18 MAY 1912, Page 18


VIVISECTION: A PLAIN ISSUE.* ie good for every man that he should face the question of what is rather prejudicially called vivisection and make up his mind one way or the other. Is he or is he not in favour of allowing experiments under careful and humane restrictions to be made on living animals in order that medical science should be advanced, or at all events—not to prejudge the matter—in ordet: 'that advancement should be aimed at ? It is a question which affects not only science but ethics and the whole of life. No man can be complimented on his courage who ignores the question merely because he dis- likes the &Heat° problem of determining what may be called his social relation to the brute world, or because lie dales not Want- the trouble of investigating the evidence on which modern medical science is founded and asks to be ,justified. If he can bring himself to the test of the "social" caieetion the diffichlty of investigating the evidence need not trouble him much. The evidence was recently laid before us all by the Royal 'Commission on Vivisection, and in Mr. Stephen Pryget's book there is another opportunity of reading the essentials a the case in a still more concise and digestible form.

Mr. Stephen Paget, wrote this book at the request of the Research Defence Society. It may be said that it is therefore an experts Statement. But the beauty of the book is that it sammarizeS, the opinions of those who support vivisection and those who condemn it in their own language. If Mr. Paget has misquoted 'or" Misrepresented any one it will be open to that person to expose Mr. Paget. We judge from this book and from Whit we know Of"Mr. Paget that he is too able and too fair for such a thing to be possible. This book appears to us to proyide materials on which no one need hesitate to come to a eOnclusion.'"Let 'all who have delayed in making up their minds read it, and we shall be astonished if one person in ten thousand conies to an honest decision against what is called vivisection.. The case for the defence is really overwhelming, and it has: become increasingly so as the years have passed, amid the -benefidial , results of experiments on animals, not only to human beings but to 'the 'animal world, have beecextei mere plain 'and more numerous. Between the Report of the' Royal Cdarinissiona,published in 1875 ;and that of the recent Royal Commission-published this year the 0.wpi3oa4t ,easo: :for vivisection has, changed. wonderfully: Wisaventaaeaikpa say. , that many. .pepple v4p,, doilbted , the ejastiflaibilitY atafiaexperiments .on,' animals' thirty-five years '.,ago, would:now fulliaadmit thattheir;objeotions can no, longer abe.an.aitztainecb )114hat'. Mr.' Paget tails the "Thirty .Years' i'o'r vita oil: befic-th Roy' Lentisaiou owrivigeobidni., Si4hen:Pag:4ti; 1.,B;GIL'i•Wita air Iht:oductios the Bight Hon. the Ear of Cromer, 0.M., G.C.M.G., G.C.B. Loudon 1.121.C. Lewis. Os. Od. net.„1 War " against disease 'between the appointment of the two Commissions has been a continuous record of conquest with the help of experiments on living animals.

We all understand, and let us hope we all respect, the humane point of view, No decent person tolerates the thought of purposeless suffering inflicted in the name of science on animals,. particularly • on the domestic animals. Any man. can appreciate the odiousness of inflicting purposeless suffer- ing if he thinks of his own dog—this " little friend," in Matthew Arnold's phrase—given over to the operating-table of some callous 'stranger. This is' a. picture easily conjured.up in the imagination, and anti-vivisectionists, knowing this well, do not scruple to make an appeal to the dog-loving public by the assertion that purposeless suffering is inflicted. The Report of the recent Royal Commission proves, however, by evidence that would.be instantly accepted as valid in any court of law —the case indeed in a law court would never be allowed to go to the jury—that no experimental operations are performed on animals' which are not completely under anaesthetics. Pain on the operating-table does not exist. - The pictures displayed at railway .stations and elsewhere of dogs . appealing to their tormentors with a more than human expression in their eyes ; the morbid exhibition of the surgical apparatus of a vivisec- tionist and of a stuffed dog pinioned for an operation in a shop window in Piccadilly—these are all unscrupulous appeals. With almost as much decency and truth could one have a tableau of a human being. undergoing an operation in order to prove that mankind suffers from man.

But if there is no pain on the operating-table for animals any more than for men there remains of course the convalescence of • animals which are ; not killed under anaesthetics but are allowed to recover. Their wounds, which receive proper antiseptic treatment, cause at the worst just as much suffering as human beings endure from the healing of clean wounds after' an operation. The pain under modern methods is insignificant. We can respect, though we cannot accept, the point of view of those who say no man has a right to dispose of the life or well-being of any animal. We • think the principle preposterously illogical unless these people also refuse to kill animals either for food or in order to keep the animal world within batnids. If animals were not killed and were allowed to breed freely they would soon overrun the land and arrive at a state of fierce famine and unceasing massacre among them- selves. The. point of view which we can neither accept nor respect is that of the anti-vivisectionists who do consent to the killing of animals for certain obvious and necessary reasons, but attempt to. discredit experiments on animals by 'charges of cruelty which they cannot sub- stantiate and by medical, arguments which break down hope- lessly before a .competent board. Yet such arguments are still used to enlist public sympathy on a' false issue, We have never read evidence before .a Commission in which the voice of authority and knowledge was so ludicrously on one side as in the Report of last March: As Mr. Paget says, the Commissioners. might well have drawn attention to this fact ; but at all events it is sufficiently obvious in this book. The twelve charges brought against the Home Office by Mr. Stephen Coleridge, apparently-. modelled on the famous " Jaaccuse" of ; Zola,. simply fall to the ground for want pr proof.

What strikes us 'chiefly in anti-vivisectionists is their amazing lack of proportion. , In . sport, in -the marketing of animals for food, in the ordinary amateur operations by farmers on animals, and so forth, there is unquestionably great and avoidable suffering about which they do not think it worth, while to, say anything in particular. They prefer to. fasten .their attention upon the one form of animal suffering — mostly insignificant suffering which is, fruitful, and• of which the sum total fades into ;nothingness beside the sum total of benefit to men ,.and ; animals alike. There' is nothing to be"said of the mind 'that can Call Lister a "brute "-aLister who, perhaps, brought more alleviation, to the pains.of humanity than any man who over lived—except thathe is capable de tout. It is: very pretty to say that Nature supplies in herbs all the•balms and drugs that are necessary for human ills, and that clinical experiette • will ahow Sufficiently hOW' they might to be applied. The simple,faet is,that in struggling to cure the diseases which she -creates Nature,besself 'does not work in this way. Hei

process is not the culling of soothing and agreeable herbs, but. the , overcoming of a state of civil war inside an afflicted body by agents which are already there. In this civil war a revolutionary microbe tries to strangle and cast out the benefieent and constitutional microbe. What medical science bas recently, learned to do, almost entirely by vivisection, is to intervene. ,directly in that internal struggle by using the weapons which Nature is using, and thus, as the ally of Naturo,, to throw its weight on the side of law and order. Anti-vivisectionists are never tired of saying that a cure for concert has not yet been discovered by means of experiments on animals. That is true ; but it is not a good reason for ceasing to try to discover a cure which if it comes at all will almost certainly come through such experiments. Think of what has already been accomplished by the application of Pasteur's principles. Malaria, Mediterranean

fever, yellow fever, plague in India, sleeping-sickness, diphtheria, are only some of the diseases which used to claim their thousands of victims every year and are now being brought under strict subjection where they have not been utterly abolished. But where do. the anitnals,come in P These are not animals diseases. No ; but the animals have also gained enormously. There is scarcely a bacterial or parasitic disease in whMh, an animal has not now an immeasurably better chance than formerly of being cured or made immune from the disease. The diagnosis of glanders, anthrax,. tuberculosis, swine fever, and swine, erysipelas has been made much easier through inoculation experiments. Inoculation saves millions, of cattle from rinderpeat. Pleuro-pneumonia has been stamped out in Great Britain and is disappearing in South Africa. Tetanus is no longer the terror it used to be. In former days an animal with a,slight wound in the under part of its body, could. not it upon tetanus-infected ground without the certainty of taking the disease. The death-rate from blackquarter is being continually reduced. It is unnecessary to go on, with such lists, of reduced. suffering. Let us repeat that there is no longer any reason why every humane and rational man who studies his con- science should not make up his mind on this question. The "Thirty Years' War" has now supplied more than enough data for the purpose. The example of Lord Cromer, who wrote the simple and clear Introduction to this book, is a fine one. He was asked to become President of the Research Defence Society, and before ho accepted the invitation hawent into the whole question of experiments on animals.. His hatred of cruelty to animals and his intervention in the interests of animals in Egypt are well known. He had therefore to decide whether conspicuous.publio connexion with the Society would do harm. Front that point of view—for he was under no, sort of obliga-

tion to accept the presidency—he entered the inquiry with air open mind. The courageous and definite conclusion at which lie arrived does honour to one whose occupation in life has been honestly and impartially to balance rights and wrongs in policy and to take decisions which affect the welfare of millions.