after Lydia starts developing super-powers and Albert Pharmaceuticals expresses interest in studying her, Elana rejects the idea entirely, citing this trope. Lydia then goes to see them secretly, and it doesn't ''seem'' to go badly at all.
* The six psychic boys in ''Literature/HiddenTalents'' swear a blood oath never to tell anyone else about their abilities, for fear of this trope. Readers find out in the sequel however, that this [[PlayingWithSyringes doesn't exactly work out]].
* This is why Greg doesn't tell his family about [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent his condition]] in the last third of ''Literature/AWolfInTheSoul''.
* ''Literature/TheOtherworld'': The second book of the series, ''Stolen'', features a group of scientists, at least some of whom want to do just this, so they can find a way to share supernatural powers with the rest of humanity and "better them".
* This threat has been made several times to [[spoiler:Philuffy]] in ''LightNovel/UndefeatedBahamutChronicle'', the only human to have been implanted with Abyss tissue and survive.
* Invoked in ''Literature/IllegalAliens'' when the humans capture an alien engineer. The United Nations tells the other aliens he's been dissected and liquefied for experimentation, whereas he's actually helping them develop advanced technology.


[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* This is the reason the Diffy family in ''Series/PhilOfTheFuture'' try to hide the fact that they come from the year 2121. Mind you, they're bog-standard ''homo sapiens'', so this is a flimsy excuse. This is pointed out in-universe by Mrs. Diffy, who reminds her husband that one of two tests would be performed on aliens "and one of them was a personality quiz". In fact, in a speculative episode where the secret ''does'' get out, it doesn't happen.
* In ''Series/PushingDaisies,'' this is why Ned doesn't want anybody to know that he can bring people BackFromTheDead. Given Ned's neurotic personality, it's not really surprising that he would think this.
** Besides which, if anybody found out how his powers worked, he'd be arrested for murder for reviving Chuck when he knew that it would result in an [[EquivalentExchange innocent person dying.]]
** This show is a good example of this trope done right. For Ned, who really has no idea why he can do what he can do and who's had no guidance whatsoever on how to deal with it (meaning for most of his life he had no outside feedback to help keep him grounded), and who has numerous issues with abandonment, emotional intimacy, and social anxiety on top of that, this fear is a logical extension of his character and life story, rather than merely being a nebulous threat meant to justify TheMasquerade.
* In a less extreme example, the main character of ''Series/KyleXY'' keeps his abilities a secret because he wants to live a normal life, rather than spending all his days being tested by scientists.
* In ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', HRG tells Claire that this is what the company would do to her if they found her, presumably in order to test her regenerative properties.
** In other words, it'd be [[GoodThingYouCanHeal no different from her day-to-day life]], and at least it'd be ForScience rather than for kicks as is usually the case with the poster child for masochistic self-mutilation.
** Also, while not exactly cut up, Elle was treated to some rather unpleasant tests to figure out how powerful she was as part of her BackStory.
* In the pilot episode of ''Series/{{Alf}}'', what finally convinces the family to hide the titular alien is being told ''by the researchers themselves'' what they plan to do to him.
** Subverted in the later TV movie, where it's shown that Alf's doing all right after turning himself in, when he is not shooting his mouth off at least.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', Crichton thinks he's returned to Earth. It's a world constructed from his memories, and when the aliens running the show introduce a copy/clone of Rygel dead on a dissection table, it's implied this is what Crichton subconsciously expects to happen. And he's a ''military scientist!''
** Ironically, when the crew actually does arrive on Earth, they're all treated as honored dignitaries and celebrities. Moya arrived at Earth several weeks before Crichton did (note that Crichton's father and several other humans were already aboard when Crichton steps out) so the aliens actually managed to do fine by themselves.
** In the first case, Crichton also angrily points out the hypocrisy of sending out invitation to alien life to come and visit only to murder and vivisect them when they do. Of course, he fails to realize that people who send out these invitations are different from the people who will be dealing with hypothetical alien visitors, who will likely have a "kill them before they kill us" mentality.
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', Talia's telepathic abilities had been enhanced to an unknown degree by her AGodAmI ex-boyfriend, Jason Ironheart. A while after she left the show due to being revealed to have a sleeper personality, Bester mentioned that the Psi Corps had learned a lot when they "dissect--that is, examination" her. This is probably Bester trying to [[IShallTauntYou put people off their guard]] and/or just being a JerkAss, as the sleeper agent program was initiated by the Shadow-allied faction of the Corps, and he's not part of that, nor was he aware of Talia's sleeper personality before it was exposed.
** Much later in the series, Bester offers to help Lyta Alexander find employment by providing fake Psi Corps credentials... in return for her body. After she's done using it, of course, and the contract would be void if she died of anything other than natural causes.
** In the episode when Talia got her upgrade, Bester and his partner were trying to apprehend Jason Ironheart for just this purpose, and Ironheart was trying to prevent it from happening, because he didn't want Psi Corps to learn the secrets he carried. When they finally do find him he's become so powerful that he kills one of them and then turns into a god.
* ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures''. Sarah thinks that if UNIT ever found out about Luke, they'd consider him a threat and lock him up. She's not keen on them knowing about alien supercomputer Mr Smith, either.
* Inverted, with humans 'cut up' by non-humans, in ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959''.
* In ''Series/TheSecretWorldOfAlexMack'', this is one reason that Alex keeps her powers secret. Since the chemical plant really ''does'' want to cut her up and/or kill her lest the knowledge of the chemical's danger get out, her fears are somewhat justified. In the last episode, they do finally catch her, but rather than cut her up, they leave her to die in an exploding chemical plant. Danielle Atron also rubs this trope in Alex's face in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmu1nuyhJkg the last episode]].
** This was somewhat subverted in regards to her parents. When they discovered her powers in the same episode (due to her confessing after said parents were left for dead in the exploding plant as well), they were quite understandably offended by Alex's belief that they would turn her in.
* At the beginning of ''Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder'', Kira suggests they go to the authorities about their new superpowers and the {{Mooks}} that attacked them. HollywoodNerd Ethan argues that in movies, people with powers tend to end up in a lab with wires in their head, and JerkJock Conner agrees that even ''he'''s GenreSavvy about that part.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' ("The Measure of a Man"). A Federation cyberneticist, Bruce Maddox, wants to disassemble the android Data for study, and Captain Picard has to legally establish that he has [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman the right to refuse to undergo the procedure]].
** Which brings up some nasty FridgeLogic about the fact that Data had already been admitted to Starfleet Academy, been granted a commission and rank as an officer, and even decorated with medals for valor in the line of duty; none of which would or could apply to a piece of property rather than a legal recognized individual. The scientist's argument is essentially just "ignore that stuff because it would be cool if I could figure out how to make lots of new androids that we can treat like disposable slaves".
** Given that Data is called to testify in his own trial, the whole thing seems moot. After all, if he wasn't an individual, he'd have been "submitted into evidence" (like a video recorder) instead.
** The truly interesting twist on this one is that even Data himself is intrigued by Maddox's theories and ideas -- he was mainly concerned that Maddox wouldn't be able to put him back together when he was done, and was open to the idea if the risk could be reduced sufficiently. He actually makes an overture of friendship toward Maddox at the end of the episode; a later episode was all about a day in Data's life in which he mastered tap dancing and learned the basics of ballroom dancing and tried to comprehend the dynamics behind the events of Miles O'Brien's marriage to Keiko, narrated in a letter to...Maddox. Who is still continuing his research, with Data's full support.
* Clark's secret is kept for this reason in ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' and it's also mentioned in ''Series/LoisAndClark''. How would they [[NighInvulnerability cut him up?]] [[KryptoniteIsEverywhere Kryptonite knives.]]
** In a ''Series/LoisAndClark'' episode, Lois travels to an AlternateUniverse where Clark never became Superman due to his adoptive parents dying when he was little. His fiancée keeps berating him using this trope as a warning whenever he covertly uses his powers to save people. This world has also [[CrapsackWorld gone to hell]] after the arrival of Tempus, who gets himself elected President and removes all gun regulations. Cue the chaos. Fortunately, Lois fixes the situation by making Clark a suit identical to her Clark's.
** In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', "Memoria", Clark is captured and experimented on because the scientists have the blind luck of messing with kryptonite liquid at the time. In "Ryan", Ryan is also sent to the same research facility. In "Freak", ComicBook/LexLuthor captures [[spoiler:Chloe]] and [[KickTheDog has his team experiment]] [[MoralEventHorizon on her in his secret lab.]]
* The aliens of ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'' lived in constant fear of this and it was brought up whenever they thought they might be found out. Subverted in that, despite their fears, the idea of them being aliens never occurred to anyone other than [[SpecialGuest Kathy Bates]] and her character was portrayed as insane. This is despite their occasional SuspiciouslySpecificDenial to being aliens.
* In the first season of ''Series/{{Roswell}}'', the FBI is pursuing the aliens, presumably to do sinister experiments on them. In the episode ''The White Room'', [[spoiler:Max is captured, and narrowly escapes vivisection after being tortured. Though Pierce, the head of the Special Unit, was after information, not scientific knowledge.]]
* What Wolfram & Hart want to do with Connor in ''Series/{{Angel}}''. Given that the main thing that separates him from the many people with superpowers in the world is that he's a focus of prophecy (presumably ones that will be defunct if they kill him) it seems a bit of a waste.
* The Initiative on ''Series/{{Buffy|the Vampire Slayer}}'' does this with any species they deem Hostile Sub-Terrestials (non-humans) to create SuperSoldiers. It [[GoneHorriblyWrong goes horribly wrong]], of course. Riley thinks this is what would happen to him if the Initiative gets hold of him again. Of course, the real reason they're trying to bring him in is to remove his modifications, which are causing severe mental and physical breakdown, so he's not exactly being rational. Then again, Riley witnessed first-hand his former employers have no trouble experimenting on beings that are [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent human most of the time]], so his fears might not be ungrounded.
* In an unusual twist, the Tam family in ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' presumably laughed off this possibility, if it even occurred to them at all, when the government expressed interest in their 'gifted' daughter, River. Disaster [[BreakTheCutie ensued]], and her brother Simon had to sacrifice his medical career to get her away from the scientists post-cutting up and take her on the lam to prevent it from happening again.
* Sort of the catalyst for the whole series in ''Series/RedDwarf''. In the first episode, the Captain tells Lister his cat will be cut up and have tests run on it, prompting the response, "Would you put it back together when you were done?"
-->'''Hollister''': Lister, the cat would be dead.\\
'''Lister''': Well, [[WithDueRespect with respect]], sir, what's in it for the cat?
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': This trope is why Rose didn't call a doctor for the Doctor in "The Christmas Invasion".
** Quite justifiable, considering what happened to the Seventh Doctor the last time a medical "professional" got a hold of him, during the TV Movie. "Wow, this man has a double heart beat! Let's ignore that bullet wound and poke his arteries with our scalpels and see what happens!" [[spoiler: He promptly dies.]]
** Especially since Henry van Staten does it to him in "Dalek" in an earlier season.
** And then Torchwood get their hands on him. [[spoiler:And promptly avert things; the squad with trained guns ''lower'' them and applaud, and while he's captive he's told he'd be kept comfortable, and is in no way actually restricted. The Doctor proceeds to ... act civilised (aside from breaking a window to make a point).]]
** This happens to a human captured by Silurians in "The Hungry Earth". Alive, and without anesthetics.
** When short-lived companion Adam has future technology installed ''in his head'' in an attempt to set up a TimelineAlteringMacGuffin situation, the Doctor drops his useless ass back on earth and tells him that now he has to live quietly, less this happen to him. Which isn't going to be easy, since now his skull opens up every time someone snaps their fingers in his vicinity.
* ''Series/TheDailyShow'' spoofs this with a John Oliver story about two politicians who decided to campaign together while running against each other to send a message of civility. John concludes that in the world were to learn of their existence, "they would be poked and prodded until there was nothing left." The story ends on an homage to ''[[Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial E.T.]],'' with Jon Stewart playing the part of the evil scientist.
* Series/H2OJustAddWater: The mermaids fear this will happened to them if their secret is known, but they hide the secret even from their families, who presumably wouldn't cut them up. On one occasion, a scientist does find out and try to experiment on them against their will.
* Henry from ''Series/{{Sanctuary}}'' is captured by [[NebulousEvilOrganisation the Cabal]], who attempt to turn him into a werewolf permanently, kill him and study him -- all in the name of science, of course. He's even promised it'll be a noble end for him.
* In ''Series/BeingHumanUK'', the group encounters a zombified girl (who is in total denial of her status and appearance as a rotting corpse). When they go looking into her origins at the hospital they find evidence of several other living dead individuals who met this fate at the hands of doctors and scientists trying to discover what made them tick. The video they find even includes the final disposal of the still aware remains of these individuals (by cremation).
* Series/TheInvisibleMan: One of the episodes features a plot by the Chinese to get the quicksilver gland. Darien ends up getting his head drilled into so they can drain the quicksilver.
* In ''Series/TheSuiteLifeOnDeck'', Zack invokes this trope after convincing Woody that a rat bite has mutated him.
* In ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'' episode "Last Supper", an immortal woman finds this out the hard way when she's discovered by the US government and experimented on. Thankfully, she's rescued by a military guard who can't stand to see it happen, but the scientist who conducted the experiment finds out years later she's still alive and wants to finish his work...
* ''Series/{{Misfits}}'' averts this entirely, revealing their super powers to the general public seems only to result in mass media fame, with a notable lack of scary scientist dissections.
* ''Series/TorchwoodMiracleDay'': An extremely disturbing example occurs when Jack's immortality is discovered by a family of butchers in the 1920's. They repeatedly stab him to death in front of ever-growing crowds. Eventually, the whole crowd starts hacking away at him.
* This is one of the main reasons why Henry keeps his ResurrectiveImmortality a secret in ''Series/{{Forever}}''. As revealed in on episode, Adam, another immortal who's 2000 years old, experienced this firsthand during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII at the hands of [[MadDoctor Josef Mengele]], who kept trying to figure out the secret to Adam's immortality.
* In the second season of ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', the Inhumans are in hiding because they fear this sort of response to their differences. Their leader Jiaying was vivisected by HYDRA and only survived due to her powers.
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'': After the curse is broken, Grumpy raises this concern when he argues for finding a way back to the Enchanted Forest.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Technomancers in ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' are advised to keep their powers secret, as they are rare and not well understood. Thus they are both valuable and threatening; most mega-corps have large standing rewards for anyone who brings in a technomancer.
* This is the fear of para-psychics in ''TabletopGame/CthulhuTech'' -- completely justified since the government of their BadFuture doesn't even keep the fact that they sometimes do this a secret.
** Considering how dangerous uncontrolled para-psychics are, the general public doesn't have a problem with this either.
* In ''TabletopGame/HunterTheVigil'', the Cheiron Group is a MegaCorp which does just this -- it captures supernatural creatures, figures out how their powers work, and then [[LegoGenetics cuts out bits and implants them into field agents so they can use those powers]]. This is one of the few times where the ''player'' is doing the cutting-and-utilizing.
** There's also Utopia Now, a group of tech workers and venture capitalists who have decided to advance mankind and create perfected cities using reclaimed parts of [[TabletopGame/DemonTheDescent the God-Machine]]... including, if need be, parts of demons.
* And then there's ''TabletopGame/PrometheanTheCreated'', where several of the antagonist monsters demonstrate why you don't want an alchemically-reanimated corpse with incredible power and an inborn UncannyValley effect getting anywhere near a MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate. The reasons range from a Galateid whose tissue was broken down and utilized to create living sex dolls to a cloning program that practically turns Prometheans into genetic soup.
** 2nd Ed introduces Insatiate Alchemists, humans who have learned of the Prometheans' status as walking alchemical reactors and decided to hunt them down in the name of working wonders. Mind you, the miracle ingredient for the Alchemists' works is the substance that naturally accrues as Prometheans [[ToBecomeHuman take steps towards completing their Pilgrimage]]... but they don't really seem to care. One anecdote describes an Alchemist who's made a killing on the "cash for gold" market -- namely because he always seems to have a store of strangely organ-shaped ore...
* ''TabletopGame/MummyTheCurse'' gives us Last Dynasty Inc., a mega corp that got itself set up after the very fortuitous discovery of an Arisen's tomb. They've found ways to measure [[LifeEnergy Sekhem]] with scientific equipment, and are using it to [[AntiVillain generate cures for cancer, more healthy steroids, and probative attempts at an AIDS vaccine]]. However, the only real sources of Sekhem are the Relics guarded and treasured by the Arisen, and the Arisen themselves, which means they're always on the lookout for new resources...

* In ''Theatre/BatBoyTheMusical'', this is one of the reasons the sheriff gives for bringing the recently discovered "bat boy" to the local vet, rather than somewhere else.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Raine has a tendency to want to do this with Noishe and Corrine in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia''.
* In ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' one quest sees a resourceful human capturing you and performing sick survivability experiments you have to survive to get back at him.
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes,'' Crey Industries does this so often, it's a pretty legitimate fear for the meta-humans in that universe.
** At least according to the backstory, Crey never actually tries to do it to the player. The most they ever do is attempt to ruin your public image for getting too close to their CEO's big dark secret.
* Resident doctor slash nuttybar Shiro in ''VideoGame/{{Siren}}'' does this to [[spoiler:the Shibitofied Onda twins]], experimenting on what, exactly, it would take to kill them. The answer is: nothing. Made especially [[{{squick}} Squicky]] when he tugs an unborn fetus out of [[spoiler:Mina, the girl he had KILLED earlier in the plot]] and proceeds to stamp on it. Lovely.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', if the [[spoiler:Web Of Intrigue]] videos are anything to go by, this is one of GENTEK's goals regarding [[PsychoPrototype Alex Mercer]]. [[spoiler:The problem with this, of course, is Mercer's PersonOfMassDestruction status, his HealingFactor, and his propensity for [[ISurrenderSuckers playing dead/unconscious]] when he's finally cornered. Less than five seconds after the morgue security camera confirms that he's still there, his ex-boss turns around to find that Mercer is [[RightBehindMe right behind]] [[StealthHiBye him]]. [[OffscreenTeleportation Somehow]].]]
* "For Science!" is why Marquis [=DeSinge=] wants to capture the pox-infected Guybrush Threepwood (who has gained a prodigious HealingFactor) in ''VideoGame/TalesOfMonkeyIsland''.
* In one of the bad endings of HGame ''Madou Souhei Kleinhasa'', Roze is experimented on by enemy scientists to find out how her magic works. It's implied that she doesn't survive their experiments.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{XCOM}}'' series, it's the standard procedure when dealing with captive aliens but the only dead ones. Live ones are interrogated ''and'' then disposed of[[note]]You actually get a corpse added to your base stores after an interrogation[[/note]].
** In the [[VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown Firaxis remake]], after the first interrogation (apparently, very painful), [[HerrDoktor Dr. Vahlen]] tells your NumberTwo that the alien didn't survive the procedure. Indeed, none of the interrogated aliens do.
** In ''VideoGame/TheBureauXCOMDeclassified'', a different example in the form of using captured aliens for target practice.
* Toyed with in ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon DS.'' Local MadScientist Daryl has been chasing the strange creature Mukumuku for ''years'' in an attempt to figure out how it works, and given the long and fantastic family history of genetic experimentation he brags of, it seems ItRunsInTheFamily. So when chance favors him, and he happens upon an injured [[OurMermaidsAreDifferent mermaid girl?]] He takes her home to his basement, and... [[MoralityPet diligently cares for her until she recovers.]] And if you befriend said mermaid, she ''openly chastises you'' for daring to think Daryl would experiment on her.
* The resident {{Mad Scientist}}s of the [[VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas Big Mountain Research Facilty]] were fond of this, needing no real excuse other than to [[ForScience do Science]]. [[MemeticMutation Vivisection can get boring!]]
* In VideoGame/{{inFAMOUS}}, Cole receives several warnings that the government wouldn't treat him kindly if they got their hands on him. It turns out to be a subversion: they already know how to endow someone with superpowers, they just want to control Cole and choose what direction he's pointed in since his powers are already very offensively oriented. Between the games, every government agent who has this goal for him is killed anyway. The mentalist Alden Tate, however, ''is'' vivisected.
* [[VideoGame/BlazBlue Sector Seven]] has the recurring issue of hiring lunatics to deal with scientific discoveries. In fact, everyone that was offically hired by Sector Seven that's major to the story has this at some point. Lambda-11 comes to mind, [[spoiler: but Relius gets a prize for using his own ''daughter and '''wife''''' as experiemnts.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheLastOfUs'': [[spoiler: The only chance of a cure being reverse engineered from Ellie's immunity requires her death so her brain can be studied. [[PapaWolf Joel will not stand for it.]]]]
* In ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga 2'', this trope is defended by [[spoiler: Serph Sheffield]].
-->"Since when did people start expecting science to be humane? To study the body, you cut it open. To study the mind, you isolate it by crushing the heart. Historically, that's how science has advanced."
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon'', the player is given missions from the International Police to capture the Ultra Beasts (Pokémon from another dimension). Anabel and Looker believe that the [=UBs=] would be better off in the hands of a Pokémon trainer than sealed away in some laboratory.

* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': This is one of the things sparks needs to worry about. Especially from the Baron himself, in Othar's case.
** However, Agatha once [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20060524 acknowledges]] that it's sometimes better than some alternatives.
* This is why Roland has to keep Sadachbia's presence on the down-low in ''Webcomic/NotSoDistant'', since Sadachbia is a large alien, who'd probably look great cut up on a table to Earth scientists.
* Though she's a little confused about it on their first encounter with the FBI, this is later a thing Aylee in ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' fears. The humans she's living with assume the government would automatically perform a secret alien autopsy on her if they ever found out about her.
* In ''Webcomic/DelaTheHooda'', the extradimensional fox hybrid Dela is warned against contacting Earth authorities because rumor has it that they dissect aliens. This potential problem is later resolved when the [[TheMenInBlack Men In Plaid]] (the Canadian division of the Men in Black, [[CanadaEh who wears plaid suits because the Canadian government can't afford fancy, black Italian suits]]) has a talk with her and decides let her go free.
* In ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob,'' this trope is the reason Jean hasn't published any research papers about her CuteMonsterGirl synthetic daughter, Molly. As depicted [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20071110.html here.]]
* The talking raccoon, Woo, of ''Webcomic/SandraAndWoo'' mentions this when he first reveals this gift to Sandra, saying that he's kinda' attached to his vocal cords, and asking her to keep it quiet. The danger is never mentioned again.
* When Webcomic/{{Vexxarr}} is first captured, the lab geeks started running tests on Minionbot, mostly consisting of finding out that none of their tools can affect his casing. They get as far as hammers before Minionbot gets mad.
--> '''Minionbot''': ''Ow!'' Right, enough! [grabs hammer] [[IronicEcho While subject does not appear to have any obvious connection points]], I am sure that with correctly applied force it will disassemble nicely. [[AmusingInjuries I begin now with the elbow]]...
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/GrrlPower'' [[http://www.grrlpowercomic.com/archives/317 here]]
* This is the objective of The Coroner in ''Webcomic/SidekickGirl''. He's already killed one superhero by vivisection that we know of. The one he's most interested in (And has already captured once) is the title character, whose HealingFactor means that he can dissect her infinitely without her dying, allowing him more time to figure out how her powers work.
* In ''Webcomic/MaggotBoy'', resident MadDoctor Sutton vivisects the rare sapient zombies to study how they work. Since they're undead, it causes no lasting ''physical'' harm, but it's still [[http://maggot-boy.com/wp/?p=158 pretty]] [[http://maggot-boy.com/wp/?p=187 traumatic]].
--> ''"I'm not going to hurt you. [[NightmareFuel Extensive testing]] has shown that's a physical impossibility!"''
* [[Webcomic/CharbyTheVampirate Charby]] figures it's good to keep Zeno away from the lab in the cabin's basement since the poor kid has already had a run in with scientist who vivisected him alive. When Zeno does react to the lab Charby is pleasantly surprised though Tony seems to realize it's still bad that Zeno's freaking out regardless of which emotion [[http://www.charbythevampirate.com/comic/110 he's showing.]]
* When Webcomic/{{Jix}}, Caligos, and Heleatra are captured by Area 51 the scientists attempt to vivisect Atra, despite one of them pointing out they could use an MRI, [[http://jix.thecomicseries.com/comics/782 but]] her HealingFactor keeps closing up the incisions. Then it turns out the scientist who wanted to do the vivisection [[http://jix.thecomicseries.com/comics/784 has a grudge]] against Jix stemming from the time they captured her android and attempted to take him apart.
* ''ComicBook/{{PS238}}'':
** The original Rainmaker program was centered on studying superpowers by kidnapping the titular Rainmaker, a boy with no power except to control whether or not it rained. He couldn't even make dangerous lightning storms until his powers got enhanced by a MadScientist. They thought that they could figure out the source of all powers, but couldn't contain any of the actually dangerous supers, so they were forced to use him. Doctor Irons helped/forced him to escape, and the program ground to a halt.
** By the time of the story proper, the government has backed off on this stance, not least because of the failure of that original Rainmaker program. There's also the fact that supers have mostly proven very cooperative if treated with respect.
** When an alien child (later named Prospero) lands at the school, the faculty is worried that the government is going to take him away and perform experiments on him, but the general who showed up points out that the last alien who showed up became the world's most valiant defender when he could have made a pretty good bid to conquer it instead, so they're willing to treat any aliens with respect and courtesy unless given a reason not to.


[[folder:Web Originals]]
* Largely averted or subverted by the ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'', who largely take the place those traditionally experimenting on the MonsterOfTheWeek's corpse would. The Foundation tends to be interested in observing and containing subjects, destroying those too dangerous. It helps that they really don't want more of most [=SCPs=], but the rare helpful ones avoid vivisection simply because there's no way to be sure it'd provide useful information, and there's usually only one. Of course, [[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/interview-507-g when that's not the case...]]
* Phase doesn't believe that this is a prevalent problem in the Literature/WhateleyUniverse. Even after his own family lets a MadScientist trank him and slap him on an operating table. Part of the backstory of TheVerse is that [[spoiler: Phase is wrong about this. Really wrong.]]
* In the backstory to ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', this was the fate of [[spoiler:the Alpha AI]]. The entire series plot thus far is (sometimes loosely) based around dealing with the repercussions of cutting it into pieces.
* Averted twice in ''Literature/TheSalvationWar'': once, the National Security Advisor attempts to get a succubus so that he can vivisect her, but George W. Bush prevents this -- the succubus had already been offered sanctuary for defecting -- so the advisor has to "make do" with dissecting corpses of daemons killed in war. Later, Abigor offers some of his soldiers so that they can vivisected and humans can understand how demons are on the inside, but the general he is talking to tells him that it would be against their laws and doesn't follow on the offer.
* Invoked in at least a few Literature/ChakonaSpace stories.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong'': Fu Dog tells Jake that humanity must never learn that magical creatures are real, saying that this would be the end result.
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest''. Johnny doesn't want anyone to know that his dog Dukey can talk, because if they did they would ''[[FauxHorrific make him a]]'' ''[[TrumanShowPlot reality TV show]]''! It makes sense, as there is no usual scientific data that could be gained from it that couldn't also be gained by, you know, just ''asking'' Susan and Mary, since they gave him all of those abilities. In one episode, the Network Executives are shown to scare even the axe-crazy Repto-Slicer.
* In a very meta episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' (1980's) several of the characters wind up on a planet inhabited by [[YouFailBiologyForever giant humanoids, to whom the Autobots are the size of]] [[MerchandiseDriven toys]]. When a scientist gets hold of them, they do indeed try to dissect them. One might wonder how [[MechaMooks being tiny and mechanical]] plays into the decision.
* Blackarachnia [[spoiler: left the Autobots]] in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' because she was afraid this would happen to her after she became technoorganic. Given the xenophobic nature of the High Command, she might not be too far off the mark.
* One of the justifications for the ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' [[TheMasquerade masquerade]]. Given that several of their bitterest enemies have discussed (or done) nasty things involving Gargoyle genes, it's quite justified.
--> '''Goliath:''' ''Look'' at me, human! I would spend the rest of my life in a testing facility. Was my crime against you so horrible as to make ''that'' an equitable punishment?
* The ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' take this trope to heart. Given that in the [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 2003 cartoon]] the first thing government agent Bishop did when he captured them was to take their genetic material and try to dissect them, their fears are more than simple paranoia.
* Justified in ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom''
** Danny's ghost-obsessed parents aren't getting ethics approval for their research and have explicitly said they'd like to dissect or kill any ghost they find "molecule by molecule". With Jack constantly shouting that when he catches the ghost kid, he will rip him apart, molecule by molecule, it's reasonably understandable. Then one episode has them find out and accept him, only for him to wipe their minds and [[StatusQuoIsGod causing them to go back to hunting him]].
** Also the [[TheMenInBlack Guys in White]], and their famous quote from Reality Trip: "You're coming in for questioning-" "-and experiments. Lots and lots of really ''painful'' experiments."
* Very nearly carried out in the pilot episode of ''WesternAnimation/StreetSharks'', to the point in which the doctor has Slammu [[StrappedToAnOperatingTable tied down to an operating table]] and heavily sedated before the others escape and save him. They then try to perform the same "explorative surgery" on the doctor with what is essentially a chain saw before they have to escape.
* The MadScientist in the Mickey Mouse short [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-JlevnccDk ''The Mad Doctor"]] actually ''sings a song'' about how he's a master at cutting bodies up and grafting parts to each other. He's first introduced as having planned to cut Pluto's freaking head off and graft it onto a chicken's body, just to see what sort of noise it would make. And he nearly cuts Mickey's stomach open with a HUGE buzz saw.
** Specifically, the MadScientist wants to graft Pluto's head onto a hen's body and then breed the result with a normal rooster to see if whatever hatches from the egg will cackle, crow, or bark. Talk about YouFailBiologyForever...
* Averted in WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries. He actually forms a public research pact with S.T.A.R. Labs so that everyone benefits.
* What [[HeroAntagonist Dib]] wants to do to [[VillainProtagonist Zim]] on ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim.'' Unlike most of these examples, this is [[BlackAndGreyMorality not entirely unjustified]], especially since we see Zim [[AliensAreBastards doing experiments on humans himself]].
* The main reason Roger in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' hides from the CIA. In one episode, he actually does get captured and is about to be cut up, [[spoiler: but Stan saves him]].
* Happens to Zoidberg in ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'' during the events of 'Roswell That Ends Well.' Fortunately, he has enough spare organs that he's not too bothered about it. He's also apparently conscious throughout this entire procedure.
-->'''Surgeon''': Contents of stomach: one deviled egg...
-->'''Zoidberg''': Deviled egg?! ''*gobbles the egg right out of the surgeon's hand*''
-->'''Surgeon''': Contents of stomach: the same deviled egg...
* Referenced and averted in ''Film/{{Hop}}''. Fred says that this would happen to E.B. if he just went around talking in public. This is immediately followed by E.B. complaining to their waitress about his order, and her [[NoBigDeal acting as if this is perfectly normal]].
* Referenced in ''{{Watch My Chops}}'', when Corneil said tp Bernie that he did not want anyone to know his secret for fear of being a laboratory specimen because he can talk.
-->'''Bernie''': Surprise! And I'm gonna play the cassette to John and Beth and then, hello, evening news!
-->'''Corneil''': Ah! And then, hello, animal research lab! Oh, Bernie! You can't!

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The Nazis, most infamously Josef Mengele, whose "experiments" almost never produced any actual, useful scientific data (the main exception being the research on freezing injuries, which formed the basis of medical practice in that field for decades after the Nazi experiments ended), and didn't seem to have any purpose other than "how many more horrible things can we do?" [[EvenEvilHasStandards Even Mengele's contemporaries were baffled.]]
* During UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, the Japanese Unit 731, headed by Shirō Ishii, did this to Prisoners of War and Chinese civilians with their vivisection campaigns. They also tore babies out of pregnant women, threw prisoners into pressure chambers, tested how much damage bombs and various diseases did on the prisoners, and tried out poison gas, all without anesthesia or any medical treatment. Unlike Mengele, some doctors actually did produce some useful data such as the infection rates of malaria and created artificial blood, which led to the US military's biological and chemical weapons departments insisting on their freedom of ''all'' the doctors, including Ishii, in exchange for their findings. [[KarmaHoudini They got it, their medical qualifications meaning many also went on to become rich]].
* Benign example with exploratory surgery. "Something's gone wrong inside you so we need to cut you open to see what we need to fix." Of course, this is the non-torturous example with the testing standards.
* Then there is animal vivisection of course. The United States, UK, and Australia at least have rules in place where they often need to be approved by both scientists and people interested in animal welfare. Anesthesia is usually required.
* Historically, this trope has been the subject of some intense debate in medical fields. Significant advances in medical science have been made by examining the results of some horrifically unethical medical practices (the aforementioned Mengele freezing experiments being arguably the best known example) and there are plenty of health care professionals who feel uncomfortable building on knowledge that was obtained through what amounts to torture. After all, knowledge gained in such a manner could save thousands of lives and give the deaths of those experimented upon long-lasting meaning -- but it also tacitly acknowledges that such torturous practices [[TheEndJustifiesTheMeans can be given a justification if the results are good enough]].