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Title: Vivisection
Author: Leffingwell, Albert, 1845-1916
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                       ALBERT LEFFINGWELL, M. D.

                               NEW YORK:
                        JOHN W. LOVELL COMPANY,
                        14 AND 16 VESEY STREET.


                        A Memory of Friendship.


To the CENTURY COMPANY of New York, in the pages of whose magazine,
then known as "_Scribner's Monthly_," the first of the following
essays originally appeared in July, 1880, the thanks of the writer
are due for permission to re-publish in the present form. For a like
courtesy on the part of the proprietors of LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE, in
which the second paper was first published [Aug., 1884], the writer
desires to make due acknowledgment.


The first of the Essays following appeared in "SCRIBNER'S MONTHLY,"
in July, 1880; and immediately became honored by the attention of
the Medical Press throughout the country. The aggressive title of
the paper, justified, in great measure, perhaps, the vigor of the
criticism bestowed. Again and again the point was raised by reviewers
that the problem presented by the title, was not solved or answered
by the article itself.

At this day, it perhaps may be mentioned that the question--"Does
Vivisection Pay?" was never raised by the writer, who selected as his
title the single word "Vivisection." The more taking headline was
affixed by the editor of the magazine as more apt to arrest attention
and arouse professional pugnacity. That in this latter respect it was
eminently successful, the author had the best reason to remember. With
this explanation--which is made simply to prevent future criticism
on the same point--the old title is retained. If the present reader
continues the inquiry here presented, he will learn wherein the
writer believes in the utility of vivisection, and on the other hand,
in what respects and under what conditions he very seriously questions
whether any gains can possibly compensate the infinitely great cost.

"What do you hope for or expect as the result of agitation in regard
to vivisection?" recently inquired a friend; "its legal abolition?"

"Certainly not," was the reply.

"Would you then expect its restriction during the present century?"

"Hardly even so soon as that. It will take longer than a dozen years
to awaken recognition of any evil which touches neither the purse nor
personal comfort of an American citizen. All that can be hoped in the
immediate future is education. Action will perhaps follow when its
necessity is recognized generally; but not before."

For myself, I believe no permanent or effective reform of present
practices is probable until the Medical Profession generally concede
as dangerous and unnecessary that freedom of unlimited experimentation
in pain, which is claimed and practiced to-day. That legislative
reform is otherwise unattainable, one would hesitate to affirm; but it
assuredly would be vastly less effective. You must convince men of the
justice and reasonableness of a law before you can secure a willing
obedience. Yielding to none in loyalty to the science, and enthusiasm
for the Art of Healing, what standpoint may be taken by those of the
Medical Profession who desire to reform evils which confessedly exist?

I. We need not seek the total abolition of all experiments upon living
animals. I do not forget that just such abolition is energetically
demanded by a large number of earnest men and women, who have lost
all faith in the possibility of restricting an abuse, if it be favored
by scientific enthusiasm. "Let us take," they say, "the upright and
conscientious ground of refusing all compromise with sin and evil, and
maintaining our position unflinchingly, leave the rest to God."[A]
This is almost precisely the ground taken by the Prohibitionists
in national politics; it is the only ground one can occupy,
provided the taking of a glass of wine, or the performance of any
experiment,--painless or otherwise,--is of itself an "evil and a sin."
There are those, however, who believe it possible to oppose and
restrain intemperance by other methods than legislative prohibition.
So with the prohibition of vivisection. Admitting the abuses of the
practice, I cannot yet see that they are so intrinsic and essential
as to make necessary the entire abolition of all physiological
experiments whatsoever.

    [A] Report of American Anti-Vivisection Society, Jan'y 30,

II. We may advocate (and I believe we should advocate)--_the total
abolition, by law, of all mutilating or destructive experiments upon
lower animals, involving pain, when such experiments are made for the
purpose of public or private demonstration of already known and
accepted physiological facts_.

This is the ground of compromise--unacceptable, as yet, to either
party. Nevertheless it is asking simply for those limitations and
restrictions which have always been conceded as prudent and fair by
the medical profession of Great Britain. Speaking of a certain
experiment upon the spinal nerves, Dr. M. Foster, of Cambridge
University, one of the leading physiological teachers of England,
says: "I have not performed it and have never seen it done," partly
because of horror at the pain necessary. And yet this experiment has
been performed before classes of young men and young women in the
Medical Schools of this country! Absolutely no legal restriction here
exists to the repetition, over and over again, of the most atrocious
tortures of Mantegazza, Bert and Schiff.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is the vivisection which does not "pay,"--even if we dismiss
altogether from our calculation the interests of the animals
sacrificed to the demand for mnemonic aid. For the great and perilous
outcome of such methods will be--finally--an atrophy of the sense of
sympathy for human suffering. It is seen to-day in certain hospitals
in Europe. Can other result be expected to follow the deliberate
infliction of prolonged pain without other object than to see or
demonstrate what will happen therefrom? Will any assistance to memory,
counterweigh the annihilation or benumbing of the instinct of pity?

Upon this subject of utility of painful experiments in class
demonstrations or private study, I would like to appeal for judgment
to the physician of the future, who then shall review the experience
of the medical student of to-day. In his course of physiological
training, he or she may be invited to see living animals cut and
mutilated in various ways, eviscerated, poisoned, frozen, starved, and
by ingenious devices of science subjected to the exhibition of pain.
On the first occasion such a scene generally induces in the young man
or young woman a significant subjective phenomenon of physiological
interest; an involuntary, creeping, tremulous sense of horror emerges
into consciousness,--and is speedily repressed. "This feeling," he
whispers to himself, "is altogether unworthy the scientific spirit in
which I am now to be educated; it needs to be subdued. The sight of
this inarticulate agony, this prolonged anguish is not presented to me
for amusement. I must steel myself to witness it, to assist in it, for
the sake of the good I shall be helped thereby to accomplish, some
day, for suffering humanity."

Praiseworthy sentiments, these are, indeed. Are they founded in
reality? No. The student who thus conquers "squeamishness" will not
see one fact thus demonstrated at the cost of pain which was unknown
to science before; not one fact which he might not have been made to
remember without this demonstrative illustration; _not one
fact_--saddest truth of all--that is likely to be of the slightest
practical service to him or to her in the multiplied and various
duties of future professional life. Why, then, are they shown? To help
him to remember his lesson! Admit the value to the student, but what
of the cost?

In one of the great cities of China, I was shown, leaning against the
high wall of the execution ground, a rude, wooden frame-work or cross,
old, hacked, and smeared with recent blood-stains. It was used, I was
told, in the punishment of extreme offenses; the criminal being bound
thereto, and flayed and cut in every way human ingenuity could devise
for inflicting torture before giving an immediately mortal wound. Only
the week before, such an execution had taken place; the victim being a
woman who had poisoned her husband. A young and enthusiastic physician
whom I met, told me he had secured the privilege of being an eye
witness to the awful tragedy, that he might verify a theory he had
formed on the influence of pain; a theory perhaps like that which led
to Mantegazza's crucifixion of pregnant rabbits with _dolori
atrocissimi_.[A] Science here caught her profit from the punishment of
crime, but the gain would have been the same had her interest alone
been the object. There is _always_ gain, always some aid to
memory;--_but what of the cost?_

    [A] See Appendix, page 83.

It cannot be expected that any Medical College, of its own accord and
without outside pressure, will restrict or hamper its freedom of
action. As a condition of prosperity and success it cannot show less
than is exhibited by other medical schools; it must keep abreast of
"advanced thought," and do and demonstrate in every way what its
rivals demonstrate and do. There can be no question but that there is
to-day a strong public demand for continental methods of physiological
instruction. Who make this demand? You, gentlemen, students of
medicine, and they who follow in your pathway. This year it is you
who silently request this aid to your memory of the physiological
statements of your text books; another year, another class of young
men and young women, occupying the same benches, or filling the same
laboratory, repeats the demand for the same series of illustrations.
You, perhaps, will have gone forward to take your places in active
life, to assume the real burdens of the medical profession. To those
succeeding years of thought, reflection and usefulness, let me
appeal, respecting the absolute necessity of all class demonstrations
and laboratory work involving pain. Postpone if you please, the ready
decision which, fresh from your class-room, you are perhaps only too
willing to give me to-day; I do not wish it. But some time in the
future, after years have gone by, remembering all you have seen and
aided in the doing, tell us if you can, exactly wherein you received,
in added potency for helping human suffering and for the treatment of
human ills, the equivalent of that awful expenditure of pain which you
are now demanding, and which by unprotesting acquiescence, you are
_to-day_ helping to inflict.

    _March, 1889_.

[_From_ SCRIBNER'S MONTHLY, _July, 1880_.]


The question of vivisection is again pushing itself to the front. A
distinguished American physiologist has lately come forward in defense
of the French experimenter, Magendie, and, parenthetically, of his
methods of investigation in the study of vital phenomena. On the other
hand, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals made an
unsuccessful attempt, in the New York Legislature last winter, to
secure the passage of a law which would entirely abolish the practice
as now in vogue in our medical schools, or cause it to be secretly
carried on, in defiance of legal enactments. In support of this bill
it was claimed that physiologists, for the sake of "demonstrating to
medical students certain physiological phenomena connected with the
functions of life, are constantly and habitually in the practice of
cutting up alive, torturing and tormenting divers of the unoffending
brute creation to illustrate their theories and lectures, but without
any practical or beneficial result either to themselves or to the
students, which practice is demoralizing to both and engenders in the
future medical practitioners a want of humanity and sympathy for
physical pain and suffering." How far these statements are true will
be hereafter discussed; but one assertion is so evidently erroneous
that it may be at once indicated. _No_ experiment, however atrocious,
cruel and, therefore, on the whole, unjustifiable, if performed to
illustrate some scientific point, was ever without "any beneficial
result." The benefit may have been infinitesimal, but every scientific
fact is of some value. To assert the contrary is to weaken one's case
by overstatement.

Leaving out the brute creation, there are three parties interested
in this discussion. In the first place, there are the professors and
teachers of physiology in the medical colleges. Naturally, these
desire no interference with either their work or their methods. They
claim that were the knowledge acquired by experiments upon living
organisms swept out of existence, in many respects the science of
physiology would be little more than guesswork to-day. The subject of
vivisection, they declare, is one which does not concern the general
public, but belongs exclusively to scientists and especially to
physiologists. That the present century should permit sentimentalists
to interfere with scientific investigations is preposterous.

Behind these stand the majority of men belonging to the medical
profession. Holding, as they do, the most important and intimate
relations to society, it is manifestly desirable that they should
enjoy the best facilities for the acquirement of knowledge necessary
to their art. To most, the question is merely one of professional
privilege against sentiment, and they cannot hesitate which side to
prefer. In this, as in other professions or trades, the feeling of
_esprit de corps_ is exceedingly strong; and no class of men likes
interference on the part of outsiders. To most physicians it is wholly
a scientific question. It is a matter, they think, with which the
public has no concern; if society can trust to the profession its sick
and dying, they surely can leave to its feeling of humanity a few
worthless brutes.

The opinion of the general public is therefore, divided and confused.
On the one hand, it is profoundly desirous to make systematic and
needless cruelty impossible; yet, on the other, it cannot but hesitate
to take any step which shall hinder medical education, impede
scientific discovery, or restrict search for new methods of treating
disease. What are the sufferings of an animal, however acute or
prolonged, compared with the gain to humanity which would result from
the knowledge thereby acquired of a single curative agent? Public
opinion hesitates. A leading newspaper, commenting on the introduction
of the Bergh bill, doubtless expressed the sentiment of most people
when it deprecated prevention of experiments "by which original
investigators seek to establish or verify conclusions which may be of
priceless value to the preservation of life and health among human

The question nevertheless confronts society,--and in such shape, too,
that society cannot escape, even if it would, the responsibility of a
decision. Either by action or inaction the State must decide whether
the practice of vivisection shall be wholly abolished, as desired by
some; whether it shall be restricted by law within certain limits and
for certain definite objects, as in Great Britain; or whether we are
to continue in this country to follow the example of France and
Germany, in permitting the practice of physiological experimentation
to any extent devised or desired by the experimentalist himself. Any
information tending to indicate which of these courses is best cannot
be inopportune. Having witnessed experiments by some of the most
distinguished European physiologists, such as Claude Bernard (the
successor of Magendie), Milne-Edwards and Brown-Sequard; and, still
better (or worse, as the reader may think), having performed some
experiments in this direction for purposes of investigation and for
the instruction of others, the present writer believes himself
justified in holding and stating a pronounced opinion on this subject,
even if it be to some extent, opposed to the one prevailing in the
profession. Suppose, therefore, we review briefly the arguments to be
adduced both in favor of the practice and against it.

Two principal arguments may be advanced in its favor.

I. It is undeniable that to the practice of vivisection we are
indebted for very much of our present knowledge of physiology. This is
the fortress of the advocates of vivisection, and a certain refuge
when other arguments are of no avail.

II. As a means of teaching physiological facts, vivisection is
unsurpassed. No teacher of science needs to be told the vast
superiority of demonstration over affirmation. Take for instance, the
circulation of the blood. The student who displays but a languid
interest in statements of fact, or even in the best delineations and
charts obtainable, will be thoroughly aroused by seeing the process
actually before his eyes. A week's study upon the book will less
certainly be retained in his memory than a single view of the opened
thorax of a frog or dog. There before him is the throbbing heart; he
sees its relations to adjoining structures, and marks, with a wonder
he never before knew, that mystery of life by which the heart, even
though excised from the body, does not cease for a time its rhythmic
beat. To imagine, then, that teachers of physiology find mere
amusement in these operations is the greatest of ignorant mistakes.
They deem it desirable that certain facts be accurately fixed in
memory, and they know that no system of mnemonics equals for such
purpose the demonstration of the function itself.

Just here, however, arises a very important question. Admitting the
benefit of the demonstration of scientific facts, _how far may one
justifiably subject an animal to pain for the purpose of illustrating
a point already known_? It is merely a question of cost. For instance,
it is an undisputed statement in physical science that the diamond is
nothing more than a form of crystallized carbon, and, like other forms
of carbon, under certain conditions, may be made to burn. Now most of
us are entirely willing to accept this, as we do the majority of
truths, upon the testimony of scientific men, without making
demonstration a requisite of assent. In a certain private school,
however, it has long been the custom once a year, to burn in oxygen a
small diamond, worth perhaps $30, so as actually to prove to the
pupils the assertion of their text-books. The experiment is a
brilliant one; no one can doubt its entire success. Nevertheless, we
do not furnish diamonds to our public schools for this purpose.
Exactly similar to this is one aspect of vivisection--it is a question
of cost. Granting all the advantages which follow demonstration of
certain physiological facts, the cost is pain--pain sometimes
amounting to prolonged and excruciating torture. Is the gain worth

Let me mention an instance. Not long ago, in a certain medical college
in the State of New York, I saw what Doctor Sharpey, for thirty years
the professor of physiology in the University Medical College, London,
once characterized by antithesis as "Magendie's _infamous_
experiment," it having been first performed by that eminent
physiologist. It was designed to prove that the stomach, although
supplied with muscular coats, is during the act of vomiting for the
most part passive; and that expulsion of its contents is due to the
action of the diaphragm and the larger abdominal muscles. The
professor to whom I refer did not propose to have even Magendie's
word accepted as an authority on the subject: the fact should be
demonstrated again. So an incision in the abdomen of a dog was made;
its stomach was cut out; a pig's bladder containing colored water was
inserted in its place, an emetic was injected into the veins,--and
vomiting ensued. Long before the conclusion of the experiment the
animal became conscious, and its cries of suffering were exceedingly
painful to hear. Now, granting that this experiment impressed an
abstract scientific fact upon the memories of all who saw it,
nevertheless it remains significantly true that the fact thus
demonstrated had no conceivable relation to the treatment of disease.
It is not to-day regarded as conclusive of the theory which, after
nearly two hundred repetitions of his experiment, was doubtless
considered by Magendie as established beyond question. Doctor Sharpey,
a strong advocate of vivisection, by the way, condemned it as a
perfectly unjustifiable experiment, since "besides its atrocity, it
was really purposeless." Was this repetition of the experiment which
I have described worth its cost? Was the gain worth the pain?

Let me instance another and more recent case. Being in Paris a year
ago, I went one morning to the College de France, to hear
Brown-Sequard, the most eminent experimenter in vivisection now
living--one who, Doctor Carpenter tells us, has probably inflicted
more animal suffering than any other man in his time. The lecturer
stated that injury to certain nervous centers near the base of the
brain would produce peculiar and curious phenomena in the animal
operated upon, causing it, for example, to keep turning to one side in
a circular manner, instead of walking in a straightforward direction.
A Guinea-pig was produced--a little creature, about the size of a
half-grown kitten--and the operation was effected, accompanied by a
series of piercing little squeaks. As foretold, the creature thus
injured did immediately perform a "circular" movement. A rabbit was
then operated upon with similar results. Lastly, an unfortunate
poodle was introduced, its muzzle tied with stout whip-cord, wound
round and round so tightly that it must necessarily have caused severe
pain. It was forced to walk back and forth on the long table, during
which it cast looks on every side, as though seeking a possible avenue
of escape. Being fastened in the operating trough, an incision was
made to the bone, flaps turned back, an opening made in the skull,
and enlarged by breaking away some portions with forceps. During
these various processes no attempt whatever was made to cause
unconsciousness by means of anæsthetics, and the half-articulate,
half-smothered cries of the creature in its agony were terrible to
hear, even to one not unaccustomed to vivisections. The experiment was
a "success"; the animal after its mutilation _did_ describe certain
circular movements. But I cannot help questioning in regard to these
demonstrations, _did they pay_? This experiment had not the slightest
relation whatever to the cure of disease. More than this: it teaches
us little or nothing in physiology. The most eminent physiologist in
this country, Doctor Austin Flint, Jr., admits that experiments of
this kind "do not seem to have advanced our positive knowledge of the
functions of the nerve centers," and that similar experiments "have
been very indefinite in their results." On this occasion, therefore,
three animals were subjected to torture to demonstrate an abstract
fact, which probably not a single one of the two dozen spectators
would have hesitated to take for granted on the word of so great a
pathologist as Doctor Brown-Sequard. Was the gain worth the cost?

This, then, is the great question that must eventually be decided by
the public. Do humanity and science here indicate diverging roads? On
the contrary, I believe it to be an undeniable fact that _the highest
scientific and medical opinion is against the repetition of painful
experiments for class teaching_. In 1875, a Royal Commission was
appointed in Great Britain to investigate the subject of vivisection,
with a view to subsequent legislation. The interests of science were
represented by the appointment of Professor Huxley as a member of this
commission. Its meetings continued over several months, and the report
constitutes a large volume of valuable testimony. The opinions of many
of these witnesses are worthy of special attention, from the eminent
position to the men who hold them. The physician to the Queen, Sir
Thomas Watson, with whose "Lectures on Physic" every medical
practitioner in this country is familiar, says: "I hold that no
teacher or man of science who by his own previous experiments, * * *
has thoroughly satisfied himself of the solution of any physiological
problem, is justified in repeating the experiments, however
mercifully, to appease the natural curiosity of a class of students or
of scientific friends." Sir George Burroughs, President of the Royal
College of Physicians, says: "I do not think that an experiment should
be repeated over and over again in our medical schools to illustrate
what is already established."[A] Sir James Paget, Surgeon
Extraordinary to the Queen, said before the commission that
"experiments for the purpose of repeating anything already ascertained
ought never to be shown to classes." [363.] Sir William Fergusson, F.
R. S., also Surgeon to her Majesty, asserted that "sufferings
incidental to such operations are protracted in a very shocking
manner"; that of such experiments there is "useless repetition," and
that "when once a fact which involves cruelty to animals has been
fairly recognized and accepted, there is no necessity for a continued
repetition." [1019.] Even physiologists--some of them practical
experimenters in vivisection--join in condemning these class
demonstrations. Dr. William Sharpey, before referred to as a teacher
of physiology for over thirty years in University College, says: "Once
such facts fully established, I do not think it justifiable to repeat
experiments causing pain to animals." [405.] Dr. Rolleston, Professor
of Physiology at Oxford, said that "for class demonstrations
limitations should undoubtedly be imposed, and _those limitations
should render illegal painful experiments before classes_." [1291.]
Charles Darwin, the greatest of living naturalists, stated that he had
never either directly or indirectly experimented on animals, and that
he regarded a painful experiment without anæsthetics which might be
made with anæsthetics as deserving "detestation and abhorrence."
[4672.] And finally the report of this commission, to which is
attached the name of Professor Huxley, says: "With respect to medical
schools, we accept the resolution of the British Association in 1871,
that experimentation without the use of anæsthetics is not a fitting
exhibition for teaching purposes."

    [A] "Report of the Royal Commission on the Practice of
    Subjecting Live Animals to Experiments for Scientific
    Purposes." Question No, 175. Reference to this volume will
    hereafter be made in this article by inserting in brackets,
    immediately after the authority quoted, the number of the
    question in this report from which the extract is made.

It must be noted that hardly any of these opinions touch the question
of vivisection so far as it is done without the infliction of pain,
nor object to it as a method of original research; they relate simply
to the practice of repeating painful experiments for purposes of
physiological teaching. We cannot dismiss them as "sentimental" or
unimportant. If painful experiments are necessary for the education of
the young physician, how happens it that Watson and Burroughs are
ignorant of the fact? If indispensable to the proper training of the
surgeon, why are they condemned by Fergusson and Paget? If requisite
even to physiology, why denounced by the physiologists of Oxford and
London? If necessary to science, why viewed "with abhorrence" by the
greatest of modern scientists?

Another objection to vivisection, when practiced as at present without
supervision or control, is the undeniable fact that habitual
familiarity with the infliction of pain upon animals has a decided
tendency to engender a sort of careless indifference regarding
suffering. "Vivisection," says Professor Rolleston of Oxford, "is very
liable to abuse. * * * It is specially liable to tempt a man into
certain carelessness; the passive impressions produced by the sight
of suffering growing weaker, while the habit and pleasure of
experimenting grows stronger by repetition." [1287.] Says Doctor
Elliotson: "I cannot refrain from expressing my horror at the amount
of torture which Doctor Brachet inflicted. _I hardly think knowledge
is worth having at such a purchase._"[A] A very striking example of
this tendency was brought out in the testimony of a witness before the
Royal Commission,--Doctor Klein, a practical physiologist. He admitted
frankly that as an investigator he held as entirely indifferent the
sufferings of animals subjected to his experiments, that, except for
teaching purposes, he never used anæsthetics unless necessary for his
own convenience. Some members of the Commission could hardly realize
the possibility of such a confession.

    [A] "Human Physiology," by John Elliotson, M. D., F. R. S.
    (page 448).

"Do you mean you have no regard at all to the sufferings of the lower

"_No regard at all_," was the strange reply; and, after a little
further questioning, the witness explained:

"I think that, with regard to an experimenter--a man who conducts
special research and performs an experiment--he has _no time, so to
speak, for thinking what the animal will feel or suffer_!"

Of Magendie's cruel disposition there seems only too abundant
evidence. Says Doctor Elliotson: "Dr. Magendie, in one of his
barbarous experiments, which I am ashamed to say I witnessed, began by
coolly cutting out a large round piece from the back of a beautiful
little puppy, as he would from an apple dumpling!" "It is not to be
doubted that inhumanity may be found in persons of very high position
as physiologists. _We have seen that it was so in Magendie._" This is
the language of the report on vivisection, to which is attached the
name of Professor Huxley.

But the fact which, in my own mind, constitutes by far the strongest
objection to unrestrained experiments in pain, is their questionable
utility as regards therapeutics. Probably most readers are aware that
physiology is that science which treats of the various functions of
life, such as digestion, respiration and the circulation of the blood,
while therapeutics is that department of medicine which relates to the
discovery and application of remedies for disease. Now I venture to
assert that, during the last quarter of a century, infliction of
intense torture upon unknown myriads of sentient, living creatures,
_has not resulted in the discovery of a single remedy of acknowledged
and generally accepted value in the cure of disease_. This is not
known to the general public, but it is a fact essential to any just
decision regarding the expediency of unrestrained liberty of
vivisection. It is by no means intended to deny the value to
therapeutics of well-known physiological facts acquired thus in the
past--such, for instance, as the more complete knowledge we possess
regarding the circulation of the blood, or the distinction between
motor and sensory nerves, nor can original investigation be
pronounced absolutely valueless as respects remote possibility of
future gain. What the public has a right to ask of those who would
indefinitely prolong these experiments without State supervision or
control is, "What good have your painful experiments accomplished
during the past thirty years--not in ascertaining facts in physiology
or causes of rare or incurable complaints, but in the discovery of
improved methods for ameliorating human suffering, and for the cure
of disease?" If pain could be estimated in money, no corporation
ever existed which would be satisfied with such waste of capital
in experiments so futile; no mining company would permit a
quarter-century of "prospecting" in such barren regions. The usual
answer to this inquiry is to bring forward facts in physiology thus
acquired in the past, in place of facts in therapeutics. Thus, in a
recent article on Magendie to which reference has been made, we are
furnished with a long list of such additions to our knowledge. It may
be questioned, however, whether the writer is quite scientifically
accurate in asserting that, were our past experience in vivisection
abolished, "it would blot out _all_ that we know to-day in regard to
the circulation of the blood, * * the growth and regeneration of bone,
* * * the origin of many parasitic diseases, * * * the communicability
of certain contagious and infectious diseases, and, to make the list
complete, it would be requisite * * to take _a wide range in addition
through the domains of pathology and therapeutics_." Surely somewhat
about these subjects has been acquired otherwise than by experiments
upon animals? For example, an inquiring critic might wish to know a
few of the "many parasitic diseases" thus discovered; or what
contagious and infectious diseases, whose communicability was
previously unknown, have had this quality demonstrated solely by
experiments on animals? And what, too, prevented that "wide range into
therapeutics" necessary to make complete the list of benefits due to
vivisection? In urging the utility of a practice so fraught with
danger, the utmost precaution against the slightest error of
overstatement becomes an imperative duty. Even so distinguished a
scientist as Sir John Lubbock once rashly asserted in Parliament that,
"without experiments on living animals, we should never have had the
use of ether"! Nearly every American school-boy knows that the
contrary is true--that the use of ether as an anæsthetic--the grandest
discovery of modern times--had no origin in the torture of animals.

I confess that, until very recently, I shared the common impression
regarding the utility of vivisection in therapeutics. It is a belief
still widely prevalent in the medical profession. Nevertheless, is it
not a mistake? The therapeutical results of nearly half a century of
painful experiments--we seek them in vain. Do we ask surgery? Sir
William Ferguson, surgeon to the Queen, tells us: "In surgery I am not
aware of any of these experiments on the lower animals having led to
the mitigation of pain or to improvement as regards surgical
details." [1049.] Have antidotes to poisons been discovered thereby?
Says Doctor Taylor, lecturer on Toxicology for nearly half a century
in the chief London Medical School (a writer whose work on Poisons is
a recognized authority): "I do not know that we have as yet learned
anything, so far as treatment is concerned, from our experiments with
them (_i.e._ poisons) on animals." [1204.] Doctor Anthony, speaking of
Magendie's experiments, says: "I never gained one single fact by
seeing these cruel experiments in Paris. _I know nothing more from
them than I could have read._" [2450.] Even physiologists admit the
paucity of therapeutic results. Doctor Sharpey says: "I should lay
less stress on the direct application of the results of vivisection to
improvement in the art of healing, than upon the value of these
experiments in the promotion of physiology." [394.] The Oxford
professor of Physiology admitted that Etiology, the science which
treats of the causes of disease, had, by these experiments, been the
gainer, rather than therapeutics. [1302.] "Experiments on animals,"
says Doctor Thorowgood, "already extensive and numerous, cannot be
said to have advanced therapeutics much."[A] Sir William Gull, M. D.,
was questioned before the commission whether he could enumerate any
therapeutic remedies which have been discovered by vivisection, and he
replied with fervor: "The cases bristle around us everywhere!" Yet,
excepting Hall's experiments on the nervous system, he could enumerate
only various forms of disease, our knowledge of which is due to
Harvey's discovery, two hundred and fifty years ago! The question was
pushed closer, and so brought to the necessity of a definite reply, he
answered: "I do not say at present our therapeutics are much, but
there are lines of experiment which _seem to promise_ great help in
therapeutics." [5529.] The results of two centuries of experiments, so
far as therapeutics are concerned, reduced to a seeming promise!

    [A] "Medical Times and Gazette," October 5, 1872.

On two points, then, the evidence of the highest scientific
authorities in Great Britain seems conclusive--first, that experiments
upon living animals conduce chiefly to the benefit of the science of
physiology, and little, if at all, at the present day, to the
treatment of disease or the amelioration of human suffering; and,
secondly, that repetition of painful experiments for class-teaching in
medical schools is both unnecessary and unjustifiable. Do these
conclusions affect the practice of vivisection in this country? Is it
true that experiments are habitually performed in some of our medical
schools, often causing extreme pain, to illustrate well-known and
accepted facts--experiments which English physiologists pronounce
"infamous" and "atrocious," which English physicians and surgeons
stigmatize as purposeless cruelty and unjustifiable--which even Huxley
regards as unfitting for teaching purposes, and Darwin denounces as
worthy of detestation and abhorrence? I confess I see no occasion for
any over-delicate reticence in this matter. Science needs no secrecy
either for her methods or results; her function is to reveal, not to
hide, facts. The reply to these questions must be in the affirmative.
In this country our physiologists are rather followers of Magendie and
Bernard, after the methods in vogue at Paris and Leipsic, than
governed by the cautious and sensitive conservatism in this respect
which generally characterizes the physiological teaching of London and
Oxford. In making this statement, no criticism is intended on the
motives of those responsible for ingrafting continental methods upon
our medical schools. If any opprobrium shall be inferred for the past
performance of experiments herein condemned, the present writer asks a
share in it. It is the future that we hope to change. Now, what are
the facts? A recent contributor to the "International Review,"
referring to Mr. Bergh, says that "he assails physiological
experiments with the same blind extravagance of denunciation as if
they were still performed without anæsthetics, as in the time of
Magendie." In the interests of scientific accuracy one would wish
more care had been given to the construction of this sentence, for it
implies that experiments are not now performed except with
anæsthetics--a meaning its author never could have intended to convey.
Every medical student in New York knows that experiments involving
pain are repeatedly performed to illustrate teaching. It is no secret;
one need not go beyond the frank admissions of our later text-books on
physiology for abundant proof, not only of this, but of the extent to
which experimentation is now carried in this country. "We have long
been in the habit, in class demonstrations, of removing the optic lobe
on one side from a pigeon," says Professor Flint, of Bellevue Hospital
Medical College, in his excellent work on Physiology.[A] "The
experiment of dividing the sympathetic in the neck, especially in
rabbits, is so easily performed that the phenomena observed by Bernard
and Brown-Sequard have been repeatedly verified. _We have often done
this in class demonstrations._"[B] "The cerebral lobes were removed
from a young pigeon in the usual way, an operation * * _which we
practice yearly as a class demonstration_."[C] Referring to the
removal of the cerebellum, the same authority states: "Our own
experiments, which have been very numerous during the last fifteen
years, are _simply repetitions of those of Flourens, and the results
have been the same without exception."[D] We have frequently removed
both kidneys_ from dogs, and when the operation is carefully performed
the animals live for from three to five days. * * Death always takes
place with symptoms of blood poisoning."[E] In the same work we are
given precise details for making a pancreatic fistula, after the
method of Claude Bernard--"one we have repeatedly employed with
success." "In performing the above experiment it is generally better
_not_ to employ an anæsthetic,"[F] but ether is sometimes used. In the
same work is given a picture of a dog, muzzled and with a biliary
fistula, as it appeared the fourteenth day after the operation, which,
with details of the experiment, is quite suggestive.[G] Bernard was
the first to succeed in following the spinal accessory nerve back to
the jugular foramen, seizing it here with a strong pair of forceps and
drawing it out by the roots. This experiment is practiced in our own
country. "We have found this result (loss of voice) to follow in the
cat after the spinal accessory nerves have been torn out by the
roots," says Professor John C. Dalton, in his Treatise on Human
Physiology.[H] "This operation is difficult," writes Professor Flint,
"but we have several times performed it with entire success;" and his
assistant at Bellevue Medical College has succeeded "in extirpating
these nerves for class demonstrations."[I] In withdrawal of blood from
the hepatic veins of a dog, "avoiding the administration of an
anæsthetic" is one of the steps recommended.[J] The curious experiment
of Bernard, in which artificial diabetes is produced by irritating the
floor of the fourth ventricle of the brain, is carefully described,
and illustrations afforded both of the instrument and the animal
undergoing the operation. The inexperienced experimenter is here
taught to hold the head of the rabbit "firmly in the left hand," and
to bore through its skull "by a few lateral movements of the
instrument." It is not a difficult operation; it is one which the
author has "often repeated." He tell us "_it is not desirable to
administer an anæsthetic_," as it would prevent success; and a little
further we are told that "we should avoid the administration of
anæsthetics in all accurate experiments on the glycogenic
function."[K] It is true the pleasing assurance is given that "this
experiment is almost painless"; but on this point, could the rabbit
speak during the operation, its opinion might not accord with that of
the physiologist.

    [A] A Text-book of Human Physiology, designed for the use of
    Practitioners and Students of Medicine, by Austin Flint, Jr.,
    M. D. D. Appleton & Co. New York: 1876 (page 722).

    [B] Page 738.

    [C] Page 585.

    [D] Page 710.

    [E] Page 403.

    [F] Pages 269-70.

    [G] Page 282.

    [H] Page 489.

    [I] Page 629.

    [J] Page 463.

    [K] Pages 470-71.

There is one experiment in regard to which the severe characterization
of English scientists is especially applicable, from the pain
necessarily attending it. Numerous investigators have long established
the fact that the great sensory nerve of the head and face is endowed
with an exquisite degree of sensibility. More than half a century ago,
both Magendie and Sir Charles Bell pointed out that merely exposing
and touching this fifth nerve gave signs of most acute pain. "All who
have divided this root in living animals must have recognized, not
only that it is sensitive, but that its sensibility is far more acute
than that of any other nervous trunk in the body."[A] "The fifth
pair," says Professor John C. Dalton, "is the most acutely sensitive
nerve in the whole body. Its irritation by mechanical means _always
causes intense pain_, and even though the animal be nearly unconscious
from the influence of ether, any severe injury to its large root is
almost invariably followed by cries."[B] Testimony on this point is
uniform and abundant. If science speaks anywhere with assurance, it
is in regard to the properties of this nerve. Yet every year the
experiment is repeated before medical classes, simply to demonstrate
accepted facts. "This is an operation," says Professor Flint,
referring to the division of this nerve, "that we have frequently
performed with success." He adds that "it is difficult from the fact
that one is working in the dark, and it requires a certain amount of
dexterity, _to be acquired only by practice_." Minute directions are
therefore laid down for the operative procedure, and illustrations
given both of the instrument to be used, and of the head of a rabbit
with the blade of the instrument in its cranial cavity.[C] Holding the
head of our rabbit firmly in the left hand, we are directed to
penetrate the cranium in a particular manner. "Soon the operator feels
at a certain depth that the bony resistance ceases; he is then on the
fifth pair, and the cries of the animal give evidence that the nerve
is pressed upon." This is one of Magendie's celebrated experiments;
perhaps the reader fancies that in its modern repetitions the animal
suffers nothing, being rendered insensible by anæsthetics? "_It is
much more satisfactory to divide the nerve without etherizing the
animal, as the evidence of pain is an important guide in this delicate
operation._" Anæsthetics, however, are sometimes used, but not so as
wholly to overcome the pain.

    [A] Flint: "Text Book on Human Physiology" (page 641).

    [B] Dalton's "Human Physiology" (page 466).

    [C] Flint (pages 639-40).

Testimony of individuals, indicating the extent to which vivisection
is at present practiced in this country might be given; but it seems
better to submit proof within the reach of every reader, and the
accuracy of which is beyond cavil. No legal restrictions whatever
exist, preventing the performance of any experiment desired. Indeed, I
think it may safely be asserted that, in the city of New York, in a
single medical school, more pain is inflicted upon living animals as a
means of teaching well-known facts, than is permitted to be done for
the same purpose in all the medical schools of Great Britain and
Ireland. And _cui bono_? "I can truly say," writes a physician who
has seen all these experiments, "that not only have I never seen any
results at all commensurate with the suffering inflicted, but I cannot
recall a single experiment which, in the slightest degree, has
increased my ability to relieve pain, or in any way fitted me to cope
better with disease."

In respect to this practice, therefore, evidence abounds indicating
the necessity for that State supervision which obtains in Great
Britain. We cannot abolish it any more than we can repress dissection;
to attempt it would be equally unwise. Within certain limitations,
dictated both by a regard for the interest of science and by that
sympathy for everything that lives and suffers which is the highest
attribute of humanity, it seems to me that the practice of vivisection
should be allowed. What are these restrictions?

The following conclusions are suggested as a basis for future

_I. Any experiment or operation whatever upon a living animal, during
which by recognized anæsthetics it is made completely insensible to
pain, should be permitted._

This does not necessarily imply the taking of life. Should a surgeon,
for example, desire to cause a fracture or tie an artery, and then
permit the animal to recover so as to note subsequent effects, there
is no reason why the privilege should be refused. The discomfort
following such an operation would be inconsiderable. This permission
should not extend to experiments purely physiological and having no
definite relation to surgery; nor to mutilation from which recovery is
impossible, and prolonged pain certain as a sequence.

_II. Any experiment performed thus, under complete anæsthesia, though
involving any degree of mutilation, if concluded by the extinction of
life before consciousness is regained should also be permitted._

To object to killing animals for scientific purposes while we continue
to demand their sacrifice for food, is to seek for the appetite a
privilege we refuse the mind. It is equally absurd to object to
vivisection because it dissects, or "cuts up." If no pain be felt, why
is it worse to cut up a dog, than a sheep or an ox? Such experiments
as the foregoing might be permitted to any extent desired in our
medical schools.

Far more difficult is the question of painful experimentation.
Unfortunately, it so happens that the most attractive original
investigations are largely upon the nervous system, involving the
consciousness of pain as a requisite to success. Toward this class of
experiments the State should act with caution and firmness. It seems
to me that the following restrictions are only just.

_III. In view of the great cost in suffering, as compared with the
slight profit gained by the student, the repetition, for purposes of
class instruction of any experiment involving pain to a vertebrate
animal should be forbidden by law._

_IV. In view of the slight gain to practical medicine resulting from
innumerable past experiments of this kind, a painful experiment upon
a living vertebrate animal should be permitted solely for purposes of
original investigation, and then only under the most rigid
surveillance, and preceded by the strictest precautions._ For every
experiment of this kind the physiologist should be required to obtain
special permission from a State board, specifying on application (1)
the object of the proposed investigation, (2) the nature and method of
the operation, (3) the species of animal to be sacrificed, and (4) the
shortest period during which pain will probably be felt. An officer of
the State should be given an opportunity to be present; and a report
made, both of the length of time occupied, and the knowledge, if any,
gained thereby. If these restrictions are made obligatory by statute,
and their violation made punishable by a heavy fine, such experiments
will be generally performed only when absolutely necessary for
purposes of scientific research.

In few matters is there greater necessity for careful discrimination
than in everything pertaining to this subject. The attempt has been
made in this paper to indicate how far the State--leaning to mercy's
side--may sanction a practice often so necessary and useful, always so
dangerous in its tendencies. That is a worthy ideal of conduct which

  "Never to blend our pleasure or our pride
  With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels."

Is not this a sentiment in which even science may fitly share? Are we
justified in neglecting the evidence she offers, purchased in the past
at such immeasurable agonies, and in demanding that year after year
new victims shall be subjected to torture, only to demonstrate what
none of us doubt? That is the chief question. For, if all compromise
be persistently rejected by physiologists, there is danger that some
day, impelled by the advancing growth of humane sentiment, society may
confound in one common condemnation all experiments of this nature,
and make the whole practice impossible, except in secret and as a

[_From_ LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE, _August, 1884_.]


Omitting entirely any consideration of the ethics of vivisection, the
only points to which in the present article the attention of the
reader is invited are those in which scientific inquirers may be
supposed to have a common interest.

I. One danger to which scientific truth seems to be exposed is a
peculiar tendency to underestimate the numberless uncertainties
and contradictions created by experimentation upon living beings.
Judging from the enthusiasm of its advocates, one would think that
by this method of interrogating nature all fallacies can be
detected, all doubts determined. But, on the contrary, the result of
experimentation, in many directions, is to plunge the observer into
the abyss of uncertainty. Take, for example, one of the simplest and
yet most important questions possible,--the degree of sensibility in
the lower animals. Has an infinite number of experiments enabled
physiologists to determine for us the mere question of pain? Suppose
an amateur experimenter in London, desirous of performing some severe
operations upon frogs, to hesitate because of the extreme painfulness
of his methods, what replies would he be likely to obtain from the
highest scientific authorities of England as to the sensibility of
these creatures? We may fairly judge their probable answers to such
inquiries from their evidence already given before a royal

    [A] The contradictory opinions ascribed to most of the
    authorities quoted in this article are taken directly from
    the "Report of the Royal Commission on the Practice of
    Subjecting Live Animals to Experiments for Scientific
    Purposes,"--a Blue-Book Parliamentary Report.

Dr. Carpenter would doubtless repeat his opinion that "frogs have
extremely little perception of pain;" and in the evidence of that
experienced physiologist George Henry Lewes, he would find the
cheerful assurance, "I do not believe that frogs suffer pain at all."
Our friend applies, let us suppose, to Dr. Klein, of St. Bartholomew's
Hospital, who despises the sentimentality which regards animal
suffering as of the least consequence; and this enthusiastic
vivisector informs him that, in his English experience, the experiment
which caused the greatest pain without anæsthetics was the
cauterization of the cornea of a frog. Somewhat confused at finding
that a most painful experiment can be performed upon an animal that
does not suffer he relates this to Dr. Swaine Taylor, of Guy's
Hospital, who does not think that Klein's experiment would cause
severe suffering; but of another--placing a frog in cold water and
raising the temperature to about 100°--"that," says Doctor Taylor,
"would be a cruel experiment: I cannot see what purpose it can
answer." Before leaving Guy's Hospital, our inquiring friend meets Dr.
Pavy, one of the most celebrated physiologists in England, who tells
him that in this experiment, stigmatized by his colleague as "cruel,"
the frog would in reality suffer very little; that if we ourselves
were treated to a bath gradually raised from a medium temperature to
the boiling point, "I think we should not feel any pain;" that were we
plunged at once into boiling water, "even then," says the enthusiastic
and scientific Dr. Pavy, "I do not think pain would be experienced!"
Our friend goes then to Dr. Sibson, of St. Mary's Hospital, who as a
physiologist of many years' standing, sees no objection to freezing,
starving, or baking animals alive; but he declares of boiling a frog,
"That is a horrible idea, and I certainly am not going to defend it."
Perplexed more than ever, he goes to Dr. Lister, of King's College,
and is astonished upon being told "that the mere holding of a frog
in your warm hand is about as painful as any experiment probably
that you would perform." Finally, one of the strongest advocates of
vivisections, Dr. Anthony, pupil of Sir Charles Bell, would exclaim,
if a mere exposition of the lungs of the frog were referred to,
"Fond as I am of physiology, I would not do that for the world!"

Now, what has our inquirer learned by his appeal to science? Has
he gained any clear and absolute knowledge? Hardly two of the
experimenters named agree upon one simple yet most important
preliminary of research--_the sensibility to pain of a single species
of animals_.

Let us interrogate scientific opinion a little further on this
question of sensibility. Is there any difference in animals as
regards susceptibility to pain? Dr. Anthony says that we may take
the amount of intelligence in animals as a fair measure of their
sensibility--that the pain one would suffer would be in proportion
to its intelligence. Dr. Rutherford, Edinburgh, never performs an
experiment upon a cat or a spaniel if he can help it, because they are
so exceedingly sensitive; and Dr. Horatio Wood, of Philadelphia, tells
us that the nervous system of a cat is far more sensitive than that of
the rabbit. On the other hand, Dr. Lister, of King's College, is not
aware of any such difference in sensibility in animals, and Dr.
Brunton, of St. Bartholomew's, finds cats such very good animals to
operate with that he on one occasion used ninety in making a single

Sir William Gull thinks "there are but few experiments performed on
living creatures where sensation is not removed," yet Dr. Rutherford
admits "about half" his experiments to have been made upon animals
sensitive to pain. Professor Rolleston, of Oxford University, tells
us "the whole question of anæsthetizing animals has an element of
uncertainty"; and Professor Rutherford declares it "impossible to say"
whether even artificial respiration is painful or not, "unless the
animal can speak." Dr. Brunton, of St. Bartholomew's, says of that
most painful experiment, poisoning by strychnine, that it cannot be
efficiently shown if the animal be under chloroform. Dr. Davy, of
Guy's, on the contrary, always gives chloroform, and finds it no
impediment to successful demonstration, Is opium an anæsthetic? Claude
Bernard declares that sensibility exists even though the animal be
motionless: "_Il sent la douleur, mais il a, pour ainsi dire, perdu
l'idee de la defense._"[A] But Dr. Brunton, of St. Bartholomew's
hospital, London, has no hesitation whatever in contradicting this
statement "emphatically, however high an authority it may be."

Curare, a poison invented by South American Indians for their arrows,
is much used in physiological laboratories to paralyze the motor
nerves, rendering an animal absolutely incapable of the slightest
disturbing movement. Does it at the same time destroy sensation, or
is the creature conscious of every pang? Claude Bernard, of Paris,
Sharpey, of London, and Flint, of New York[B] all agree that sensation
is _not_ abolished; on the other hand, Rutherford regards curare as a
partial anæsthetic, and Huxley strongly intimates that Bernard in thus
deciding from experiments that it does not affect the cerebral
hemispheres or consciousness, "_jumped at a conclusion_ for which
neither he nor anybody else had any scientific justification." This
is extraordinary language for one experimentalist to use regarding
others! If it is possible that such men as Claude Bernard and
Professor Flint have "jumped at" one utterly unscientific conclusion,
notwithstanding the most painstaking of vivisections, what security
have we that other of our theories in physiology now regarded as
absolutely established may not be one day as severely ridiculed by
succeeding investigators? Is it, after all, true, that the absolute
certainty of our most important deductions must remain forever hidden
"unless the animal can speak"?

    [A] "He feels the pain, but has lost, so to speak, the idea
    of self defense." Leçons de Physiologie opératoire, 1879, p.

    [B] Text-Book of Human Physiology, p. 595.

II. Between advocating State supervision of painful vivisection, and
proposing with Mr. Bergh the total suppression of all experiments,
painful or otherwise, there is manifestly a very wide distinction.
Unfortunately, the suggestion of any interference whatever invariably
rouses the anger of those most interested--an indignation as
unreasonable, to say the least, as that of the merchant who refuses a
receipt for money just paid to him, on the ground that a request for a
written acknowledgement is a reflection upon his honesty. I cannot see
how otherwise than by State supervision we are to reach abuses which
confessedly exist. Can we trust the sensitiveness and conscience
of every experimenter? Nobody claims this. One of the leading
physiologists in this country, Dr. John C. Dalton, admits "that
vivisection may be, and has been, abused by reckless, unfeeling, or
unskillful persons;" that he himself has witnessed abroad, in a
veterinary institution, operations than which "nothing could be more
shocking." And yet the unspeakable atrocities at Alfort, to which,
apparently, Dr. Dalton alludes, were defended upon the very ground he
occupies to-day in advocating experiments of the modern laboratory and
classroom; for the Academie des Sciences decided that there was "no
occasion to take any notice of complaints; that in the future, as in
the past, vivisectional experiments must be left entirely to the
judgment of scientific men." What seemed "atrocious" to the more
tender-hearted Anglo-Saxon was pronounced entirely justifiable by the
French Academy of Science.

A curious question suggests itself in connection with this point.
There can be little doubt, I think, that the sentiment of compassion
and of sympathy with suffering is more generally diffused among all
classes of Great Britain than elsewhere in Europe; and one cannot help
wondering what our place might be, were it possible to institute any
reliable comparison of national humanity. Should we be found in all
respects as sensitive as the English people? Would indignation and
protest be as quickly and spontaneously evoked among us by a cruel
act? The question may appear an ungracious one, yet it seems to me
there exists some reason why it should be plainly asked. There is a
certain experiment--one of the most excruciating that can be
performed--which consists in exposing the spinal cord of the dog for
the purpose of demonstrating the functions of the spinal nerves. It is
one, by the way, which Dr. Wilder forgot to enumerate in his summary
of the "four kinds of experiments," since it is not the "cutting
operation" which forms its chief peculiarity or to which special
objection would be made. At present all this preliminary process is
generally performed under anæsthetics: it is an hour or two later,
when the animal has partly recovered from the severe shock of the
operation, that the wound is reopened and the experiment begins. It
was during a class demonstration of this kind by Magendie, before
the introduction of ether, that the circumstance occurred which one
hesitates to think possible in a person retaining a single spark of
humanity or pity. "I recall to mind," says Dr. Latour, who was present
at the time, "a poor dog, the roots of whose vertebral nerves Magendie
desired to lay bare to demonstrate Bell's theory, which he claimed as
his own. The dog, mutilated and bleeding twice escaped from under the
implacable knife, and threw its front paws around Magendie's neck,
licking, as if to soften his murderer and ask for mercy! I confess I
was unable to endure that heartrending spectacle."

It was probably in reference to this experiment that Sir Charles Bell,
the greatest English physiologist of our century, writing to his
brother in 1822, informs him that he hesitates to go on with his
investigations. "You may think me silly," he adds, "but I cannot
perfectly convince myself that I am authorized in nature or religion
to do these cruelties." Now, what do English physiologists and
vivisectors of the present day think of the repetition of this
experiment solely as a class demonstration?

They have candidly expressed their opinions before a royal commission.
Dr. David Ferrier, of King's college, noted for his experiments upon
the brain of monkeys, affirms his belief that "students would rebel"
at the sight of a painful experiment. Dr. Rutherford, who certainly
dared do all that may become a physiologist, confesses mournfully,
"_I dare not_ show an experiment upon a dog or rabbit before students,
when the animal is not anæsthetized." Dr. Pavy, of Guy's Hospital,
asserts that a painful experiment introduced before a class "would not
be tolerated for a moment." Sir William Gull, M. D., believes that the
repetition of an operation like this upon the spinal nerves would
excite the reprobation alike of teacher, pupils, and the public at
large. Michael Foster, of Cambridge University, who minutely describes
all the details of the experiment on recurrent sensibility in the
"Handbook for the Physiological Laboratory," nevertheless tells
us, "I have not performed it, and have never seen it done," partly,
as he confesses, "from horror at the pain." And finally Dr.
Burdon-Sanderson, physiologist at University College, London, states
with the utmost emphasis, in regard to the performance of this
demonstration on the spinal cord, "I am perfectly certain that no
physiologist--none of the leading men in Germany, for example--would
exhibit an experiment of that kind."

Now mark the contrast. This experiment--which we are told passes even
the callousness of Germany to repeat; which every leading champion of
vivisection in Great Britain reprobates for medical teaching; which
some of them shrink even from seeing, themselves, from horror at the
tortures necessarily inflicted; which the most ruthless among them
_dare not_ exhibit to the young men of England,--_this experiment has
been performed publicly again and again in American medical colleges_,
without exciting, so far as we know, even a whisper of protest or the
faintest murmur of remonstrance! The proof is to be found in the
published statements of the experimenter himself. In his "Text-Book
of Physiology," Professor Flint says, "Magendie showed very
satisfactorily that the posterior roots (of the spinal cord) were
exclusively sensory, and this fact has been confirmed by more recent
observations upon the higher classes of animals. We have ourselves
frequently exposed and irritated the roots of the nerves in dogs, _in
public demonstrations_ in experiments on the recurrent sensibility,
... and in another series of observations."[A]

    [A] "A Text-Book of Human Physiology." By Austin Flint, Jr.
    M. D. New York, 1876. Page 589; see also page 674.

This is the experience of a single professional teacher; but it is
improbable that this experiment has been shown only to the students of
a single medical college in the United States; it has doubtless been
repeated again and again in different colleges throughout the country.
If Englishmen are, then, so extremely sensitive as Ferrier, Gull, and
Burdon-Sanderson would have us believe, we must necessarily conclude
that the sentiment of compassion is far greater in Britain than in
America. Have we drifted backward in humanity? Have American students
learned to witness, without protest, tortures at the sight of which
English students would rebel? We are told that there is no need of any
public sensitiveness on this subject. We should trust entirely, as
they do in France,--at Alfort, for example,--"to the judgment of the
investigator." There must be no lifting of the veil to the outside
multitude; for the priests of this unpitying science there must be as
absolute immunity from criticism or inquiry as was ever demanded
before the shrine of Delphi or the altars of Baal. "Let them exercise
their solemn office," demands Dr. Wilder, "not only unrestrained by
law, but upheld by public sentiment."

For myself, I cannot believe this position is tenable. Nothing seems
to me more certain than the results that must follow if popular
sentiment in this country shall knowingly sustain the public
demonstration of an experiments in pain, which can find no defender
among the physiologists of Great Britain. It has been my fortune to
know something of the large hospitals of Europe; and I confess I do
not know a single one in countries where painful vivisection
flourishes, unchecked by law, wherein the poor and needy sick are
treated with the sympathy, the delicacy, or even the decency, which so
universally characterize the hospitals of England. When Magendie,
operating for cataract, plunged his needle to the bottom of his
patient's eye, that he might note upon a human being the effect
produced by mechanical irritation of the retina, he demonstrated how
greatly the zeal of the enthusiast may impair the responsibility of
the physician and the sympathy of man for man.

III. The utility of vivisection in advancing therapeutics, despite
much argument, still remains an open question. No one is so foolish as
to deny the possibility of future usefulness to any discovery
whatever; but there is a distinction, very easily slurred over in the
eagerness of debate, between present applicability and remotely
potential service. If the pains inflicted on animals are absolutely
necessary to the protection of human life and the advancement of
practical skill in medicine, should sentiment be permitted to check
investigation? An English prelate, the Bishop of Peterborough,
speaking in Parliament on this subject, once told the House of Lords
that "it was very difficult to decide what was unnecessary pain," and
as an example of the perplexities which arose in his own mind he
mentioned "the case of the wretched man who was convicted of skinning
cats alive, because their skins were more valuable when taken from the
living animal than from the dead one. The extra money," added the
Bishop, "got the man a dinner!"[A] Whether in this particular case the
excuse was well received by the judge, the reverend prelate neglected
to inform us; but it is certain that the plea for painful
experimentation rests substantially on the same basis. Out of the
agonies of sentient brutes we are to pluck the secret of longer living
and the art of surer triumph over intractable disease.

    [A] See Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, June 20, 1876.

But has this hope been fulfilled? Pasteur, we are told, has claimed
the discovery of a cure for hydrophobia through experiments on
animals. It may be well worth its cost if only true; but we cannot
forget that its practical value is by no means yet demonstrated. Aside
from this, has physiological experimentation during the last quarter
of a century contributed such marked improvements in therapeutic
methods that we find certain and tangible evidence thereof in the
diminishing fatality of any disease? Can one mention a single malady
which thirty years ago resisted every remedial effort, to which the
more enlightened science of to-day can offer hopes of recovery? These
seem to me perfectly legitimate and fair questions, and, fortunately,
in one respect, capable of a scientific reply. I suppose the opinion
of the late Claude Bernard, of Paris, would be generally accepted as
that of the highest scientific authority on the utility of vivisection
in "practical medicine;" but he tells us that it is hardly worth while
to make the inquiry. "Without doubt," he confessed, "_our hands are
empty to-day_, although our mouths are full of legitimate promises for
the future."

Was Claude Bernard correct in this opinion as to the "empty hands?"
If scientific evidence is worth anything, it points to the appalling
conclusion that, _notwithstanding all the researches of physiology,
the chief forms of chronic disease exhibit to-day in England a greater
fatality than thirty years ago_. In the following table I have
indicated the average annual mortality, per million inhabitants, of
certain diseases, _first_, for the period of five years from 1850 to
1854, and _secondly_, for the period twenty-five years later, from
1875 to 1879. The authority is beyond question; the facts are
collected from the report to Parliament of the Registrar-general
of England:

             _Average Annual Rate of Mortality in England,
          from Causes of Death, per One Million Inhabitants._

                                    |    During     |    During
           NAME OF DISEASE.         |  Five Years,  |  Five Years,
                                    |    1850-54.   |    1875-79.
  Gout,                             |        12     |        25
  Aneurism,                         |        16     |        32
  Diabetes,                         |        23     |        41
  Insanity,                         |        29     |        57
  Syphilis,                         |        37     |        86
  Epilepsy,                         |       105     |       119
  Bright's disease,                 |        32     |       182
  Kidney disease,                   |        94     |       114
  Brain disease,                    |       192     |       281
  Liver disease,                    |       215     |       291
  Heart disease,                    |       651     |     1,335
  Cancer,                           |       302     |       492
  Paralysis,                        |       440     |       501
  Apoplexy,                         |       454     |       552
  Tubercular diseases and diseases  |               |
    of the Respiratory Organs,      |     6,424     |     6,886
  Mortality from above diseases:    |     9,026     |    10,994

This is certainly a most startling exhibit, when we remember that from
only these few causes about half of _all_ the deaths in England
annually occur, and that from them result the deaths of two-thirds of
the persons, of both sexes, who reach the age of twenty years.[A] What
are the effects here discernible of Bernard's experiments upon
diabetes? of Brown-Sequard's upon epilepsy and paralysis? of Flint's
and Pavy's on diseases of the liver? of Ferrier's researches upon the
functions of the brain? Let us appeal from the heated enthusiasm of
the experimenter to the stern facts of the statistician. Why, so far
from having obtained the least mastery over those malignant forces
which seem forever to elude and baffle our art, they are actually
gaining upon us; every one of these forms of disease is more fatal
to-day in England than thirty years ago; during 1879 over sixty
thousand _more_ deaths resulted from these maladies alone than would
have occurred had the rate of mortality from them been simply that
which prevailed during the benighted period of 1850 to 1854! True,
during later years there has been a diminished mortality in England,
but it is from the lesser prevalence of zymotic diseases, which no one
to-day pretends to cure; while the organic diseases show a constant
tendency to increase. Part of this may be due to more accurate
diagnosis and clearer definition of mortality causes: but this will
not explain a phenomenon which is too evident to be overlooked.

    [A] In 1879 the total mortality in England, above the age of
    twenty, from _all causes_ whatsoever, was 287,093. Of these
    deaths, the number occasioned by the sixteen causes above
    named, was 191,706, or almost exactly two-thirds.

"It is a fact," says the Registrar-general, in his report for 1879,
"that while mortality in early life has been very notably diminished,
_the mortality of persons in middle or advanced life has been steadily
rising for a long period of years_." It is probable that the same
story would be told by the records of France, Germany, and other
European countries; it is useless, of course, to refer to America,
since in regard to statistical information we still lag behind every
country which pretends to be civilized.[A] Undoubtedly it would be a
false assumption which from these facts should deduce retrogression
in medical art or deny advance and improvement; but they certainly
indicate that the boasted superiority of modern medicine over the
skill of our fathers, due to physiological researches, is not
sustained by the only impartial authority to which science can appeal
for evidence of results.

    [A] Even Japan, a country we are apt to consider as somewhat
    benighted, has far better statistical information at hand
    than the United States of America.

       *       *       *       *       *

What then is the substance of the whole matter? It seems to me the
following conclusions are justified by the facts presented.

I. All experiments upon living animals may be divided into two general
classes; 1st those which produce pain,--slight, brief, severe or
atrociously acute and prolonged; and 2nd, those experiments which are
performed under complete anæsthesia from which either death ensues
during unconsciousness, or entire recovery may follow.

II. The majority of vivisections requisite for purposes of teaching
physiological facts _may_ be so carried on as to take life with less
pain or inconvenience to the animal than is absolutely necessary in
order to furnish meat for our tables. Those who would make it a penal
offense to submit to a class of college students the unconscious and
painless demonstration of functional activity of the heart, for
example, and yet demand for the gratification of appetite the daily
slaughter of oxen and sheep without anæsthetics, and without any
attempt to minimize the agony of terror, fear and pain--may not be
inconsistent. But it is a view the writer cannot share.

III. Prohibition of all experiments may be fairly demanded by those
who believe that the enthusiastic ardor of the scientific experimenter
or lecturer, will outweigh all considerations of good faith, provided
success or failure of his experiment depend on the consciousness of
pain. In other words, that the experimenter himself, as a rule,
_cannot be trusted to obey the law, should the law restrict_.

This also is an extreme position.

IV. Absolute liberty in the matter of painful experiments has produced
admitted abuses by physiologists of Germany, France and Italy. In
America it has led to the repetition before classes of students of
Magendie's extreme cruelties,--demonstrations which have been
condemned by every leading English physiologist.

V. In view of the dangerous impulses not unfrequently awakened by the
sight of pain intentionally inflicted, experiments of this kind should
be by legal enactment absolutely forbidden before classes of students,
especially in our Public Schools.

VI. It is not in accord with scientific accuracy to contend for
unlimited freedom of painful experimentation, on the ground of its
vast utility to humanity in the discovery of new methods for the cure
of disease. On the contrary, so far as can be discovered by a careful
study of English mortality statistics, physiological experiments upon
living animals for fifty years back have in no single instance
lessened the fatality of any disease below its average of thirty-five
years ago.

VII. Vivisection, involving the infliction of pain is, even in its
best possible aspect, a necessary evil, and ought at once to be
restricted within the narrowest limits, and placed under the
supervision of the State.



For reasons sufficiently stated in the preceding pages, the writer
does not advocate the total abolition of all experimentation. It is
only fair to acknowledge, however, that very strong and weighty
arguments in favor of legal repression have been advanced both in this
country and abroad, some of which are herewith presented, as the other
side of the question.

The cause of abolition has no more earnest and eloquent advocate than
Miss Frances Power Cobbe of England. Through innumerable controversies
with scientific men in the public journals, magazines and reviews, she
has presented in awful array, the abuses of unlimited and uncontrolled
experimentation on the continent of Europe, and the arguments in favor
of total repression. The following letters, extracts from her public
correspondence, will indicate her position.



                                1, Victoria Street, London, S. W.,
                                         January 10, 1881.

SIR.--An Italian pamphlet, _Dell'Azione del Dolore sulla Respirazione_
(The Action of Pain on Respiration), has just reached my hands, and as
it is, I think, quite unknown in this country, I will beg you to grant
me space for a few extracts from its pages. The pamphlet is by the
eminent physiologist, Mantegazza, and was published by Chiusi, of
Milan. Having explained the object of his investigations to be the
effects of pain on the respiratory organs, the Professor describes (p.
20) the methods he devised for the production of such pain. He found
the best to consist in "planting nails, sharp and numerous, through
the feet of the animal in such a manner as to render the creature
almost motionless, because in every movement it would have felt its
torment more acutely" (_piantando chiodi acuti e numerosi attraverso
le piante dei piedi in modo da rendere immobile o quasi l'animale,
perché ad ogni movimento avrebbe sentito molto piu acuto il suo
tormento_). Further on he mentions that, to produce still more intense
pain (_dolore intenso_) he was obliged to employ lesions, followed by
inflammation. An ingenious machine, constructed by "our" Tecnomasio,
of Milan, enabled him likewise to grip any part of an animal with
pincers with iron teeth, and to crush, or tear, or lift up the victim,
"so as to produce pain in every possible way." A drawing of this
instrument is appended. The first series of his experiments, Signor
Mantegazza informs us, were tried on twelve animals, chiefly rabbits
and guinea pigs, of which several were pregnant. One poor little
creature, "far advanced in pregnancy," was made to endure _dolori
atrocissimi_, so that it was impossible to make any observations in
consequence of its convulsions.

In the second series of experiments twenty-eight animals were
sacrificed, some of them taken from nursing their young, exposed to
torture for an hour or two, then allowed to rest an hour, and usually
replaced in the machine to be crushed or torn by the Professor for
periods of from two to six hours more. In the table wherein these
experiments are summed up, the terms _molto dolore_ and _crudeli
dolori_ are delicately distinguished, the latter being apparently
reserved for the cases when the victims were, as the Professor
expresses it, _lardellati di chiodi_--("larded with nails").

In conclusion, the author informs us (p. 25) that these experiments
were all conducted "_con molto amore e pazienza!_"--with much zeal and

                         I am, etc.,
                                        FRANCES POWER COBBE.

In a controversy with Dr. Pye-Smith, who had read a paper before the
British Association, Miss Cobbe writes as follows to one of the public

"Dr. Pye-Smith is reported to have said: 'Happily, the neccessary
experiments were comparatively few.' Few! What are a "few"
experiments? Professor Schiff in ten years experimented on 14,000
dogs, given over to him by the Municipality of Florence, and returned
their carcases so mangled that the man who had contracted for their
skins found them useless. He also experimented on pigeons, cats, and
rabbits to the number, it is calculated, of 70,000 creatures; and he
now asks for ten dogs a week in Geneva. All over Germany and France
there are laboratories "using" (as the horrible phrase is) numberless
animals, inasmuch as I have just received a letter stating that dogs
are actually becoming scarce in Lyons, and it is proposed to breed
them for the purpose of Vivisection. Be this true or not, I invite any
of your readers to visit the office of the Victoria Street Society,
and examine the volumes of splendid plates of vivisecting instruments,
which will there be shown them, and then judge for themselves whether
it be for a few experiments that those elaborate and costly inventions
have become a regular branch of manufacture. Let them examine the
volume of the English handbook of the physiological laboratory, the
volume of Cyon's magnificent atlas, with its 54 plates, the _Archives
de Physiologie_, with its 191 plates, the _Physiologische Methodik_,
or Claude Bernard's _Leçons sur la Chaleur Animale_, with its pictures
of the stoves wherein he baked dogs and rabbits alive; and after these
sights of disgust and horror they will know how to understand the word
"few" in the vocabulary of a physiologist. I am glad to hear that a
German opponent of Vivisection recently entering a shop devoted to the
sale of these tools of torture, was greeted by the proprietor with a
volley of abuse: 'It is you and your friends,' he said, 'who are
destroying my trade. I used to sell a hundred of Czermak's tables and
other instruments for one I sell now.'

"Dr. Pye-Smith said: 'Many of the experiments inflicted no pain or
injury whatever, and the great majority of the rest were rendered
painless by the use of those beneficial agents which abolished pain
and had themselves been discovered by experiments upon living
animals.' As to the use of anæsthetics in annulling the agonies of
mutilated animals, the audience ought to have asked Dr. Pye-Smith to
explain whether he intended to refer to chloroform, or the narcotic
morphia, or, lastly, to the drug _curare_. If he referred to
chloroform, Dr. Hoggan tells from his own experience (_Anæsthetics_,
p. 1), that 'nothing can be more uncertain than its influence on
the lower animals; many of them die before they become insensible.
Complete and conscientious anæsthesia is seldom even attempted,
the animal getting at most a slight whiff of chloroform _by way of
satisfying the conscience of the operator_, or enabling him to make
statements of a humane character.' Even if it were conscientiously
administered at the beginning of an experiment, how little would
chloroform diminish the misery of Rutherford's dogs or Brunton's
ninety cats, whose long-drawn agonies extended over many days? How
little could it affect in any way the cases of starving, poisoning,
baking, stewing to death, or burning,--like the twenty-five dogs over
which Professor Wertheim poured turpentine and then set them on fire,
leaving them afterwards slowly to perish? If Dr. Pye-Smith was
thinking of morphia, the reader may refer to Claude Bernard's
_Leçons de Physiologie Operatoire_, where he will find that great
physiologists recommends its use; but at the same time mentions (as of
no particular consequence) that the animal subjected to its influence
still 'suffers pain.' I can hardly suppose, lastly, that Dr. Pye-Smith
was secretly thinking of _curare_, and that he is one of those whom
Tennyson says would

  "Mangle the living dog which loved him and fawned at his knee,
  Drenched with the hellish oorali."

It is bad enough to "mangle" a loving and intelligent creature without
adding to its agonies the paralysis of the powers of motion, and the
increased sensibility to pain occasioned by this horrible drug, which
nevertheless Bernard, in the work above quoted, says is in such common
use among physiologists, that when an experiment is not otherwise
described, it may always be "taken for granted it has been performed
on a curarized dog."

Finally, Dr. Pye-Smith says, "It was remarkable that the small residue
of experiments in which some amount of pain was necessary were chiefly
those in which the direct and immediate benefit to mankind was more
obvious. He referred to the trying of drugs on animals, to discovering
antidotes to poisons," etc. The bribe here offered to human
selfishness is an ingenious one. "Let us," the physiologists say,
"retain the right to put animals to torture, for it is very
'remarkable' that when we do so it is always in your interest!"
Unluckily for this appeal to the meaner feelings of human nature,
which these modern instructors of our young men are not ashamed to put
forward, it is difficult for them to hit on any one instance wherein
out of their "few" (million) experiments any good to mankind has been,
even apparently, achieved. As Claude Bernard honestly said, at least
as regards any benefit for suffering humanity, "_Nos mains sont
vides_." As to the trying of drugs on animals, Dr. Pritchard, who is,
I believe, the best living authority on the subject, told the Royal
Commission (Minutes, 908), "I do not think that the use of drugs on
animals can be taken as a guide to the doses or to the action of the
same drugs on the human subjects." As to the discovery of antidotes to
poison, the only man who seems on the verge of any success is the
brave and noble fellow who has been trying such experiments not on
animals but on himself.

In conclusion, I must add one word on Dr. Pye-Smith's last sentence,
namely, "that legislation against vivisection is injurious to the best
interests of the community." Sir, I know not what vivisectors deem to
be the best interests of the community. For my part I do not reckon
them to be the influence of drugs, nor yet susceptible of being carved
out with surgical instruments. I do not think that they consist in
escape from physical pain, nor even in the prolongation for a few
years of our little earthly life. I hold that the best interests of
the community are the moral and immortal interests of every soul in
such community, namely, the conquest of selfishness, cowardice, and
cruelty, and the development of the god-like sense of justice and
love--the growth of the divinest thing in human nature, the faculty of
sympathizing with the joys and sorrows of all God's creatures.
Believing these to be "the best interests of the community," I ask,
without hesitation, for the suppression of this abominable trade,
which can best be described as "Pitilessness practised as a
profession." If vivisection be indeed the true method of studying
physiology, if physiology cannot be advanced except by vivisection,
if chemical observation and microscopic research be useless for the
purpose, and nothing but the torture of animals and the demoralization
of men will suffice for its progress--then, in God's name, I say, let
physiology stop at the point it has reached, even till the day of
doom.--I am, Sir, with apologies for the length of this letter, yours,

                                         FRANCES POWER COBBE

       *       *       *       *       *

Certainly, as regards the ethics of vivisection, nothing more eloquent
has ever been written than this closing paragraph.

In a letter to the London TIMES in December, 1884, Miss Cobbe writes
as follows:


SIR,--In your article on this subject on Saturday last you called upon
the opponents of vivisection to answer certain questions. As I have
been intrusted for many years with the hon. secretaryship of the
leading anti-vivisectionist society, I beg to offer you the following
replies to those questions:--

You ask first, Do we "deny that vivisection is capable of yielding
knowledge of service to man?" We are not so rash as to deny that any
practice, even the most immoral conceivable, might possibly yield
knowledge of service to man; and, in particular, we do not deny that
the vivisection of human beings by the surgeons of classic times, and
again by the great anatomists of Italy in the 15th century, may very
possibly have yielded knowledge to man, and be capable, if revived, of
yielding still more. We have, however, for a long time back called on
the advocates of the vivisection of dogs, monkeys, &c., to furnish
evidence of the beneficial results of their work, not as setting at
rest the question of its morality, but as an indispensable preliminary
to justify them in coming into the court of public opinion as
defendants of a practice obviously (as the Royal Commissioners
reported) "liable from its very nature to great abuse."

We must be excused if we now hold it to be demonstrated that, whether
vivisection be or be not "capable of yielding useful knowledge," it
certainly yields only a scanty crop of it. Were there anything like an
abundant harvest, such a sample as this would not have been produced
with so much pomp for public scrutiny. In short, we think with Dr.
Leffingwell that, "if pain could be measured by money, there is no
mining company in the world which would sanction prospecting in such
barren regions."

You ask us, Sir, secondly, "Do we affirm that the benefit of mankind
is not an adequate or sufficient justification for the infliction of
pain on animals?" We have two answers to this question.

Assuming that by vivisection benefits might be obtained for human
bodies, we hold that the evil results of the practice on human minds
would more than counterbalance any such benefits. The cowardice and
pitilessness involved in tying down a dog on a table and slowly
mangling its brain, its eyes, its entrails; the sin committed against
love and fidelity themselves when a creature capable of dying of grief
on his master's grave is dealt with as a mere parcel of material
tissues, "valuable for purposes of research"--these are basenesses for
which no physical advantages would compensate, and the prevalence of
such a heart-hardening process among our young men would, we are
convinced, detract more from the moral interests of our nation than a
thousand cases of recovery from disease would serve those of a lower
kind. Even life itself ought not to be saved by such methods, any more
than by the cannibalism of the men of the "Mignonette."

Our second answer is yet more brief. We do not "deny that the benefit
of man is a sufficient justification for inflicting pain upon
animals," provided that pain is kept within moderate bounds, nor yet
to taking life from them in a quick and careful manner. But we do deny
the right of man to inflict torture upon brutes, and thus convert
their lives from a blessing into a curse. Such torture has been
inflicted upon tens of thousands of animals by vivisection; and no
legislation that ingenuity can devise will, we believe, suffice to
guard against the repetition of it so long as it is sanctioned in any
way as a method of research. The use of vivisection--if it have any
use--is practically inseparable from abuse. We therefore call upon our
countrymen to forego the poor bribes of possible use which are offered
to them, and of which we have now seen a "unique and impressive"
example, and generously and manfully to say of vivisection as they
once said of slavery "We will have none of it."

                        I am, Sir, yours, etc.,
                                        FRANCES POWER COBBE.

  Hengwrt, Dolgelly, Dec. 28, 1884.


[_Report of American Anti-vivisection Society, Jan. 1888._]

"There remain two grounds to adopt: one the total abolition of all
experiments; the other the total abolition of all _painful_
experiments. This latter position, which is the one that Dr. Bigelow
of Boston and Dr. Leffingwell have assumed, has engaged our attention
for a long time; but, after bestowing upon it careful consideration,
we feel that we must give it up as impracticable. To secure immunity
from pain there must be absolutely perfect anæsthesia. This can be
only obtained in two ways: one is by trusting to the experimenter
himself to give sufficient of the anæsthetic; the other to insist that
an assistant shall be present for the express purpose of keeping the
animal under perfect anæsthesia. Now is it anyway likely that either
of these conditions would be observed?"


[_From the "Therapeutic Gazette," Detroit, Aug., 1880._]

"Vivisection is grossly abused in the United States. * * We would add
our condemnation of the ruthless barbarity which is every winter
perpetrated in the Medical Schools of this country. History records
some frightful atrocities perpetrated in the name of Religion; but it
has remained for the enlightenment and humaneness of this century to
stultify themselves by tolerating the abuses of the average
physiological laboratory--all conducted in the name of Science. There
is only one way to progress in Therapeutics; and that is by clinical
observation; the noting of the action of individual drugs under
particular diseased conditions. He who has the largest practice and is
the keenest observer, and the most systematic recorder of what he
sees, does the most to advance Medicine."


[_From editorial in "The Spectator," London, July 17, 1880._]

"A memorial for the absolute abolition of vivisection has been
presented to Mr. Gladstone with a great many most influential
signatures attached. For our own part, were the experiments on the
inoculation of animal diseases excepted,--experiments which, we
venture to say, have sometimes proved of the greatest value to animals
themselves,--we should, on the whole, be content to go with the
abolitionists, not because we think all experiments, especially when
conducted under strict anæsthetics, wrong, but because when they are
permitted at all it is so extremely difficult to enforce properly and
fully humane conditions. Dr. A. Leffingwell has sufficiently shown in
the able paper in the July _Scribner's Magazine_, how extremely few
remedies of value have resulted from this awfully costly expenditure
of anguish. 'If pain could be estimated in money' he justly says,
'no corporation would be satisfied with such a waste of capital.'
Take, as the single illustration of this most weighty sentence,
Dr. Leffingwell's statement that what the late Dr. Sharpey called
'Magendie's infamous experiment' on the stomach of the dog, has
been repeated 200 times without establishing to the satisfaction of
scientific physiologists the theory for which that act of wickedness
was first committed. No wonder the society for the Protection of
Animals from Vivisection goes to extremes."


1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Footnotes have been moved from the middle of a paragraph to the
closest paragraph break.

3. Some obvious punctuation errors in the text have been silently
corrected, for example, missing period at a paragraph end, etc.

4. The following misprints have been corrected:
     "sufering" corrected to "suffering" (page 14)
     "anæthetics" corrected to "anæsthetics" (page 48)

5. Other than the corrections listed above, printer's inconsistencies
in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained.

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