An Ethical Problem - Or, Sidelights upon Scientific Experimentation on Man and Animals
by Albert Leffingwell
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The defence of all hospital experimentation upon children and adults, other than procedures for their own benefit, is usually grounded upon (1) the absence of any severe injury, and (2) the value of the results obtained. The defenders of the Noguchi experiments insist that the disease was not transmitted; that there was no severe pain or permanent injury; and that the inoclation with dead germs of syphilis could not have caused an infection with the dread disease. This is probably true; although the excuse of painlessness cannot be fairly put forward regarding the tuberculin experiments upon the eye. But should we overlook the fact that these tests, at first were purely experimental in character? No absolute assurance of results could have been declared in advance; if certainty existed beforehand, what would be the use of experimenting upon so many human beings? Are experiments upon man only reprehensible when injury follows? Do we apply this rule to the engineer of a passenger-train, who again and again runs by a danger-signal, and yet escapes a tragedy?

The utility of experimentation is urged. Only by experiments upon human beings, it is said, could the value of either the tuberculin test or the Noguchi emulsion be definitely determined. But surely every thinking man must realize that utility cannot exculpate, or justify the use of any method which is otherwise wrong in itself. A murder is not regarded as pardonable, because thereby the interests of religion are advanced. Dr. Noguchi for instance, admits that although it is almost certain that the germs which Schaudinn discovered and which he has isolated and grown outside the human body, are the cause of specific disease, yet scientific certainty can only be acquired by producing the ailment from the artificially cultivated germs. He says:

"While there are few, to-day, who would deny that the Treponema pallidum is the causitive agent of syphilis, YET THE FINAL PROOF CAN ONLY BE BROUGHT FORTH THROUGH THE REPRODUCTION OF SYPHILITIC LESIONS BY MEANS OF PURE CULTURES OF THE MICRO-ORGANISM."[1]

[1] "Studies of the Rockefeller Institute," vol. xiv., p. 100.

A scientific experiment upon a human being of greater interest than this it is hardly possible to imagine. With germs invisible to the naked eye, grown in a flask, will some future experimenter be able to produce in a human being all the terrible symptoms of this worst scourge of the human race? That the experiment will be tried, there can be no doubt; experiments involving the inoculation of the same horrible disease, have been made both in America and in Europe. But does anyone think that the utility of this suggested experiment of Dr. Noguchi would justify its being made upon an unsuspicious patient in a charity hospital? Would it be likely to meet general approbation, even in our day, if it were performed upon an infant in a Babies' Hospital? And yet why should it be criticized, if utility to science is a sufficient excuse?

It is a significant fact, that every writer who attempts to defend or to excuse the experiments here described and others of the same type, always evades the principal reason for their condemnation. The condemnation of what may be called "human vivisection" rests chiefly upon its incurable injustice.

ALL SUCH EXPERIMENTS VIOLATE ONE OF THE MOST SACRED OF HUMAN RIGHTS. Every man, not a criminal, has the inherent right to the inviolability of his own body, except for his own personal benefit. Apply this to the experiments herein described.

THEY IMPLY A SUPPRESION OF THE TRUTH. Is it probably that any mother, bringing to a hospital her ailing child, would leave it there without apprehension if she were distinctly informed that when it had partly recovered, it would be used for experimentation relating to a test for syphilis?

THEY IMPLY A PHASE OF DECEPTION, so far as a formal "consent" is ever obtained without a full and complete statemnet of possible dangers. Can we imagine Mary Rafferty to have consented to Bartholow's experiments upon her brain, if, in full possession of her intellectual faculties, she had known—as he knew,—what risks they involved? It is the performance of experiments upon dying children, upon infants for no urpose of individual benefit, upon men and women all unconscious of the character of the investigation; the imposition upon the ignorant and confiding of unknown risks; the utilization for experimentation under cover of treatment for their ailments, of the poor, the feeble- minded, the unfortunate, without their full, intelligent and adequate consent, that makes the practice abhorrent to every conception of morality, and every ideal of honour.

How such experiments are coming to be regarded, we may see in a recent article from the pen of Dr. Francis H. Rowley, president of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

"The use of children in hospitals, or anywhere else, as material for experimentation is not to be tolerated for a moment, in our judgment, by any right-minded man or woman. Whatever is conscientiously done for the benefit of the child itself, to save it from disease or to lessen its suffering, though it may cause it temporarily more or less pain, is nothing against which objection should be made. But to use the child, even when no permanent harm may result to it, as a subject upon which to try out certain theories, or to test the efficacy of certain drugs, so long as this is not absolutely for the good of the individual child treated rather than for children in general, is abhorrent to the most of us. To cause a helpless baby one hour's distress, to say nothing of suffering, for the sake even of other children, when that baby has been brought to the hospital by its parents or guardians solely for what may be done for its benefit, we hold to be a breach of trust on the part of hospital authorities and physicians that hasn't the slightest defence either in morals or in law.

"We write these words not because we believe that any physician is so far fallen below the lowest levels of our common humanity as to inject into a defenceless child the active germs of a loathsome or possibly fatal disease, but because our moral sense is outraged at any treatment of the child such as we should refuse to permit were the child our own. We believe he universal assertial of parents would be that, if having taken their child to a hospital for tratment, they learned that it had beenused for experimentation, though no lasting harm could come to it from the experiment, someone would pay the penalty for the unwarranted deed, if money or influence or, these failing, muscle, could reach far enough to find the offender."

Does such condemnation of experimentation upon the hospital patient or children tend to block scientific advance? Not at all. A recent writer tells us that "once it is evident that man himself must be the experimental animal, the scientist volunteer is always ready." If this be so, why should not the human "material" be acquired always in a way to which the charge of unjust procedure would never be applicable? If assurance could have been given that the luetin test implied no risk of any kind, might not the Rockefeller Institute have secured any number of volunteers by the offer of a gratuity of twenty or thirty dollars as a compensation for any discomfort that might be endured? Of the thousands of medical students in the State of New York, are there not hundreds who would have offered with eagerness to submit to a test devoid of peril, in the interests of scientific research? And even if an experiment implied danger, might there not be sufficient compensation for all risks? Every year firemen lose their lives in the flames, and policemen are murdered. The compensation they receive induces them to incur risks that might not otherwise be assumed. A great theologian is said to have affirmed that a man, perishing from starvation, had the moral right to take a loaf of bread that did not belong to him, if only thus he could preserve his life. Is Science ever in such straits of necessity that in a single instance it is obliged to take from any man his supreme right of inviolability, and to make its experiments within the wards of the hospital, upon the eyes of the dying, upon the bodies of the ignorant and the poor?

There is yet another method by which perhaps we may test the morality of the practice. A great philosopher of another century seeking to find some criterion of man's duty toward his fellow-men, based obligation upon a universal law. "Act," said Kant, "as if the motive of thy conduct were to become by thy will a universal law." Suppose we apply this maxim of Kant to the use of human beings for research purposes. An experimenter in a hospital makes dying children his material. Is he willing that the maxim of his act should be universal, and apply to experiments upon his own child, when it lies at the point of death? He plunges needle-electrodes into the brain of a simple-minded and perhaps friendless servant-girl. Can we imagine him willing that the motive of his deed should govern and justify experiments of the same kind made upon his mother or his wife? Following Ringer, he tests the actions of poisons upon patients in some hospital under his control. Would he be willing that the law be universal, and that the action of such drugs should first be tested upon himself? He suggests the use of healthy children as "controls" in tests with the dead germs of a horrible disease. Is there anyone connected with the Rockefeller Institute, for example, who would be willing that such act should establish a universal precedent, and that his own children should be taken, and without his knowledge, made the "material" for such research?

Admitting that some experiments upon human being may be ethically permissible, and that other phases of such investigations are morally wrong, how are we to distinguish between them? May it not be possible to indicate principles which would be generally accepted, according to which the line may be drawn? Let us make the attempt.

I. Justifiable Experimentation upon Man

1. All experiments made by intelligent and conscientious physicians or surgeons upon their patients for some definite purpose pertaining to the personal benefit of the patient himself, and when practicable, in case of risk, with his or her consent. (This rule is intended to include every possible experiment made by a medical practitioner for the benefit of the patient, with a distinct ameliorative purpose in view.)

2. All experiments made with an intelligent purpose by a scientific man or medical practitioner upon himself.

3. All experiments made with their consent upon physicians, surgeons, pathologists, medical students or other scientific men, who, aware of the nature of the investigation and of possible results, voluntarily offer themselves as "material."

4. All experiments made upon men or women of ordinary intelligence who, having been fully informed of the nature of the investigation and of whatever distressing or dangerous consequences are obviously liable to result, acknowledge the receipt of satisfactory compensation for all risks, and give in writing their full and free consent.

5. All psychological experiments or tests which involve neither fear, fright, nor mental distress of any kind.

II. Unjustifiable Experimentation upon Human Beings.

Experiments upon human beings which would seem to be immoral, because obviously a violation of human rights, are as follows:


2. The use of new-born babes as material for research; the use as material for research of any other defenceless children, in orphanages, asylums, or in their own homes, for any purpose whatever other than the direct personal benefit of the child upon whom the experiment is made. Especially objectionable would seem to be experiments of this character made in connection with the study of syphilis, whether or not any obvious injury is the result.

3. All experiments liable to cause discomfort or distress, made without purpose of definite individual benefit upon the insane, the feeble-minded, the aged and infirm or upon other unfortunate human beings, who, for any reason, are incapable of giving an intelligent consent or of adequately comprehending what is done to them.

4. All experiments of any kin, upon other adults, whether patients or inmates of public institutions or otherwise, if made without direct ameliorative purpose and the intelligent personal consent of the person who is the MATERIAL for the research.

5. The experimental exploitation without their free consent, of men, temporarily under command or control of an authority which they have been led to suppose they are not at liberty legally to disobey.

Let us repeat. THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO EXPERIMENTS UPON HUMAN BEINGS, WHEN THERE IS NO INVASION OF HUMAN RIGHTS. The medical student, who, out of zeal for Science, offers his body for any experimental test; the patient in the hosptial, who with adeuqate compensation for what he is asked to undergo, grants consent to some investigation which may help others, though not himself; the poor man who is satisfactorily compensated for all risks, and therefore willing to aid research,—such varieties of human experimentation do not necessarily offend the moral sense. It is the incurable injustice of experimentation upon infancy that can offer no protest but a cry; of experimentation upon the dying child, of experimentation upon the poor, the ignorant, the feeble-minded, the defenceless,—it is experimentation like this which surely deserves the condemnation of mankind.

What is the remedy for human vivisection? It lies in such legislation as shall protect those who, because of infancy, or by reason of ignorance cannot effectively protect themselves. By penalties so heavy that they cannot be safely ignored, the State must forbid the iniquitous exploitation of man by man. No such law need interfere in the slightest degree with the rights of the true physician to aid his fellow-beings; nor can we doubt that the medical profession will finally favour a reform that will indicate the broad line of demarcation separating the unquestioned privilege from the unjustifiable abuse.



In the preceding pages, the attempt has been made to throw light here and there, upon a great and perplexing problem. It has been seen that concerning the past history of experimentation upon living beings, much ignorance still exists; that too implicit and unquestioning trust in the statements of those favourable to unlimited experimentation has, unfortunately, not always conduced to the attainment of truth; that misstatements tinged with inaccuracy have too frequently found acceptance; and that growing out of the unrestricted use of animals in scientific inquiry, the extension of the method, by the use of human material, in certain hospitals has become an accepted procedure.

It is, indeed, an ethical problem, that confronts society, to-day. It would be no less a problem, if every claim of utility made in behalf of human and animal experimentation were proven beyond the possibility of a doubt. Even then, the ethical question would persist. The ultimate decision regarding it remains the personal duty of every man.

Attention has been called, in the preceding pages, to many statements, which a close examination would seem to prove to be misleading and inaccurate. But every discerning reader should recognize that inaccuracy or untruth does not imply the moral obliquity that pertains to intentional falsehood. An experimenter, for example, makes an assertion regarding the absolute painlessness of his vivisections. Such statement may be demonstrated, let us say, to be exceedingly doubtful, if not quite untrue. That is as far as legitimate criticism can easily go. It is quite impossible to demonstrate a conscious intent to deceive. To interpret motives, to impute falsehood is to go beyond facts into regions where facts are not to be found, except in exceedingly exceptional cases. One of thet Royal Commissioners expressed this position very clearly. "While I feel bound," wrote Dr. George Wilson, "to accept the assurances of all the expert witnesses who appeared before us, as assurances of their honest conviction that vivisectional or cutting experiments can be, and are carried out without the infliction of pain from the moment the first wound is made, ... I can only accept them AS OPINIONS, to which the greatest weight should be attached, AND NOT AS STATEMENTS OF ABSOLUTE FACT so far as specific instances are concerned." This is exactly the attitude for any critic of vivisection to take. A distinguished physician, testifying before the Commissioners, declared that it was entirely possible to keep a dog in a state of anaesthesia for a week, if necessary. Experimentation in this direction, in all probability would prove the assertion to be untrue, but although such demonstration would be proof of inaccuracy and carelessness, it could not justify, in any way, the charge of dishonourable motives. In no instance, therefore, in the illustrations of inaccuracy given in the preceding pages, is there any imputation of perverse and intentional inveracity.

I have made sufficiently clear, I hope, my disagreement with the views of the extreme antivivisection party concerning all phases of biological experimentation. The weakest point in the antivivisection position has always seemed to me the condemnation of every kind of experimentation on animals, however painless. Yet how is it possible to expect public agreement with this position in every case? A few weeks ago, it was announced in the public press, that in one of the departments of Columbia University in New York, a series of experiments were being made to determine, if possible, the comparative food value of two articles in general use. If, for instance, a certain number of mice were fed from day to day upon pure butter, and an equal number upon the artificial product known as "oleo-margarine," would there be any perceptible difference in growth and general condition, and, if so, in favour of which group? This is an experiment upon animals; but it is one against which it would be difficult to bring forward any objection which the general public would very eagerly endorse. Distinctions must be made, between that which is cruel and that which is humane. "AGAINST PERFECTLY PAINLESS EXPERIMENT," said Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, "carried out for purely experimental and great objects by men who themselves regret the necessity or expediency, and who only act under a strict sense of duty, no reasonable mind can raise an objection."

On the other hand, let me reiterate acknowledgment of the vast indebtedness which the cause of humaneness owes to the opponents of all vivisection. Always and everywhere, the extremist helps in the progress of reform. But for a few hated and despised abolitionists, negro slavery might still be a recognized American institution; it was not Henry Clay or Daniel Webster who did most to hasten its downfall. That antivivisectionists have made mistakes, perhaps their most ardent advocate would be willing to concede. On the other hand, how great has been their service! But for extremists such as Frances Power Cobb of England and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps-Ward of America and a host of others whose hearts were aflame with indignation at cruelty and at the seeming duplicity which denied its existence, the whole question would have sunk into the abeyance in which in France or Germany, it to-day exists. They kept it alive. And what have not the antivivisectionists suffered by detraction, by ridicule, by misrepresentation and personal abuse! The most eloquent woman to whom I have ever listened, English only by adoption, faced without flinching some of the most skilled vivisectors and controversialists of Great Britain, who endeavoured in vain to weaken the force of her testimony; and the examination of Miss Lind-ap-Hageby by certain of the vivisecting members of the Royal Commission seems to me a more brilliant instance of the presentation of ideals under adverse circumstances than is afforded by any similar examination of man or woman in modern times. Personal disagreement with universal condemnation of all vital experimentation has been sufficiently stated; but one view of the antivivisectionists applies equally to the prohibition of painful experiments. "I believe," said Miss Lind, "that the abolution of vivisection will be accompanied by great changes and great developments in the whole science of medicine; that new methods of healing will come in, and higher methods, as we know that the coarser medication and the coarser drugging are going out of fashion."[1] The same view was expressed by Dr. Kenealy, another witness, regarding the prohibition of all animal experimentation. "I think it would give the finest possible impulse to medical science; that we are surrounded by all these problems of disease and degeneration and suffering in human kind; and that if we were to devote our attention to man, and to all the valuable human material surrounding us, instead of wasting valuable time and talent on dogs and guinea-pigs, we should make rapid and immense advance in the relief of human suffering."[2] Somewhat the same sentiment has been expressed by others not opposed to animal experimentation. "It may be admitted," said Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, whose scientific zeal, no one can question, "that whether painful experimentation be useful or useless, it has had one indifferent effect; it has diverted the minds of men too strongly from methods of research that not only lie open to the curious mind, but which lie temptingly open." And speaking of medical treatment for disease, he says: "Treatment at this time is a perfect Babel.... Two men scarcely ever write the same prescription for the same disease or the same symptom. I have watched the art of prescribing for fifty years, and I am quite sure that divergence of treatment is at this moment far greater than it ever was in the course of that long period. The multiplication of remedies, begotten of experiment, is the chief reason of so much disagreement... ... The modern student has before him a new duty. The experiment of experiment that lies before him therapeutically, is to learn what diseases will recover by mere attention to external conditions without any medicines, and what will not."[3]

[1] Evidence before Royal Commission, Q. 7,627 [2] Ibid., Q. 6,776 [3] "Biological Experimentation," by Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, F.R.S. Pp. 73, 109.

The unpleasant accompaniment of all criticism is misunderstanding. A protest, a remonstrance of any kind can gain a hearing only after it has been repeated again and again, and even then it is quite as liable as otherwise to be wholly misconstrued. It has been with very great regret that for many years, I have found myself in disagreement with so large a number of medical writers, who have left behind them the conservatism of earlier opinions in the English-speaking world, to follow the newer lights of Continental freedom and irresponsibility. The regret is the more poignant, because, speaking from the vantage of seventy years, I believe that the highest realization of human hopes for the welfare of our race, must come through medical science. It is, however, to preventive medicine that the world must learn to look, not to the conquest of disease by new drugs or new serums. There are ailments, which every year in England and America are responsible for thousands of preventable deaths. That fifty years hence, these scourges of humanity will be curable by the administration of any remedy, to be hereafter discovered by experimentation on animals,—in the Rockefeller Institute, for instance,—I have not the slightest faith. It is not through the torment of living creatures, not through the limitless sacrifice of laboratory victims, not through the utilization of babes as "material" for research, that medical science will yet achieve for humanity its greatest boon,—the prevention of disease. I venture with confidence, to make that forecast of the future, leaving recognition of its truth to those who shall come after us, when all now living shall have passed away.






By a curious coincidence, two books relating to vivisection were published in America at almost the same time. One, under the above title, was a collection of essays and contributions to various periodicals from the pen of Dr. William W. Keen, which have appeared during the past thirty years. The other was the first edition of the present work.

The volume to which the reader's attention is called is chiefly an exposition of the author's views on the scientific value of biological experimentation. With some of his conclusions, there will be little or no dispute among members of the medical profession. But in defending the moethods of physiological experiment, has he been scrupulously accurate and uniformly fair? Is there to be discerned any tendency to exaggeration, to over-statement or to suppression of vital facts? Eager as he is to charge inaccuracy upon others, has he been always accurate himself? Has any authority cited been "garbled," so that quotation conveys an impression inconsistent with the general tenor of a writer's views? What cruelties of past experimentation has this author emphatically condemned? What experimenters upon human kind has he held up to the reprobation of the public? In the entire volume, can one find a single instance wherein a cruel experiment has been censured, or a cruel experimenter been condemned by name? Except in a volume, it would be impossible to indicate all points to which attention should be given; it must suffice here, to direct attention only to a few.


A personal criticism of the writer by Dr. Keen makes necessary a record of the facts. Referring to a certain experiment of a German vivisector, Goltz, Dr. Keen says:

"In 1901 Professor Bowditch called Dr. Leffingwell's attention to the fact that no such operation was ever done. In Dr. Leffingwell's collected essays, entitled "The Vivisection Question," on p. 169 of the second revised edition (1907), there is, in a footnote a correction admitting that no such operation was ever done(!), but on p. 67 of the same edition, A DESCRIPTION OF THIS SAME OPERATION still remains uncorrected, six years after Bowditch's letter had been received and the misstatement acknowledged."[1]

[1] Keen's "Animal Experimentation," p. 271.

Truth and untruth are sadly intermingled in this paragraph. Let us attempt to disentangle them.

On March 7, 1901, while the collection of essays, known as "The Vivisection Question" was in the printer's hands and on the eve of publication, a note was received from Professor Bowditch of Harvard Medical School, courteously asking the authority for one particular procedure in the long account of the Goltz experiment—the ablation of the breast. In reply to Professor Bowditch, the name of Dr. Edward Berdoe of London was given as the authority upon which the author of "The Vivisection Question" had confidently relied. A letter was at once sent to Dr. Berdoe—a well-known English physician—telling him that one procedure mentioned in the description of the Goltz experiment had been questioned, and asking him for an immediate and careful study of the case. Dr. Berdoe's investigation made it evident that a mistake had been made by the translator upon whose accuracy he had relied; and in the next edition of "The Vivisection Question" at p. 169—(the only page to which Dr. Bowditch had invited attention)— an acknowledgment was inserted. That it had even the briefest reference elsewhere, was not recalled by the author of the book, for he had not seen it for years.

Nor was this all. To the London Zoophilist and to the Journal of Zoophily in this country, a communication was at once sent. In the latter periodical, the following letter appeared in its issue for July, 1901:

To the Editor of the Journal of Zoophily

MADAM,—A German vivisector, Dr. Goltz of Strasburg, reporting certain experiments he had made upon a dog, declared that it was "marvellous and astonishing" to find maternal instinct manifested after various severe mutilations. One of these operations was reported to have been excision of the breasts, so that it could no longer nurse its young, and to this phase of the experiment I have referred in some of my writings.

Recently, Dr. Bowditch of Harvard University has called my attention to this particular mutlation, questioning its occurrence; and on referring the matter ot Dr. Berdoe of London, who was my authority, he finds, after a most painstaking and careful examination at the College of Surgeons, that a mistake in comprehending a phrase was actually made by the translator, upon whose accuracy and acquaintance with the German language dependence seemed secure.

All the details of this Goltz experiment are too horrible to quote; this is not a case where a single experiment has been magnified into a great cruelty; the truth itself is bad enough.[1] It is a fact, however, that one particular mutilation ascribed to Goltz—the ablation of the breasts—did not in this instance occur.

It has always seemed to me of the utmost importance that in all criticism of vivisection our facts should be absolutely reliable, and that whenever inaccuracies occur, they should be corrected. All that we want is the truth, without concealment of abuse on the one hand, or misstatement on the other. In this case, I am especially glad to make correction. For many years I have been acquainted with the writings of Dr. Berdoe, and I have never found therein the slightest overstatement or exaggeration of any kind. In the twenty-one years I have written in advocacy of some measure of reform in regard to vivisection, this, too, IS THE FIRST INSTANCE IN WHICH AN INACCURACY OF ANY STATEMENT OF MINE REGARDING ANY EXPERIMENT HAS BEEN POINTED OUT. ALBERT LEFFINGWELL.

BROOKLYN, May 31, 1901.

[1] No advocate of unrestricted experimentation, so far as known, has ever dared to print the full details of this Goltz experiment.

In the only essay to which Professor Bowditch has called attention, the statement had been corrected; the fact that an allusion of five or six words in an earlier essay gave an erroneous suggestion, was quite overlooked. But Dr. Keen will have it that there was a "REVISED" edition, and that in this "A DESCRIPTION OF THIS SAME OPERATION" was given.

There are here two misstatements. There is not the slightest reason for calling it a "revised" edition. Was there a "description given"? Let us quote the entire passage, written nearly a quarter of a century ago, in order to see what Dr. Keen ventured to call a "description of this same operation."

"We are almost at the beginning of the twentieth century. Civilization is about to enter a new era, with new problems to solve, new dangers to confront, new hopes to realize. It is useless to deny the increasing ascendancy of that spirit, which in regard to the problems of the Universe, affirms nothing, denies nothing, but continues its search for solution; it is equally useless to shut our eyes to the influence of this spirit upon those beliefs which for many ages have anchored human conduct to ethical ideals. Regret would be futile; and here, perhaps is no occasion for regret. To the new spirit, which perhaps is to dominate the future, this longing for truth, not for what she gives us in the profit that the ledgers reckon, but for what she is herself—this high ambition to solve the mysteries that perplex and elude us, the world may yet owe discoveries that shall revolutionize existence, and make the coming era infinitely more glorious in beneficent achievement than the one whose final record History is so soon to end.

"But all real progress in civilization depends upon man's ethical ideals.... What shape and tendency are these hopes and ambitions to assume in coming years? What are the ideals held up before American students in American colleges? What are the names whose mention is to fire youth with enthusiasm, with longing for like achievement and similar success? Is it Richet, 'bending over palpitating entrails, surrounded by groaning creatures,' not, as he tells us, with any thought of benefit to mankind, but simply 'to seek out a new fact, to verify a disputed point?' Is it Mantegazza, watching day by day, 'con multo amore e patience moltissima,'—with much patience and pleasure— the agonies of his crucified animals? Is it Brown-Sequard, ending a long life devoted to the torment of living things with the investion of a nostrum that earned him nothing but contempt? Is it Goltz of Strasburg, noting with wonder that mother love and yearning solicitude could be shown even by a dying animal, whose breasts he had cut off, and whose spinal cord he had severed? Is it Magendie, operating for cataract and plunging the needle to the bottom of the patient's eye, that by experiment upon a human being he might see the effect of irritating the retina? ... Surely, in these names, and such as these, there can be no uplift or inspiration to young men toward that unselfish service and earnest work which alone shall help toward the amelioration of the world."

In this passage, there is an allusion of JUST SIX WORDS to one phase of experimentation which was subsequently found to be inaccurate, and corrected, as Dr. Keen has shown. But was it in accord with truth to refer to this passing reference as "A DESCRIPTION of the same operation"? No reader of Dr. Keen's pages would be likely to investigate the statement. Was it fair to permit his readers to understand that a DESCRIPTION EXISTED, WHERE THERE WAS NONE?

There is yet another point to be noted. Referring to the experiments of Goltz, the impression seems to be given that not only was ablation of the breast mistakenly ascribed to the Strasburg vivisector, but that such a vivisection was imaginary: "NO SUCH OPERATION WAS EVER DONE." This is also untrue. Experiments of the kind have been done by other vivisectors, and they are recorded in their own reports. For example, de Sinety of Paris tells us in his "Manuel Pratique de Gynecologie" (Paris, 1879, p. 778), that upon female guinea-pigs, he had practised "l'ablation de ces glands pendant la lactation."[1] Another French vivisector, Dr. Paul Bert, states that he had not only performed "l'ablation des mamelles chez une femelle de cochon d'Inde," but that he had succeeded in performing the operation on a female goat. The poor creature recovered from the vivisection, and later, gave birth to a kid, which was placed with the mother. What would happen to a new-born animal placed at the side of a mother whose breasts had been cut off?

"Le petit, animal, voulant teter, et trouvant pas de mamelles, a donne de violent coups de te^te dans le re'gion mammaire...."[2]

[1] In a reference to de Sinety's vivisections at page 171, in the present volume, there is a slight mistake. Although de Sinety, as shown above, had practised the ablation of the mammary glands during lactation, it would seem that mutilation rather than complete ablation preceded his experiments on the innervation of the mammary nerve. The sentence should read "cut into the breasts," and not "removed the breasts." He tells us that he made a considerable number of experiments of the kind upon female guinea-pigs. In one of them, for example, he laid bare the nerve and isolated it with a thread,—"le nerf mammaire d'un co^te est mis a' nu, et isole," and that when the electric current was used, extreme pain,—"un douleur tre's vivre" was excited, notwithstanding which the excitation was continued for ten minutes. (Gazette Me'd. de Paris, for 1879, p. 593). [2] Comptes Rendus de la Soc. de Biologie, Paris, 1883, p. 778.

There is no need of completing the description. It was an experiment absolutely useless and without justification. We may confess that we read of such useless cruelties of experiment only with infinite disgust.

No matter how careful a writer may be, it is very rare that he escapes, from unfriendly readers, the imputation of inaccuracy. Against writers of history—men like Froude, Macaulay, or Carlyle—the same charge has been made. But a critic whose microscopic eye discerns inaccuracy in others should be very careful to make no similar errors himself. The mistake upon which he has dwelt, was due to reliance upon the translation of another man. It may be of interest to point out that in his own writings Dr. Keen has made a precisely similar mistake; and that although it was pointed out and its untruth confessed many years ago, yet the false imputation appears again in the pages of his book, without correction or intimation of its utter untruth, on the page where it firs tis given to the reader of to-day.

In a pamphlet published during the closing years of the last century by the American Humane Association, there appeared a strong condemnation of experiments made by a Dr. Sanarelli, apparently upon hospital patients, temporarily under his care. In an Italian periodical, the young scientist described his researches with remarkable frankness. He tells of the various symptoms of yellow fever, which by his serum he had caused his victims to suffer—the congestions, the haemorrhage, the delirium, the fatty degeneration, the collapse; and all these, he adds, "I have seen unrolled before my eyes, THANKS TO THE POTENT INFLUENCE OF THE YELLOW-FEVER POISON MADE IN MY LABORATORY."

So terrible a confession of human vivisection, it was eemed best by some English translator to suppress; and in various medical journals, both in England and America, the sentence here italicized did not appear. Finding it quoted only by the pamphlet that condemned human vivisection, Dr. Keen, without consulting the original, made the dishonouring imputation that perhaps it had been "DELIBERATELY ADDED" by some one of his opponents, and this, too, notwithstanding he had referred to the original authority where the words were to be found. "Unfortunately," he explained at a later period, "I am not an Italian scholar, and have never even seen Sanarelli's original article"; he had placed dependence for his statement upon a "friend."[1] Who could have been this "friend" who pretended that he had read the article of Sanarelli in the original, and deceived him into making a charge of forgery, for the truth of which there was not a particle of foundation? But the thing of which his readers have a right to complain is not that his "friend" deceived him, for that may happen to anyone. It is this: that the imputation of forgery, the untruth of which was admitted long ago, still remains in the essay where it first appeared, and without there being the slightest disclaimer of the false insinuation. Let the reader turn to p. 125 of the work under review. There is the suggestion that Sanarelli's allusion to the poisons fabricated in his laboratory may have been "DELIBERATELY ADDED"—an imputation of forgery. WHERE ON THIS PAGE, IN THE TEXT OR BY FOOTNOTE, HAS THE AUTHOR WITHDRAWN THAT INSINUATION? IT CANNOT BE FOUND.

[1] "Animal Experimentation," pp. 143-144.


One of the most serious offences against literacy accuracy which this writer has apparently committed appears in the garbling of the opinions of Dr. Henry J. Bigelow of Harvard University, on the subject of vivisection. The case is of especial interest not only because the facts are so clear, but because they bring into relief certain methods of controversy, which by some seem to be regarded as entirely justifiable.

A sketch of the life of Dr. Bigelow, with extended quotations from his writings, will be found in the ninth chapter of the work now in the reader's hands. The opinions there expressed regarding vivisection are by no means extreme. No past writer on this subject has left behind him more abundant evidence of his position in this controversy. It was not animal experimentation that he condemned, but the cruelty that sometimes accompanies it, and to which, if vivisection be unregulated by law, it is so often liable.

How may the views of such a writer be attacked after he is in his grave? A physiological casuist would suggest, for instance, that although for forty years connected with a medical school, Dr. Bigelow really knew little or nothing about vivisection except what he had chanced to see in France, although his writings abound with allusions indicative of familiarity with laboratory scenes. It might be asserted, indeed, that "in his later life," the great advocate of reform had changed his views; and as a fair exposition of the new attitude, a brief warning against confounding a painful with a painless experiment would be quoted, after eliminating from the paragraph anything that referred to cruelty or abuse.

Is not this exactly what the author of "Animal Experimentation" has done in his attempt to discredit the weight of Dr. Bigelow's protests? He tells his readers that "the opponents of research" quote the Harvard professor's earliest utterances "based on the suffering he saw at Alfort," but that they carefully omit this expression of his later opinions:

"The dissection of an animal in a state of insensibility is no more to be criticized than is the abrupt killing of it, to which no one objects. The confounding of a painful vivisection and an experiment which does not cause pain—either because the experiment itself is painless, like those pertaining to the action of most drugs, or because it is a trivial one and gives little suffering—has done great damage to the cause of humanity and has placed the opponent of vivisection at a great disadvantage.... A painless experiment on an animal is unobjectionable."

This is all true enough. But can anyone call this paragraph a fair statement of Dr. Bigelow's "later views" on animal experimentation? It is merely a wise caution. Compare this brief quotation with the ninth chaper of the book in the reader's hands. Will anyone, after reading that chapter, maintain that THE THREE SENTENCES JUST CITED AFFORD A FAIR SUMMARY OF THE DEAD SURGEON'S LATEST VIEWS?

The reader will note that in the passage just quoted from Bigelow, something appears to have been omitted before the final sentence. On turning to Dr. Bigelow's work, we find this sentence was eliminated from the foregoing quotation.


[1] Anaesthesia, by Henry J. Bigelow, M.D., p. 372.

Precisely! Then immediately following the words quoted by the author of "Animal Experimentation," the reader will discover another most significant passage which was suppressed by the author of "Animal Experimentation":

"The extreme vivisector claims the liberty to inflict at his discretion, PROTRACTED AND EXCRUCIATING PAIN upon any number of dogs, horses, rabbits, guinea-pigs and other animals. The interest or honest enthusiasm he may happen to feel in some subject of physiology, however important, justifies in his mind THE EXHIBITION OF THIS EXCESSIVE PAIN TO CLASSES, AND ITS REPETITION BY MEDICAL STUDENTS, PRACTICALLY AT THEIR OPTION. THIS IS AN ABUSE. Inasmuch as the reform of any abuse needs remedial measures, such measures have been inaugurated by permanently organized societies, which, even though they may not have been always and wholly right and temperate in their action, HAVE ERRED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION."

What was the reason for these suppressions? Why this garbling of Bigelow's "later views"? Do we find it impossible to comprehend why his comparison of physiological experiments with the painless procedures of chemistry should have been cut from the contecxt, or why the references to "PROTRACTED AND EXCRUCIATING PAIN" and the "exhibition of excessive pain to classes" should have been omitted? How could a writer, sincerely desirous of presenting his readers with a fair expression of Dr. Bigelow's opinions, have cut out every reference to the abuses of vivisection? How could he have omitted to quote such passages as the following, which appear in essays written during the last year of his life:

"In short, although vivisection, like slavery, may embrace within its practice what is unobjectionable, what is useful, what is humane, and even what is commendable, it may also cover, like slavery, what is nothing less than hideous. I use this word in no sensational sense, and appeal to those who are familiar with some of the work, in laboratories and out of them, to endorse it as appropriate in this connection." (368)[1]

"There is no objection to vivisection except the physical pain it inflicts." (368)

"No society, however extreme in its views or action, can legitimately object to painless experimentation, provided it is really painless. BUT ANAESTHESIA SHOULD BE REAL, AND NOT MERELY NOMINAL OR FORMAL." (374)

"Vivisection will always be the better for vigilant supervision." (368)

"There is little in the literature of what is called the horrors of vivisection, which is not well grounded on truth. For a description of the pain inflicted, I refer to that literature." (363)

The necessity for brevity of quotation, no one can dispute. But the ethics of controversy are clear. One or two detached sentences should never be given as a fair representation of an opponent's views, if the general tenor of his writings would convey a contrary impression. Thus to suppress and eliminate, what is it but to garble? In any young writer, would not such offences against veracity invite the severest condemnation?

[1] Henry J. Bigelow, M.D., Anaesthesia. Figures following quotations indicate the pages. Italics not in original.


Another illustration of the unreliability of the volume under review may be found in its references to the Report of the Royal Commission on Vivisection. We are told, in the first place—and the untrue statement is thrice repeated with slightly different phraseology—that "on the Commission, the antivivisectionists were represented, and joined in this unanimous report."[2] It would be difficult to make an affirmation more notoriously untrue. In 1906, when the Commission was first named, it was a matter of common knowledge that NO ANTIVIVISECTIONIST WAS REPRESENTED THEREON. This shoudl be evident to anyong, one reading the following paragraph of the Commission's report:

"After full consideration, we are led to the conclusion that experiments upon animals, ADEQUATELY SAFEGUARDED BY LAW FAITHFULLY ADMINISTERED, ARE MORALLY JUSTIFIABLE AND SHOULD NOT BE PROHIBITED BY LEGISLATION."[1]

[2] Keen, "Animal Experimentation," p. 294. For repetitions of the erroneous statement, see pp. xviii and 241. [1] Report of Commission, p. 57, par. 97.

How could Dr. Keen have dreamed for a moment that any antivivisectionist would have signed such a recantation? Possibly the words here italicized explain why this paragraph was not quoted by the author of "Animal Experimentation." It referred to the conditions of permissible experimentation which, as yet, do not exist in any American state.

Of this important report, but a single brief paragraph of two sentences appears to have attracted the attention of Dr. Keen. It impresses him so strongly that he parades it no less than three times in various parts of his book:

"We desire to state that the harrowing descriptions and illustrations of operations inflicted on animals which are freely circulated by post, advertisement, or otherwise, are IN MANY CASES calculated to mislead the public, so far as they suggest that the animals in question were not under an anaesthetic. To represent that animals subjected to experiments IN THIS COUNTRY are WANTONLY TORTURED would, in our opinion, be absolutely false." (Italics not in original.)

"This clear statement," adds the author of "Animal Experimentation" to one of his three quotations, "should end this calumny" (p. 241.) To what "CALUMNY" can he allude? The Commissioners are referring only to experimentation in England, where unauthorized painful experimentation is contrary to law—certainly not to America, where no Government supervision of any kind is to be found. Even in England, the words "IN MANY CASES" limit the application of condemnation. Would the author have its readers believe that painful or unjustifiable experiments are never performed? ON THE VERY PAGE OF THE REPORT TO WHICH HE REFERS US, in a paragraph immediately following that just quoted, there is reference to a London physiologist of distinction, who had testified that "he had performed PAINFUL experiments upon animals both in Germany and in this country." The Commission unanimously condemned his position as "untenable, and in our opinion, ABSOLUTELY REPREHENSIBLE." Would the author of "Animal Experimentation" regard this protest against certain experiments made by the men named in that paragraph, as a "calumny"?

The unfairness of giving out to the world merely two sentences as representative of the conclusions of an important Commission will become evident to anyone who reads other of the unanimous conclusions of this report. Take the following: "WE STRONGLY HOLD THAT LIMITS SHOULD BE PLACED TO ANIMAL SUFFERING in the search for physiological or pathological knowledge, though some have contended that such considerations should be wholly subordinated to the claims of scientific research, or the pursuit of some material good for man."[1] Does this conclusion bear out the contention that animal suffering in the laboratory is a MYTH? Or take the recommendations of the Commission concerning CURARE, a drug which is used in every laboratory, but which, curiously enough, finds no mention in the index of Dr. Keen's book. The Report says: "Some of us are of the opinion that the use of CURARE should be altogether prohibited; but we are all agreed that if its use is to be permitted at all, an Inspector or some person nominated by the Secretary of State should be present from the commencement of the experiment, who should satisfy himself that the animal is, THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EXPERIMENT AND UNTIL ITS DEATH, IN A STATE OF COMPLETE ANAESTHESIA."[2] Why was this recommendation made, if the use of CURARE is never associated with painful experimentation? Or read yet further: "We are of the opinion that ADDITIONAL SAFEGUARDS AGAINST PAIN MIGHT BE PROVIDED, without interfering with legitimate research." These recommendations are incorporated in the final report of the Commissioners, not one of whom was an Antivivisectionist. Why were they not quoted by Dr. Keen.

[1] Report, p. 57, par. 96. [2] Ibid., p. 61, par. 114.

The Report of the Royal Commission on Vivisection, together with the evidence produced before it, constitutes the most important document relating to the subject which has appeared in a quarter of a century. It is greatly to be regretted that the author of "Animal Experimentation" should have given his readers no idea whatsoever of this report, except a warning of two sentences, that could have been meant for England alone. By omission of all its other conclusions, especially those relating to painful experiments, has the author been fair to his readers? Do such significant omissions illustrate an impartial reliability that commands our admiration? Does it denote an accuracy that should inspire our trust?


What judgment does the author pass upon scientific experimentation upon human beings? In his volume on animal vivisection, he has reprinted various articles on the subject written by himself during a controversy which raged quite fiercely at the beginning of the present century; of course in his book we find nothing of the points made against his arguments by his various opponents of that day. The subject is an important one, and some day will have a volume devoted to its discussion.

In the eighteenth chapter of the present work, a careful distinction is drawn between those phases of experimentation upon man which seem to be entirely proper, and those other phases which ought to be condemned:

"It is of course to be expected, that certain experimenters upon human beings will endeavour to confound both phases of inquiry in the public estimation; yet there is no difficulty in drawing clear distinctions between them. I. Any intelligently devised experiment upon an adult human being, conscientiously performed by a responsible physician or surgeon solely for the personal benefit of the individual upon whom it is made, and, if practicable, with his consent, would seem to be legitimate and right.... So long as the amelioration of the patient is the one purpose kept in view, it is legitimate treatment. II. Human vivisection is something different. It has been defined as the practice of submitting to experimentation human beings, usually inmates of public institutions, by methods liable to involve pain, distress, injury to health or even danger to life, without any full, intelligent personal consent, for no object relating to their individual benefit, but for the prosecution of some scientific inquiry.... THE OBJECT IS SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION, AND NOT THE PERSONAL WELFARE OR AMELIORATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL UPON WHOM THE EXPERIMENT IS MADE."[1]

[1] Pp. 289-290.

All distinctions of this kind the author of "Animal Experimentation" apparently sweeps aside. A writer suggested that upon natives of India who, when bitten by poisonous serpents, almost invariably die, there would be no objection to trying "every variety of antidote that can be discovered." This humane suggestion the author of "Animal Experimentation" holds up as "FLAT-FOOTED ADVOCACY OF HUMAN VIVISECTION!" The absurdity of such pronouncement must be evident to everyone of common sense. We should think very little of any surgeon confronted with the case of a native suffering from a snake-bit, who, finding ordinary remedies of no avail, refused to try "EVERY VARIETY OF ANTIDOTE THAT CAN BE DISCOVERED." This is not the "human vivisection" to which objection is made; for such experimentation is for the personal benefit of the man himself.

Take, for illustration, the experiments made by the author of "Animal Experimentation" and other investigators some years since, upon soldiers in an Army hospital. The author of the pamphlet which first brought these experiments on soldiers before the public, states distinctly that "just so far as the experiments were made upon suffering men IN THE HOPE OF GIVING RELIEF FROM PAIN, and at the same time contributing to medical knowledge, THERE CAN BE NOTHING TO CRITICIZE IN ANY WAY."[2] Surely the experimenters should ask no clearer exculpation from all blame, so far as relates to permissible experimentation on man. The critic, however, suggested that in some cases, the enthusiastic experimenters went beyond this, and quotes from the original article the following descriptions of their work:

"We finally entered upon A DELIBERATE COURSE OF EXPERIMENTS with the intention of ascertaining in what respect ... the two drugs in question were antagonistic.... The experiments which we shall now relate were most of them made upon soldiers, who were suffering from painful neuralgic diseases, or from some cause of entailing pain. In some cases, however, CONVALESCENT MEN WERE THE SUBJECTS OF OUR OBSERVATIONS, but in no instance were they allowed to know what agents we used.... SOME WERE MEN IN VERY FAIR HEALTH, suspected of malingering. The patient was kept recumbent some time before and during the observation."

[2] Taber, "Illustrations of Human Vivisection," Chicago, 1906, pp. 13-14.

It is unnecessary to give the full description of these experiments. We are informed of "series of experiments," of "two other sets of experiments," of the "effect on the eye" or "the effect of the two drugs upon the cerebral functions"; the material was abundant. The reviewer of this experimentation says:

"How these experiments will be palliated and excused it is easy to foretell. We shall undoubtedly be told that all this happened some years ago; that the American soldiers, thus used as material suffered no permanent injury from the experiments to which they were subjected; that the investigators were purely disinterested; that the scientific questions involved were of great interest and that results might possibly have been obtained which would have proved of great service to medical science. But even if we grant all this, and accord to these gentlemen the purest of personal motives, can we say that in such defence they touch the chief point at issue in this matter of human vivisection? Here were a number of human beings who, for a brief period, on account of misfortune, were temporarily in their power. WHAT MORAL RIGHT had these medical gentlemen thus to experiment upon the eye, the pulse, the brain of a single soldier of the Republic? ... Even granting the utility, who confers upon anyone the moral right to test poisons on his fellow-men?

In his recent work, the author of "Animal Experimentation" refers to these investigations of earlier years, and insists that most of the patients thus operated on "were sorely in need of relief." What, he asks, would his critics have had them do? "Sit idly by, and let these poor fellows suffer torments, because if we tried various drugs we were 'experimenting' on human beings?" Is not this a little disingenuous, in view of the very careful distinctions made by his critic concerning the experiments performed for the relief of suffering men? Assuredly, there was no objection to these; it was regarding the "deliberate course of experiments," the "series of experiments" made upon "MEN IN VERY FAIR HEALTH" that criticism was suggested. Were all these experiments upon soldiers in the Army hospital made for the relief of their pains? If so, they undoubtedly deserve our warmest approval. Were any of a purely scientific character, having no regard to the necessities of the individual upon whom they were made? If so, we may leave the question of condemnation or approval to the reader's judgment.


What is the attitude of the author toward cruelty in animal experimentation, or to the secrecy of the laboratory? So far as one can see, there is no admission anywhere that vivisection ever transcends the limits of what is entirely permissible. Except as regards human beings, the word "cruelty" is not found in the index of his work. At one place he tells his readers that "whenever an operation would be painful, an anaesthetic is ALWAYS given";[1] on another page, we read that in modern researches, "ether or other anaesthetics are ALMOST always given."[2] two statements that are slightly incompatible. We are informed that certain American societies have passed resolutions favorable to the "UNRESTRICTED performance" of vivisections by proper persons;[3] but the writer neglects to inform his readers that unrestricted and unregulated experimentation of the kind is not only contrary to the law in England, but that it is condemned there by the leaders of the medical profession. We find it apparently implied—but without positive statement—that there is little or no secrecy in animal experimentation, and that anyone may find admittance to a laboratory at any time.[4] So far as England is concerned, this is untrue; and we do not believe that in America a stranger would be welcomed at any physiological laboratory when experimentation by students was going on, although of course there are times when there would be no trouble in obtaining admittance. It would apparently seem that in the opinion of Dr. Keen, animal experimentation is always practised without cruelty or abuse.

[1] "Animal Experimentation," p. 232. [2] Ibid., p. 245. [3] Ibid., p. xviii. [4] Ibid., pp. viii-ix.

A considerable part of the volume under review is devoted to the history of medical progress. Were it not for the unfortunate tendency everywhere to magnify or exaggerate, this part of the book would have had distinct value. Of the advances made by modern surgery, for example, there can be no doubt; it is probable also, that without to some researches upon living animals, the results would not have been attained. This by no means justifies everything that has been done. The members of the Royal Commission—all of them favourable to vivisection—state the case with scientific restrain. After giving the question full consideration they decide:

"1. That certain results, claimed from time to time to have been proved by experiments upon living animals and alleged to have been beneficial in preventing or curing disease, HAVE, ON FURTHER INVESTIGATION AND EXPERIENCE, BEEN FOUND TO BE FALLACIOUS OR USELESS.

"2. That notwithstanding such failures, valuable knowledge HAS BEEN ACQUIRED in regard to physiological processes and the causation of disease, and that useful methods for the prevention, cure and treatment of certain diseases have resulted from experimental investigations upon living animals.

"3. That, as far as we can judge, it is highly improbable that without experiments made upon animals, mankind would, at the present time, have been in possession of such knowledge."[1]

[1] Final Report of Royal Commision, p. 47.

It is open, of course, to an antivivisectionist to deny the right of science to profit by the exploitation of animals, but this is not the position of a large number who seek only to prevent the cruelty which has often accompanied it.

The greatest defect of the volume, aside from the points to which allusion has been made, is the exaggerated advocacy that characterizes the work throughout. One can hardly find a dozen pages in which a careful reader would not discover some inaccuracy or over-statement. If the author had only been content to demonstrate utility within the limits that scientific accuracy prescribes; if everywhere he had been ready to concede—what thirty years ago he so frankly admitted—that vivisection was a "MANY-SIDED QUESTION;"[1] if he had admitted anywhere that in the past excesses have taken place, and that the practice has sometimes been carried to unjustifiable extremes which should be condemned; if he had contented himself with pointing out the mistakes of the critics of animal experimentation, without impugning their character, or sneering at their efforts to lessen the infliction of pain; if everywhere he had made fair distinctions between the anti- vivisectionists who oppose and condemn all exploitation of animal life, and restrictionists like Dr. Bigelow, Dr. Wilson, Dr. William James, and a host of others who share their views; if, in short, the constant aim of the author had seemed to be, not to secure a polemical success, but reliability as an authority that time would confirm—it is certain that his book would have attained some degree of deserved and lasting repute. For such a result, no reasonable expectation can now be entertained. The unreliability of the volume as an authority will become more and more evident as time goes on, and in the judgment of the world it will gradually find its rightful place.

[1] See first page of "Animal Experimentation."

In bringing to a close this inadequate review of the book something yet remains to be said. It should be unnecessary to repeat that in pointing out literary defects and mistakes, we do not touch the honour of the writer in any way. How can one measure the weight of a life- long prejudice, or determine its influence upon conduct or opinion? "Tout comprende est tout pardonner." Within a few weeks, the author of "Animal Experimentation," if living, will enter upon his eightieth year. The errors of judgment, the inaccuracies of statement, the tendency to exaggerate utility—these and all other literary defects of the volume before us must be recognized and deplored, but they should be ascribed only to causes which do not affect the honour of the man. We may be confident that after he has passed away, the world will quickly forget the too zealous defender of unrestricted vivisection, and remember, finally, only the wise teacher, the skilled surgeon, the trusted friend.


In the acquirement of knowledge concerning vivisection, and for the prevention of abuses, it is essential that in every institution where experiments are performed a register of all animals received be carefully and accurately kept. Each one should have a serial number, under which all particulars should be entered. The book used for this purpose should have printed in the first column of each double page the required details concerning which a record is to be kept; the blanks should be written in ink by someone responsible for its accuracy. Some such form as the following outline might perhaps be used for such register:


Serial number .. .. .. 801 802 803 Date .. .. .. .. Feb. 1, 1920 Feb. 1, 1920 Feb 2, 1920 - - - Species .. .. .. .. Dog Dog - Variety .. .. .. .. Mongrel Spaniel - Apparent age .. .. .. Two years Very old - Sex .. .. .. .. .. Male Female - Colour .. .. .. .. Yellow White - Condition .. .. .. Good Poor - From whom received .. .. Bradson Burns - Address .. .. .. .. 45, Canal St. 22, Mill St. - Amount paid him .. .. 75 cents 50 cents - How acquired by him .. Found Founds - Kept by us for redemption 15 days 15 days - Delivered to .. .. .. Dr. Sharp Dr. Ball - Redeemed or died .. .. - - -

From such a register as the foregoing, it would not be difficult to compile a report at the end of each quarter-year, somewhat after the following form:


- Other Dogs. Cats. Monkeys. Mammals. Total. - - On hand, January 1 .. 20 4 2 14 40 Acquired .. .. 91 142 11 132 376 - Total .. .. 111 146 13 146 416 ====== ====== ======== ======== ======= Redeemed by owners .. 11 0 0 0 11 Died before use .. 2 0 1 0 3 Used for experiment .. 84 76 10 98 268 On hand at date .. 14 70 2 48 134 - Total 111 146 13 146 416 -



On this 31st day of March, 1920, before me, the subscriber, personally came A. B., known to me, and he, being duly sworn, declared that the foregoing report signed by him is a full, true, and complete statement of all the animals of the species named therein, which were either on hand on the first day of the quarter, or which have been received at the Laboratory of the Carnegie Institute for experimental purposes, and the disposition thereof, for the quarter-year ending March 31, 1920.

................... NOTARY PUBLIC.

It is necessary not only to know what animals are received at any laboratory; we must be able to follow them to the end. Each individual instructor, professor or assistant-professor, or other person who performs experiments of any kind should be required to state what he has done. The following is an outline of a report which might be made to the Director in charge of the laboratory.



- Mon- Guinea- Other Dogs. Cats. keys. Pigs. Animals. Total. - - - I. Number of animals used solely for original research II. Number of animals used for demonstra- tion before students, of physiological facts III. Number of animals experimented upon by students .. .. - - Total .. .. - - IV.Number of above ani- mals, in experimen- tation upon which CURARE was used -

(Signed) ........................ ASSISTANT IN PHYSIOLOGY.


On this 31st day of March, 1920, before me, the subscriber, personally came A. B., known to me, and he, being duly sworn, declared that the foregoing report was signed by him, and that it is a true, full and complete statement of all mammalian animals used by him or under his personal supervision for experimental purposes in the ........... Laboratory during the quarter ending March 31, 1920.

...................... NOTARY PUBLIC.

Suggested form of report, to be made quarterly by the responsible head of each Institution wherein animal experimentation is authorized.



Mon- Other Animals. Dogs. Cats. keys. Animals. Total. - - - I. Number used for original research only, by: Dr. X. .. .. .. Dr. Y. .. .. .. II. Number used for demonstra- tions before students, by: Dr. A. .. .. .. Dr. B. .. .. .. III. Number used by students for observation of physiolog- ical phenomena, etc. .. - - Total .. .. .. - - Number of above animals to which curare was given, in course of experimentation ..

(Signed) ..................... DIRECTOR OF LABORATORY.


On this 1st day of April, 1920, before me, the subscriber, personally came C. D., known to me, who, being duly sworn, declared that the foregoing report signed by him, is a full, true and complete statement of the disposition of all animals experimented upon in the laboratories of the Carnegie Institute, during the quarter-year ending March 31, 1920, to the best of his knowledge and belief.

..................... NOTARY PUBLIC.


It is exceedingly probably that no young physician or medical student could testify to cruelties witnessed in any physiological laboratory, if they involved his instructors or fellow-students, without injuring and perhaps ruining altogether his professional career. Only in later years, when success and independence have been attained, can he venture to speak freely of what he has seen. Some men have thus spoken. The testimony of two is here given:

Rev. Frederic Rowland Marvin, M.D., Albany, N.Y.:

"Though now a Minister of the Gospel, I was educated to the profession of medicine, and was graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons (Medical Department of Columbia College) New York, in 1870. In the class-room I SAW VIVISECTIONS SO UNQUALIFIEDLY CRUEL THAT EVEN NOW THEY REMAIN IN MY MEMORY AS A NIGHTMARE." (From letter to The American Humane Association.)

"All medical students in America know that similar outrages are perpetrated in our medical colleges every winter. I have witnessed vivisections SO CRUEL AND UNNECESSARY THAT I AM ASHAMED TO REMEMBER THAT THEY WERE UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF MY ALMA MATER." (From sermon preached at Portland, Oregon.)

Dr. Henry M. Field, Professor Emerituss of Therapeutics, Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth College, writes:

"I well remember my experience as a student of medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.... I well remember the poor dogs, brought out from their dungeon, perhaps famished and tortured with thirst, should the experiment require such condition; their appealing eyes and trembling limbs, I shall never forget.... Indeed, SOME FORM OF TORTURE AND ATROCITY WAS EXPECTED AT EVERY LECTURE, AND SURE TO BE APPLAUDED.... The student who found entertainment in the unnecessary torture of animals, learned something besides physiology; his humane nature was perverted...." (From letter to the Vivisection Reform Society, dated April 28, 1905.)



To the Editor of the "Springfield Republican."

SIR,—In the complexity of our many social problems, it does not quite do to extemporize an opinion. In a recent issue the Republican came very near falling into this fault. Taking as its text a striking example of locating a clot of blood in the brain, and referring the knowledge by which this was done to vivisection, it spoke lightly of the limitation which many have sought to put upon this practise. It is noot the assertion of the opponents of vivisection, that itis always useless, but that it has been carried much beyond the demands of any desirable and humane purpose. Even the example given is not so striking if we remember that it has long been known that each half of the body is governed not by the adjacent, but by the opposite, lobe of the brain.

Considering the uncertainty, and the costly nature, of the knowledge gained by vivisection, and the great abuse the practice has suffered, its opponents demand that animals should not be subjected to this suffering except in view of some definite and important question to be answered; that the pain involved in such an investigation should be reduced to its lowest possible terms; that experiments once satisfactorily made should not be indefinitely repeated; and that vivisection should not be left in the hands of every tyro acquiring the rudiments of knowledge. These claims are almost as much a demand of accuracy in knowledge as of humanity in temper. The pain involved in vivisection often creates such an abnormal state as to weaken or invalidate the conclusions drawn in connection with it. The careless student may easily confirm, as he thinks by observation, opinions not well grounded.

Vivisection has been objected to not theoretically or sentimentally simply, but on account of the monstrous abuses that have been associated with it. In Europe men of distinguishing ability have seemed to revel in this form of inquiry and to have prosecuted it without the slightest reference to the cruel and revolting features associated with it. They have made of it a school of Nero in which brutality became a passion of the mind.

One of the most deadly sins of men has been cruelty, cruelty to animals, to children, to women, to men. The basest of these forms is in some respects cruelty to animals, since animals are so thoroughly committed into our hands. It is not easy to devise a more hardening process than careless vivisection; and the claim that it is done in the name of knowledge is, unless it is profoundly and deeply true, an aggravation of the offence. Inhumanity is the worst possible temper for the medical profession to entertain, and the worst possible suspicion to attach to them. If the physicians cannot approach all suffering with an intense desire to relieve it, he is not true to his calling. It is with more or less fear that the defenceless human subject is committed to them lest they should make of him an experiment.


Williamstown, December 15, 1902.


Among American physicians, probably the most distinguished medical writer of to-day is Dr. George M. Gould, author of several medical works, and formerly editor of various medical journals. His opposition to antivivisection ideals has always been pronounced; but it has not prevented recognition of the abuses of the unlimited practice of animal experimentation. Some extracts from an address delivered by Dr. Gould before the American Academy of Medicine are here presented. The reader should understand that they are extracts only, and that they represent but one aspect of the speaker's views. Perhaps they are the more valuable in that they are the utterances of the most pronounced American critic of antivivisection of the present time.


The first that strikes one is an exaggeration of the importance and extent of the vivisection method. As valuable an aid as it is, it is not the only, and perhaps it is not the chief, method of ascertaining medical truth. It has without doubt often been used when other methods would have been productive of more certain results. This has arisen from what a large and broad culture of the human mind perceives to flow from a recent and rather silly hypertrophy of the scientific method, and a limitation of that method to altogether too material or physical aspects of the problem....

Almost every point over which the controversy has raged most fiercely has been in relation to one or all of the three or four questions:

1. What is a vivisection experiment? 2. By whom should it be performed? 3. For what purpose should it be performed? 4. By what methods should it be carried out?

In reference to all of these questions, scientific men should unite and establish a common set of principles or answers. In my judgment their failure to do so at all, and besides this, their frequent exaggeration of logical limits and just calims, has been one of the unfortunate causes of useless and wasteful wrangling.....

(2) I believe scientific men have made a grave mistake in opposing the limitations of vivisection (not mortisection) experimentation to those fitted by education and position to properly choose and properly execute such experimentations. No harm can come, and I believe much good would come, from our perfect readiness to accede to, nay, to advocate, the antivivisectionist desire to limit all experimentations to chartered institutions or to such private investigators as might be selected by a properly chosen authority.... At present the greatest harm is done true science by men who conduct experiments without preliminary knowledge to choose, without judgement to carry out, withoutout true scientific training or method, and only in the interest of vanity. It takes a deal of true science and patience to neutralize with good and to wash out of the memory the sickening, goading sense of shame that follows the knowledge that in the name of science a man could, from a height of 25 feet, drops 125 dogs upon the nates (the spine forming a perpendicular line to this point) and for from forty-one to one hundred days observe the results until slow death ended the animals' misery. While we have such things to answer for, our withers are surely not unwrung, and in the interests of science, if not from other motives, we have a right to decide who shall be privileged to do them.

I have adduced this single American experiment, but purposely refrain from even mentioning the horrors of European laboratories. This is not because I would avoid putting blame where it belongs, but because such things are peculiarly prone to arouse violent language and passion, clouding the intellect and making almost impossible a desirable judicial attitude of mind. The Teutonic race is to be congratulated that it is guilty of at least but few examples of the atrocities that have stained the history of Latin vivisection, and before which, as before the records of Roman conquest and slavery, or of the "Holy Inquisition," one shudders at the possibilities of mental action in beings that bore the human form and feature....

To jeer at and deride "sentimentality" while pretending to be working for the good of humanity is hypocritic and flagrant self- contradiction. This attitude of mind on the part of a few men does more to arouse the indignation of opponents than any cruelty itself. Scientific men should root out of their ranks such poor representatives. They are enemies in the scientific household. Dr. Klein, a physiologist, before the Royal Commission, testified that he had no regard at all for the sufferings of the animals he used, and never used anaesthetics, except for didactic purposes, unless necessary for his own convenience, and that he had no time for thinking what the animal would feel or suffer. It may be denied, but I am certain a few American experimenters feel the same way, and act in accordance with their feelings. But they are not by any means the majority, and they must not only be silenced, but their useless and unscientific work should be stopped. They are a disgrace both to science humanity....

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