18 JULY 1874, Page 3

We were much and bitterly blamed by the Medical Press

for expressing our belief that the assertions of Professor Schiff, of Florence, and his assistant, M. Herzen, that their vivisections are Always performed under chloroform and without pain to the sub- jects of them, must be accepted with the kind of qualification one would always apply to ex parte statements on a subject on which there is vast room for mere conjecture, and on which conjecture is always sure to go in the direction which the speakers dire. But if a positive statement we have received from the Florence Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and signed by one of its inspectors, Signor Pontomari, is to be trusted, a still greater qualification must be put on the statements of Professor Schiff and his assistant. Signor Pcmtomari asserts that on an un- expected visit to Professor Schiff's laboratory-, he and his friends found a considerable number of living dogs with open wounds in their gullets. "Our attention," says Signor Pontomari, after describing one such case, "was then attracted to other dogs, whereof the greater number had wide, open wounds under their throats. On our asking the object of this barbarous practice, the Professor confessed that the incisions were made by him to prevent the animals from howling and disturbing the neighbour- hood." This is apparently the alight preliminary vivisection which prepares the Professor's subjects for their later experiences. It is hardly contended, we presume, that the dogs are kept under chloroform from the beginning of the first to the end of this later and severer dispensation. Indeed, we are convinced that the vivisector's standard of pain for the inferior animals is lel ereeed- ingly subjective and elastic thing, which is very accommodating to such considerations as the expediency of achieving particular results. If Signor Pontomari's statement can be discredited, Pro- fessor Schiff and M. Herren should take the proper steps at once.