31 AUGUST 1878, Page 3

The Society for the Protection of Animals Liable to Vivisection

bag altered its basis, and its Committee have determined to appeal to public opinion "in favour of the total prohibition of Vivisec- tion." The way in which this change of basis is justified, is by stating that the rapid extension given daring the last year by the Home Secretary to his own permissive powers under the Act re- straining Vivisection, the increase in the number of licences of all sorts, the grant of six licences for experiments on the higher animals, and the licensing of three courses of experiments in which curare,—the drug which prevents all expression of pain, without acting as an antesthetic,—is used, has convinced the Committee that the policy of reasonable restriction is a hopeless one. We confess we cannot agree. Unquestionably Mr. Cross should be called to account for his use of his discretion ; and we do not believe that the new licence of experiments under curare in the Edinburgh physiological laboratory, the very place where 36 dogs (not 19, as the Society mistakenly put the figure) were tortured for eight hours each, before the Act was passed, could possibly have been justified or excused. But because the Act has been improperly worked, we do not see why the Society should attempt to prohibit for the future all such useful and even desirable experiments as those on inocu- lation, which may be made the means of saving animals as well as men from a vast amount of suffering. We suppose they would say that they can only stop the abuse by asking for more than they would really take,—and that it is for the Legislature to make terms, and for such a Society as theirs only to indicate roughly and popularly the direction of the re- strictions needed ; and in this view of their procedure it may be possible to give them a general support, without approving or con- curring in their new principle. But we can never see without regret that a certain exaggeration of what is just and reasonable in the popular feeling, seems to be needful, before sufficient sup- port can be secured even for so much in it as is just and reasonable.