§ Order for Second Reading read.
MR. ASSHETON CROSS,
in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, that in the observations he had to make he hoped he would not wound the most sensitive feelings of those who were engaged in the medical profession, or in the pursuit of scientific inquiry. They lived now, as had been well said, in an age of progress, and probably in no intellectual pursuit had greater progress been made than in medical science and scientific inquiry. One of the results of that great advance had no doubt been a tendency to increase experiments made for scientific and medical purposes upon living animals, for the purpose of finding out something that might tend to alleviate human suffering and prolong human life. Such experiments had prevailed very much more abroad than they had in England; but even here, for some years, the tendency to pursue this peculiar branch of study had been on the increase; and the increase was not only 887 present, but also prospective. There could be no doubt that in some of the principal medical schools experiments by way not only of original research, but as demonstrations to students, were growing to a considerable degree, and that a strong feeling had been raised throughout the country by the circulation of reports of many painful experiments that had been made, and also by the publication of a Handbook of Physiological Science, intended for beginners, which described very many such experiments. The word "beginners" misled many persons, and it was thought that a great number of unqualified persons were allowed to perform experiments which they could not perform properly, and of which they did not know the value. From all those circumstances a very strong feeling arose in the country against this practice, and the result of that feeling was tested by a meeting which was held in London in 1874, soon after which a Bill was brought into the other House by the noble Lord (Lord Henniker), and another one in this House by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lyon Playfair) for the purpose of putting some control on a practice which was growing, and was likely to grow. He wished to explain what the course of the Government had been in the matter. Well, Her Majesty's Government knew that there were two sides taken on this as on all other matters of a strongly marked and very opposite character. There were a great number of persons of the very highest character who desired to put a stop to the experiments altogether, and there were a great number of persons who were entirely and very properly devoted to scientific research who took a distinctly opposite view, and who thought that any control or check put upon this practice was to be deprecated, because it would injure the progress of scientific investigation. In this matter, as in many others, perhaps, the House would be of opinion that the truth lay between the two extremes. Parliament had no knowledge as to the extent or nature of the practices in question, and there was reason to believe that the country was equally not well informed upon the matter; and the Government were therefore of opinion that before legislation could be proposed on the subject a thorough investigation by the most competent per- 888 sons ought to be made. In the interests, therefore, not only of humanity, but also of science, Her Majesty's Government appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into the question. It was not for him, having had something to do with the appointment of that Commission, to say much about it; but he believed the general feeling had been, and was still, that those who were appointed were fully qualified to make a careful and impartial investigation of the facts, and to put them before Parliament in such a way as to insure a wise and proper conclusion being arrived at upon the question. The Commissioners had made their Report, having taken a great deal of evidence. It was not his intention to enter fully into that evidence, but a considerable amount of evidence was brought before the Commissioners, some very strong reasons were given why experiments should be made, and the whole matter was thoroughly investigated. He did not propose to go into details on this part of the question, but he thought a considerable part of the Report must be satisfactory to the House. The Commissioners bore testimony to the general feeling of humanity that prevailed among all classes in this country, and they did not confine that statement to the laity and the unlearned, but extended it to those who were actually practising the pursuit of scientific inquiry and research in connection with the medical profession, and the general result of the inquiry that had taken place was, that among those persons who performed scientific experiments and carried on medical investigations there was a general feeling of humanity prevailing. The Secretary of the Cruelty to Animals Society gave his opinion, in which he said that he readily acknowledged that he had discovered no single case of wanton cruelty committed during experiments for scientific purposes; and that anæsthetics were used where it was consistent with the success of the experiment. It was therefore only just to the scientific world and to the medical profession to adopt the view of the Commissioners not only as to the general tendency to humane feelings which prevailed among the laity, but among those who pursued the investigations in question. A great distinction must be drawn between the way in which those matters had been treated abroad and in this country. He believed that a 889 great deal of the horror and strong feeling that had arisen was caused by what had taken place abroad; but in this country there had been very few of these cruel experiments practised, though at the same time there had been a strong feeling, no doubt, that the tendency to make experiments of the kind was growing in this country, and that some control should be put upon it with a view to prevent those horrid practices here which were but too frequent abroad. The feeling of the scientific world upon the matter was well shown by a series of resolutions which were passed at a meeting of the British Association which was held at Edinburgh in 1871. The resolutions were passed by men of great eminence in the scientific world directly interested in the subject, and they said that no experiment which could be performed under the influence of anæsthetics should be otherwise performed; that no painful experiment was justifiable for the mere purpose of illustrating a law or fact already demonstrated; that whenever it was necessary for the investigation of a new truth to make a painful experiment, every effort should be made that the sufferings inflicted should be as little and as brief as possible; that every effort should be made to ensure success in order that the suffering inflicted might not be wasted; that for that reason no painful experiment ought to be performed by unskilled persons, or with insufficient instruments or assistance, or in a place not suited for that purpose; and that operations ought not to be performed on living animals for the mere purpose of attaining greater professional dexterity. In those resolutions they had a law which, if properly carried out and enforced, would greatly mitigate the evils arising from the practice referred to, and they at all events showed that the tendency of those gentlemen was towards humanity, and that nothing was further from their minds than the needless infliction of pain. It might, then, be asked, if such was the general tendency of those by whom the investigations were carried on, what was the need of legislation at all? Well, the fact of those resolutions having been passed showed the necessity of some regulation being laid down, and there could be no security that the resolutions or anything like them would be regarded or enforced unless there was legislation. 890 There was no question that even in the highest quarters—he spoke especially of foreign countries—cruelties had been practised by scientific persons, and it would be found in the Report that Dr. Sharpey spoke of "that infamous experiment of Majendie," while Dr. Carpenter mentioned that in experiments he had witnessed cases of "perfect callousness to animal suffering." Another celebrated person said that he had no regard for the sufferings of the animals experimented upon; he had no time to think of that whilst conducting the experiment, his only object being to perform the experiment and to learn as much from it as possible. It should be borne in mind that it was not intended that they should legislate for the best class of persons who performed these experiments in this country, but for those who might be tempted to make these experiments without proper knowledge and without any definite object, and also without proper appliances, and without that general instruction which was absolutely necessary to justify the making of such an experiment. It should be remembered that it had been reported that many of these experiments had been made "for no purpose that could possibly merit the name of legitimate scientific research." It should also be borne in mind that they were legislating not simply as against one class, but rather that they were endeavouring to put in practice and carry out simply the resolutions of the British Association. He would say one word with regard to those persons who wished that these practices should not continue at all. Any one who read the Report would see that so far as the prolongation of human life and the mitigation of human suffering were concerned, much had been learned by experiments of this kind; and if we were permitted to inflict pain at all upon dumb animals, it surely must be allowed for the attainment of objects like these. He did not mean that every experiment that took place could possibly be expected to add to the result to which he had alluded. The Commissioners reported that it was impossible to prevent experiments upon living animals for the attainment of knowledge which would be applicable to the mitigation of human suffering or the prolongation of human life; and that even if we could do so, we should thereby 891 drive our students to foreign countries. Absolute prevention, also, if possible, would not be reasonable if the greatest benefit as to human suffering could be derived from such experiments. Her Majesty's Government joined in those conclusions, and with no wish to throw any stigma or slur upon any one who practised medical science, he must still say that we must do something to prevent those things happening in England that undoubtedly had happened abroad; and the object of the Bill was to place under necessary, but under no unnecessary, control or restriction those who should perform experiments. Now, let them see how the Bill would work. The principle upon which it went was, that persons should not perform experiments on living animals calculated to give pain, except under the restrictions laid down in the Bill. The first restriction was, that they should be performed with the view only of the attainment of new discoveries in physiology, or knowledge that would tend to the prolongation of human life, or the mitigation of human suffering. It then provided that the experiments should be made in some registered place and by persons who had licences—with an exception he would shortly mention—the animal being during the whole experiment under the influence of anæsthetics of sufficient power to prevent it having pain; and that if the experiment was concluded before the power of the anæsthetic ceased, the animal should be destroyed. Then again the experiment was not to be performed in a hospital or lecture-room, and must not be performed for the obtainment of manual skill. A general licence would be refused for any experiment, but if for special reasons that could be shown it were refused to perform an experiment without anæsthetics, then a special licence would be required. Again, if experiments were necessary, not for the definite purpose of obtaining knowledge which would tend to the alleviation of human suffering, or the prolongation of life, but with a view to test the truth of some alleged discovery, for these, too, special licences would be required, and it was provided that in no case should there be any public exhibition of these experiments. Nothing could be more demoralizing than such an exhibition, and therefore there was an absolute prohibition of 892 any such exhibition. Now, who was to give the certificates that would be required under the Bill? Practically they would be given by the Secretary of State; but no one could apply for any licence, certainly not for any special licence, except on the recommendation of the heads of the learned Bodies named in the Bill. That was practically the whole of the Bill, except Clause 5, which was framed to prevent experiments being performed upon certain animals, such as dogs and cats, without there being special certificates, and also a provision for inspection. The House was aware that the measure had been much discussed in "another place," and before the Medical Council; and on one occasion when it was discussed by the latter Body the discussion lasted three days, and the result of the discussions had been that without infringing on the principles of the Bill, certain modifications might be made in it which would not at all interfere with what the Government really wanted to do. The first proposition which he had to make was as to the registered places. No doubt, every place where public instruction should be given should be registered; but it was provided that every person who had a licence should also register the place where the experiment was to be performed. Now, it had been represented according to the fact that many of the highest and most eminent men in their Professions—the most fitted, probably, to perform those experiments—had no special places wherein to do so, and they felt not unnaturally that there was some indignity placed upon them if they were to have their private residences registered—a fact which would give a totally false impression as to their practices. After consulting many persons, therefore, he had come to the conclusion that whilst every place for the performance of experiments for the purpose of instruction should absolutely be registered, it should in all other cases be left to the Secretary of State, in granting the licences, to say that in such cases the private residence need not be registered. Then, again, as to experiments on dogs and cats. One great objection raised was, that persons performing experiments would always have to go for a special certificate when they wanted to touch these animals. There was no doubt that there were certain ex- 893 periments made for the purpose of alleviating suffering and prolonging life which could only be made on carnivorous animals—rabbits or hares would not answer the purpose; and so long as anæsthetics were used, and no pain inflicted, it made no difference what the animal was; but if anæsthetics were not used, the Bill would be so altered that in that case they would have to get a special licence to experiment upon the particular animal. One great grievance was, that there must be a special licence for each particular instance; but now that would not be required. In Clause 11he proposed that any application for a licence should first of all be submitted for approval to the President of one of the Societies named in the clause. The licence having been granted, any prosecution instituted against a licensed person could only be instituted by the sanction of the Secretary of State; but as to other persons, the law could be put in force by the police. There was only one other Amendment he need mention, and it was this, that in the case of low-class animals—invertebrate and cold-blooded animals—the provisions of the Bill would not apply. In those Amendments the House would see that Her Majesty's Government had not given up a single principle, while they showed that there was no intention whatever to cast a slur upon the Medical Profession, to which they were all so deeply indebted. The question was one as to which, no doubt, feeling was easily roused and excited, but he could conceive nothing more to be deprecated than that it should be the subject of agitation throughout the country. They would have exaggerations brought forward; those exaggerations would be denied; the consequence being the greatest possible conflict between the medical and scientific world and those who took hasty views upon the subject, and that would be a misfortune for both sides. He, therefore, implored those who were engaged in medical and scientific pursuits to accept what practically had been already accepted by very many of their number—to consider the measure, and see whether it was not in accordance with the resolutions to which he had referred. If all the details of the experiments which had been performed abroad were published in England, it would have a most demoralizing effect. For all practical purposes the Bill would 894 carry out the resolutions of the British Association; and, on the other hand, he would implore those who thought that it would be wise to put a stop to these things, that even if the Government wished this, it would be impossible to do it. The effect would be to send our students to foreign parts instead of their being educated in England, and the sufferings of animals would be by no means diminished. The Bill, if passed, would set an example to the world that the medical and scientific men of this country had put down the infliction of unnecessary cruelty and pain, under the guise of scientific inquiry, and that they would not permit experiments to be performed with no definite object in view by persons who were not qualified to do so, and in places not suitable for the purpose. He implored the House, in the discussion of the Bill, to avoid all causes of irritation, and said that in passing it they would establish a principle, in the cause of humanity, from which this country would never be able to retreat.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Assheton Cross.)
§ Dr. WARD (who had placed on the Paper a Motion for the rejection of the Bill)
said, he did not like to oppose the second reading after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, whom he thanked for the generous way in which he had treated a much-abused Profession in the face of a popular outcry, in which they had been vilified through the gross ignorance that prevailed on this matter. He (Dr. Ward), however, felt that those agitators who did so much to excite that outcry would fail in the object they set before themselves. The Amendments which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State had announced his readiness to accept would almost entirely remove the objections which the Medical Profession held against the Bill, yet although it had been accepted by a number of medical men, it was in itself most objectionable. It was the outcome of an agitation which for years had been shown to be unfounded, for the Report of the Royal Commissioners stated that not more that 20 persons were engaged in the practice of vivisection in this country. The horrors that were said to be perpetrated by physiologists had been 895 greatly exaggerated; and it had been shown that they were as careful of the feelings of animals as any hon. Member in that House, by the constant use of anæsthetics. It was a disgrace to the country that such a slur should have been cast on a body of men who had done so much for suffering humanity, and who had in many instances operated on themselves. He could assure the House that the sentiment of humanity was as strong in physiologists as it was in those who had agitated this question. The Royal Commission reported that there was not the slightest proof that vivisection exercised any demoralizing influence over medical students. There was no evidence to show the necessity of this legislation, but, on the contrary, that men of position in the Profession could be trusted in the future, as they had been in the past, to carry out these experiments. It was necessary that experiments should be made upon living animals in order to the furtherance of physiological science, and the question came whether surgeons should experiment upon dumb animals which had been placed under the influence of anæsthetics, or upon their patients. Accordingly, there had been an increase in the number of cases of vivisection arising out of the increase of anæsthetics, but there had been no increase of cruelty and pain to the animals operated on. This was not a question between humanity on the one hand, and modern science on the other, and the anti-vivisectionists had no right to arrogate to themselves the defence of the cause of humanity against those who had done more for suffering humanity than any other body. Far greater cruelty was practised towards animals in field sports and in preparing them for food, and yet it was proposed to legislate only for that small class by whom experiments were conducted carefully, scientifically, and comparatively painlessly, and there was no attempt to put Martin's Act in force in those other directions. For one case of suffering inflicted by the Medical Profession there were millions of cases in field sports; but he challenged the anti-vivisectionists to legislate against cruelty in sports. The agitation against vivisection was utterly fallacious, and it was founded on false grounds in order to cast insult and calumny on those who had laboured in the cause of humanity. 896 The Bill would probably be a harmless one, and therefore he should not pursue his opposition to it; but as the agitation had been found to be false and absurd, so he feared the legislation, coming out of it, would also be absurd, inasmuch as it would only deal with a small branch of the subject. Many discoveries which had resulted in good to humanity, and had also lessened the sufferings of animals, had followed upon experiments in vivisection, and he saw no reason why legislation should be specially directed against a branch of inquiry which had done so much of good. By the practice of vivisection the circulation of the blood was discovered, and vaccination, heart disease, and other maladies ameliorated; and now they were called inhuman because a couple of donkeys and other animals had been sacrificed in order to obtain the required knowledge. The result of passing stringent measures of this kind would be to turn the experiments by bad and inexperienced practitioners on man instead of on animals.
§ Amendment proposed to leave out "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "this day month."—(Dr. Ward.)
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
Sir, we enter on the discussion of this painful subject with one great advantage—namely, that we are all anxious as far as possible to adopt a course which may tend to diminish suffering. This is the object with which the Bill has been introduced, and I hope that before this discussion is closed this House and the country will also feel that the Medical Profession are, to say the least, as anxious to avoid all unnecessary suffering as any other class of Her Majesty's subjects. Mr. Darwin expressed, I am sure, the general sentiments of English men of science when he said that to perform painful experiments without anæsthetics, when the same investigations might have been made with them, deserved detestation and abhorrence. We must, however, approach the subject calmly, and consider the real facts with which we have to deal. We often hear of tempering justice with mercy; in this case we must not allow our natural feeling for mercy to lead us into injustice, and we must be careful that in the endeavour to diminish pain and suffering we do not 897 defeat the very object we have at heart. Many persons, for instance, really appear to believe that medical students are in the habit of performing experiments involving pain in their own houses. Witness after witness, however, assured the Commission that this was not the case, and it is, at any rate, absolutely certain that they are not encouraged to do so by their teachers. But perhaps the strongest evidence on this point is that of Mr. Colam, the Secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who told the Commission that in the whole course of his inquiry he had only met with one instance of a case of vivisection performed by a student. Much, certainly, of the feeling which has been aroused throughout the country has arisen from an impression that painful operations are performed on living animals before students for purposes of instruction; but the evidence taken before the Royal Commission, on the contrary, proves clearly that in such cases the animals are always rendered insensible by anæsthetics. The Commission examined witnesses representing Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, the great London and various other medical schools, all with the same result. Drs. Burdon Sanderson and Poster state that in all experiments which are used for demonstrative purposes the animals are anæsthetized. Dr. Ferrier, of King's College, had never heard of an experiment for demonstration which was performed without anæsthetics. Mr. Schäfer, of University College, was asked whether his experiments were always performed under anæsthetics, and he said always. He was then asked—"So that the animals suffered no pain?" He said—"Not the least." Dr. Legge, of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, was asked whether all his experiments were performed under anæsthetics. He replied that they were. Dr. Gamgee, of Owens College, stated that in no case had pain been inflicted on any animal for the purpose of demonstration. I am reluctant to weary the House by quoting, and these answers may be taken to represent the rest, so that the evidence is conclusive that in experiments for educational purposes anæsthetics are used. Perhaps, however, I may refer to one other witness—namely, the Secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals—as the strongest that could be brought forward. He 898 stated that he had made inquiries at every school in London, and found that the animals operated on were previously placed under the influence of narcotics. Again, in experiments made for purposes of research, it comes out clearly from the evidence taken before the Royal Commission that anæsthetics are used as much as is possible. Considering all the hard things which have been said of physiologists, it is, I think, very remarkable that, as a matter of fact, not a single case of wanton cruelty has been established, and that it has been shown that anæsthetics have always been used whenever this could be done without invalidating the experiment. This fact, again, rests on evidence which for this purpose must, I think, be deemed most conclusive—namely, on the authority of the Secretary of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. As regards medical men, Mr. Colam was asked—Now, in your own personal experience, which you say has existed for about 15 years, have you known instances yourself where cruelty has been practised by private medical men in their own houses towards animals?to which he answered, "Not any." He was then asked whether one such case had come to the knowledge of one of the officers of the Society, to which he replied that, as far as he knew, it had not. And now as regards the diminution of suffering which has resulted from experiments on living animals. Many important discoveries have been made by means of vivisection which, in the opinion of the whole Medical Profession, could not have been arrived at in any other way. Harvey's great discovery, for instance, of the circulation of the blood was made by means of experiments on living animals. This statement rests not only on the authority of the Commissioners, but upon that of Harvey himself. To vivisection, again, we owe Sir Charles Bell's important discoveries on the functions of the different nerves of the face: previous to which discoveries it was the common practice of surgeons to divide the facial nerve for the cure of neuralgia, whereas it is now known that this nerve exercises no influence on sensation, and that the division for the relief of pain is consequently a useless operation. To the researches of Hunter we owe the present knowledge of the 899 mode of recovery of an artery after ligature, previous to which knowlege many lives were lost from our ignorance of the nature of the process of repair. Galvani's experiments on the frog, simple as they may appear, have led up, through the genius of Volta, Oersted, and our own countrymen, Davy, Faraday, Thompson, Tyndall, and others, to all that we know about electricity and magnetism. Without experiments on living animals, we should never have had the use of ether or of chloroform, for the discovery of which we are indebted to our illustrious countryman, Sir James Simpson. Lastly, I might refer to the discovery of vaccination, which has not only caused an immense diminution of a very painful disease, but has been, I believe truly, said to have saved more lives than the wars even of Napoleon destroyed. Turning to its legal aspect, there is certainly no more dreadful crime than that of secret poisoning. Of such cases, few have taken a deeper hold of the public mind than that of Palmer, and it is not too much to say that the conviction of that man rested mainly on evidence derived from the experiments made on living animals. If I am told that it is better that criminals should escape than that a few animals should suffer, I might refer to another case, mentioned by Dr. Taylor, in which a poor woman was accused of having poisoned her stepchild with arsenic. That the child had died of this poison was undoubted. The woman had arsenic in her possession, and her defence was that she had rubbed the child's head with an ointment of white precipitate mixed with arsenic. At that time it was not believed possible that poison thus applied to the outside of the body could find its way into the stomach, and this poor woman would certainly have been tried for murder, and perhaps convicted, if Dr. Taylor had not found by experiments on living animals that this actually could happen. Sir George Duckett, the President of the Society for the Abolition of Vivisection, tells us that medical science has arrived at its extreme limits, and has little to learn. Those, however, who are most profoundly acquainted with the present state of our medical knowledge will most entirely disagree with this opinion; and though it is, of course, never easy to foresee the course of future progress, still there are some cases in which we 900 seem to be on the very eve of important discoveries. Thus that fatal and distressing malady, angina pectoris, seems likely to be brought within the domain of medical control by means of nitrite of amyl and other remedies. Again, the Indian Government is making experiments with the view of discovering some antidote to snake poisons, from which it is estimated that in India alone no fewer than 20,000 of Her Majesty's subjects annually perish. Let us suppose that even without experiments on living animals, by some happy accident, an antidote may be discovered 25 years hence; still, in, the meantime, half-a-million of lives will have been sacrificed, an immense amount of suffering will have been caused, and many thousands of families will have been brought to misery. We must remember that even now, alas, all medical treatment, all surgical operations, still partake somewhat of the nature of an experiment. As our medical knowledge, indeed, enlarges, this character becomes less and less experimental; but until our knowledge becomes perfect, to a certain extent it must so continue. It is not, then, a question whether experiments shall be performed or not; that is a decision beyond human power to control; the real question is, whether experiments shall be performed upon animals or upon men? The Report of the Royal Commission contains a long list of experiments brought forward by the Society for the Abolition of Vivisection in support of their views. These experiments may be divided, I think, into three classes. By far the greater number were performed under anæsthetics. Against these, therefore, no tenable accusation can be brought. The second class—a very small one—contains certain experiments, undeniably painful and made without anæsthetics, but made under a deep sense of responsibility, and under the conviction that a certain amount of suffering inflicted on a small number of animals might be the means of saving a larger amount of suffering to a much greater number of animals and to those of a higher order. Those of the third class, I must say, are very trivial; such, for instance, as taking a little blood from the tail of a newt, or scraping a thin shred from the gums of a mammal—an operation similar to, if not identical with, that which we perform upon 901 ourselves every morning of our lives. To put forward such cases as these as evidences of diabolical cruelty is really childish. A good deal has been said with reference to the cruelty of sport. For my own part, however, I do not think there is much in the tu quoque argument. If cruelty there be in the one, it cannot be defended merely by showing that there is cruelty in the other also. It has been said by a witty Frenchman that if an Englishman were to see an angel from Heaven his first idea would be to get a gun and shoot him. As far, indeed, as mere suffering is concerned, it cannot be denied that one day's battue will often inflict as much torture as all the physiological experiments of a year. It is not so much the animals which are killed as those which are wounded. Physiologists tell us of many cases in which hares, for instance, have been sent to them suffering from painful diseases caused by a single shot corn having been lodged in the serious cavities, thus producing acute inflammation, lasting for weeks, during which no doubt the animal must have suffered extreme pain; nor will I enlarge on the dreadful sufferings of animals which are caught in traps, and which have often been known in their torment to gnaw off the limb by which they were held fast. Still I trust I may be permitted to express a hope that one result of the strong sentiments which have grown up on this subject may be to alter the state of feeling in which men of high character, and I do not doubt, really, most kind-hearted, think it a legitimate subject of pride to boast of the greatest number of lives which they have been able to destroy in the course of a day's so-called sport; and we must remember that, while in the one case it is the death itself of these animals which is the object in view, the aim of physiologists is the relief of suffering. And now let me ask the House whether there are not two sides to this question. For months past, most sensational attacks have been made on medical men and physiologists. Thus, Miss Cobb, in a paper on the moral aspects of vivisection, states that—Physiologists are indulging a maleficent tendency which already exists in their pupils' dispositions, when they invite mere lads of the Bob Sawyer type to watch their frightful experiments; the more frightful, so much, alas! the more attractive,902 Mr. Hoggan, in his evidence before the Royal Commission, though he is good enough to say that, in his opinion, physiologists are not the monsters some people picture them to be, and that they do not gloat over torture, states that "their glaring fault is an entire want of feeling," and that "their feelings are entirely blunted." Mr. Jesse asserts that he could prove the existence of cruelties not surpassed by any in the history of mankind, and Sir George Duckett does not hesitate to speak of the "hellish practices" of physiologists. Such language is quite unjustifiable, still it ought not to influence us. I for one, while convinced that vivisection is in some cases justifiable, feel deeply that it ought only to be resorted to, if other methods fail, under a deep sense of responsibility, and with every precaution to avoid all unnecessary suffering. The Bill now before the House expresses the earnest desire of the country that no unnecessary suffering should be inflicted; it requires the use of anæsthetics wherever possible; and though I hope to see some improvements introduced in Committee, I shall certainly support the second reading, which will make obligatory those precautions which, as a matter of fact, are even now practically adopted. In doing so, however, I desire to say, in conclusion, for myself, and I believe I may add for not a few other hon. Members of this House, that so far from wishing to imply any condemnation of an honourable Profession, so far from considering that medical men are justly open to any imputation of callousness or of cruelty, I believe that their earnest desire, as, indeed, it is the very object of their lives, is to mitigate suffering and to diminish pain.
Sir, I have taken great interest in the question now before the House and have been permitted to introduce a Bill on the subject. It would not be in Order to discuss on this occasion the provisions of my Bill. I will only say that my proposals aim at a general amendment of the law of cruelty to animals, and a special prohibition of painful experiments in scientific investigation. It is my conviction that we cannot effectually deal with this question in any other way. That being so, it will not be surprising to the House if I have but little to say in favour of the Bill of the Government. I find myself 903 in a difficult and somewhat painful position, with, reference to it. The Bill comes to us recommended by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary in whose integrity of purpose and humanity of feeling I have great confidence; who deserves my thanks, and the thanks of those who oppose vivisection, and a frank acknowledgment of our obligations to him for taking up the subject, and attempting to grapple with its difficulties. On the one hand, with the Preamble of the Bill and its 1st clause I find no fault. They recognize a principle which I warmly approve, the principle that cruelty in the pursuit of science is as detestable, as much to be condemned, as cruelty in any other form:—a principle which I hope the House will not hesitate to affirm. But, Sir, on the other hand, I cannot approve the manner in which my right hon. Friend proposes to effect his object. I regard the provisions of the Bill as at variance with the spirit and principle of the Preamble, and am compelled to express, in the strongest terms, my objection to this mode of dealing with the question of vivisection. I must also express my regret that the Bill has been left to the last days of the Session. There is not time for full discussion. Were I to attempt to address myself to the whole question, or to follow the arguments employed by the hon. Member for Galway (Dr. Ward) and the hon. Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock), I should occupy an amount of time, for which I cannot ask, at this period of the Session. My endeavour shall be to explain to the House my own position, and to keep my remarks as closely as possible to the Bill under consideration. That my position may be fully understood, I wish to say that I look upon this as a moral question, and therefore one that does not admit of compromise; and that, if I am asked to accept an incomplete measure with reference to it, such a measure must be based on cleared and definite principles, in harmony with the moral view of the case. Now, Sir, I do not say that all infliction of pain is cruelty; but I do maintain that all unauthorized infliction of pain is cruelty. When we take up this subject as a moral question, we have not merely to ask ourselves what suits our own convenience, or hurts our feelings, but, what are the terms on 904 which the Creator has placed the animal world in our power. Has He assigned any limits to, or imposed any conditions upon the exercise of that power? When my right hon. Friend speaks of holding the balance between contending parties, he must permit me to remind him that, from our point of view, it is not a question in which a balance has to be struck between conflicting opinions, but one in which a decision has to be formed between right and wrong; he has not to hold a balance between sentiment and science, but to make his decision as I maintain, notwithstanding the observations of the hon. Member for Galway (Dr. Ward), between the principle of humanity and the spirit of cruelty. And when my right hon. Friend speaks of the results as justifying the practices, I ask him how far he is prepared to extent that principle in legislation? Is he prepared to admit a plea on the part of a pickpocket, that the contents of the purse which he stole saved his family from starvation, and therefore justified his act in taking it? My objection to the details of this Bill is that science is set above humanity. The Preamble admits that humanity has claims to be heard against science:—The Bill provides a system of licences and certificates under which the Secretary of State is authorized to legalize cruelty in the pursuit of science. What the Bill gives with one hand it takes away with the other. It recognizes that cruelty is possible—nay, I may say probable, in scientific experiments on animals, and provides licences to place physiologists under certain restrictions; and then it actually proceeds to provide a system of certificates to release them from those restrictions. I contend that this system of licences and certificates will prove no adequate security against cruelty. Is my right hon. Friend prepared to undertake to sit in judgment on the theories and proposals of scientific men? Is he prepared to say that this or that theory shall not be tested by experiment? When I know that he is already over-worked with the business of his Department I am convinced that he cannot undertake this additional labour, and that he must rely upon the opinions of the scientific men whom he may consult. He has told us that he proposes to amend the Bill, by introducing a provision requiring a certificate 905 from one of the learned bodies enumerated in Clause 11, before he issues a licence: and I maintain that when that certificate has been given, my right hon. Friend will have very little option. He will feel bound to issue his licence: yet, Sir, what security has he for the soundness of judgment or humanity of feeling of the learned body which is to be authorized to issue the certificate? When I turn to the Report of the Royal Commission I find that eminence in physiology is no guarantee against inhumanity. Page 17—"It is not to be doubted that inhumanity may be found in persons of very high position as physiologists." And. when I read the evidence given before the Commission I find that the scientific witnesses act upon principles which enable them to claim for themselves, and require them to extend to other experimenters, the very widest latitude in their practice. Further, on what ground can the Secretary of State suspend a certificate? If he question the decision of one of these learned bodies, they will tell him that there are grave scientific reasons which justify the experiment which he questions, that the blame must rest with him if he retard the progress of science, and hinder discoveries calculated to mitigate human suffering. Unless my right hon. Friend is prepared to set at nought the scientific world he cannot help himself. You may tell me he will have his Inspectors through whom he can regulate experiments. I should like to know what the value of this inspection will be. I am told that inspection under the anatomy Act is a sham. I fear this will be a sham. If the Inspector be a physiologist, even if he do his duty, he will see no abuse and no cruelty; if he be a layman, and venture to report to the Secretary of State some instance of cruelty, the experimenter will at once allege that the Inspector is no competent judge as to cruelty in scientific investigations. He will maintain that there is a great scientific purpose to be served in which the infliction of pain is inevitable; that a licence and certificate have been provided by Act of Parliament for the very purpose that pain may be inflicted with impunity, under the protection of the law. And he will add that no man except the operator can judge of the amount of pain which is necessary to render the experiment perfect. Now, Sir, these are no 906 imaginary arguments. I have made use of terms and opinions taken from the evidence given before the Royal Commission by scientific witnesses, and I ask how is my right hon. Friend to judge in such a case? I believe the grossest cruelties will never come to his ears, but if they do will he not be placed in a great difficulty? He will feel that to suspend the certificate and withdraw the licence will affix a stigma to the character, possibly, of an eminent man, which he will be loth to do. He will be told that the charges are exaggerated and cannot be proved, and what can he do? My fear is that the Bill will prove practically inoperative; and I desire to express the strongest objection to a system of licences and certificates the practical effect of which will be to legalize cruelty in this country. It may be the opinion of some hon. Members that my remarks would be more properly made in Committee. Under ordinary circumstances I should place Amendments on the Paper, and discuss them in Committee; but when I observe that Amendments to meet my views of the case would be so numerous as to amount almost to a remodelling of the Bill; when I observe, considering the period of the Session at which we have arrived, that they could not be fully discussed, nor the sense of the House fairly ascertained, I am induced to abstain from any such course in deference to the opinion of those more experienced than myself, and to cast entirely on my right hon. Friend all responsibility as to details. I wish, however, plainly to say, that I cannot regard this measure as in any sense a settlement of the question—not even a temporary settlement of the question. There must be no mistake as to any supposed compromise in the matter. No compromise has been offered to the opponents of vivisection: all the concessions made have been made to the doctors, all the alterations made tend to secure advantages for physiologists, and every one of them has, in my opinion, made the Bill worse than it was before. But no doubt my right hon. Friend will say that the Bill is based on the Report of the Royal Commission. I therefore ask leave to state the reasons, or some of them, why we cannot accept the conclusions of the Report. In so doing I desire to speak with all respect of the Commission. I should be very sorry to bring against any one of 907 the Commissioners a charge of intentional partiality; but when I know that two eminent physiologists who are favourable to vivisection were on the Commission, and that there was on the Commission no professional man competent to discuss the question with them, I cannot feel any surprise that the Report should be tinged with a vivisectional colour; indeed, I am rather surprised that it is not more so. I imagine the lay influence must have kept the phyisologists in check. My first objection to the Report is that, in my opinion, it is founded on a fallacy. It assumes that which requires to be proved. Both the witnesses in their evidence, and the Commission in their Report, assume that there is a necessity for vivisection. We are not prepared to admit this; to assume it begs the whole question. I submit that if the evidence be fairly examined it may be shown that there is (1) no insuperable necessity for the practice of vivisection, and (2) that there exist sufficient reasons why on moral, social, and even scientific grounds the practice should not only be discouraged but prohibited. The moral sense of the country has been shocked by the details which have been published; and the more people see and hear of them the more convinced they are of the difficulty of dealing with the subject except by prohibiting it altogether. I have a further objection to the Report. It seems to me that it has a bias—I do not say an intentional bias—but none the less a decided bias, in favour of the physiologists. I will endeavour to prove this:—One of the great authorities which the Commissioners quote in favour of vivisection—indeed the authority, as I understand it, which they adduce to establish its necessity—is Haller. He was the great physiologist of the last century; and on page 9 they give us an extract from his writings. But I ask why is there no reference to Dr. Rolleston's evidence in connection with this extract from Haller's writings? He had told the Commission that…The famous Haller did at one time practice vivisections, in his own words supra fidem certè numerosas:…as he grew older he grew more sensitive to the infliction of pain; and, as is stated by Krug, Haller fell in his later age into a permanent anguish of conscience, which, is shown in his epistles, reproaching himself most bitterly for his vivisections….I should wish to state that Haller was by no 908 means in his dotage at that time, quite the reverse." (1290.)There is also a passage in the evidence of Sir William Fergusson, containing a similar sentiment. He says, in answer to the Question—Did I rightly understand from you just now that your own opinion in mature life was much less favourable to these experiments than it was when you were young?—Yes, because I had not the same grasp of the subject at that time. I was more perhaps influenced by what other people had done, and by the wish to come up to what they had done in regard to such matters, but the more matured judgment of recent years has led me to say to myself now that I would not perform some of the operations at this present time that I performed myself in earlier days." (1031.)From this I draw the inference that the cultivation of the moral sense and the growth of experience, do not dispose men to favour the practice of vivisection, but rather to regard it with disfavour. When eminent physiologists grow old, they reproach themselves for their practices, and affirm that vivisection "has not been of that immense value to human nature that some claim for it."(1015.) Would a remark to that effect have been out of place in the Report? Has not the fact an important bearing on its conclusions? Then I take another case. As an instance of the advantages derived from vivisection, the Report brings prominently forward that of the discovery of the circulation of the blood by Harvey. This is the great instance of the value of vivisection, which the physiologists are perpetually quoting in proof of their views. In the Report it is stated as an absolute certainty, that the circulation of the blood was discovered by vivisection. I ask, why is the evidence of Dr. Acland on this point wholly overlooked? Dr. Acland is a man of position and learning. He says, in answer to a Question on that subject—It is not quite certain what argumentation led Harvey to that, whether it was the observation of the living structure or the contemplation, of the dead structure." (991.)Why, again, is no reference made to the circumstance, given in evidence by Dr. Sharpey (394) and Mr. Turner (3025), that it was Malpighi who really established the doctrine in question, by means of the microscope? If I understand the evidence aright, there was a link want- 909 ing in the chain, which Harvey, notwithstanding his great attainments, could not supply: that vivisection failed to achieve the discovery, and that it is in truth due to anatomy and the microscope. Let me correct that somewhat—for I have no wish to hide the fact given in Mr. Turner's evidence, that Malpighi was a vivisect or, and that his observations with the microscope were made on the lungs of a frog—but on turning to Dr. Acland's evidence I find that the foot of a frog under the microscope is sufficient for the purpose; and I say that the evidence proves that the great discovery of the circulation of the blood might have been obtained without vivisection, by means of anatomy and the microscope. This, however, is not noticed in the Report. To take another instance of apparent bias in favour of vivisectors—the Report in page 10 seeks to establish the humanity of physiologists. It refers to a passage in Dr. Sharpey's evidence—that he was "utterly repelled" as a young man by Majendie's experiments in Paris, and that he does not now hesitate to speak of one of them as his "infamous" experiment. Now, Sir, I would gladly give Dr. Sharpey all the credit he deserves for his humane feelings; but when the Royal Commissioners hold him up as an example of humanity, I ask why no reference is made to the opinions expressed by him in answer to Questions (576) and (581)? He says—I think, for a great scientific end, I should justify it (a lingering, painful experiment) provided you could show that it was a great scientific end"…and "who is competent to inspect and say what is a scientific result or not? You must trust to the persons that you permit to make these experiments?If I understand that aright, there are principles laid down which go far to justify all that Majendie ever did. Dr. Sharpey's humanity seems to consist in sparing his own feelings. True humanity surely regards the feelings of the sufferer, not of the spectator. The examination of Mr. Lewes confirms this view of the humanity of physiologists. He does not propose to interfere with the practice of vivisectors; but he says, "I could not bear to experiment on dogs and cats." I do not understand the reason to be that they would suffer pain: it would be painful to him: others may experiment, and if he do not see it, he has no objec- 910 tion. Is that humanity? Sir, it is this spurious humanity—this hard-hearted humanity, which we dread in a medical man. So long as his own feelings are not touched, he sees no pain, no abuse. We dread the application of that principle of action to the human subject;—that the sufferings of the patient are to be of no consideration compared with the success of the operation, the reputation of the operator, and the advancement of science;—that all to be considered is the feeling of the bystanders, and the possible indignation of the public. And, let me ask, how do these gentlemen really differ from Dr. Klein? The hon. Member for Galway spoke of Dr. Klein as having been rather hardly treated. I agree with him. I do not sympathize with Dr. Klein's opinions, but I believe he honestly spoke the truth. He knew enough of the English language to speak the truth: possibly not enough to veil his meaning under a cloud of ambiguous words. He said that the consequences to be considered were those which concerned himself; not those which concerned animals: and that English physiologists took the same view. I think I have already shown that Dr. Klein is correct in that particular. But how does this bear on the question of anæsthetics? Is there not reason to think that if the physiologist has no fear of being bitten or scratched, he will be careless as to the administration of an anæsthetic? It appears to me to establish the opinion of Dr. Haughton. He was examined on this point, to the following effect:—You stated that you had no confidence in a mere regulation that experiments should be performed under anæsthetics. Could you give us any further reasons why you think that? I need not tell you that it is a most important part of the matter—well, that is notorious amongst physiologists. Unless the thing be inspected, I would not trust to it that complete anæsthesia would be produced. I would not trust the enthusiast who is dissecting to keep it up always as long as it was needed." (1892.)We have heard that he would be likely to do it for the sake of the operation itself because he would perform it with much greater ease under anæsthesia? If it would facilitate his operation it would, of course, always he used by him, but not always if it would not facilitate it." (1893.)You would not approve of its being taken out of the operation of the criminal Acts against cruelty if anæsthesia was used?—Most certainly not, because I know the practice is to use the anæsthesia very imperfectly, and when the controlling eye is gone to drop the use of it altogether." (1884.)911 Does not this render the recommendation in the Report, as to the use of anæsthetics, of doubtful value? Does it not add force to the opinion expressed by Sir William Fergusson?—I think there is a great weakness on the part of those who try to make it appear that vivisection on the lower animals may now be more readily done than it could be before because an experiment at the time of an animal being insensible is really of little or no value." (1080.)All this confirms my belief in the accuracy of the opinion expressed by a well-known physiologist (Dr. Hoggan) that anæsthetics are rather a curse than a blessing to the lower creatures, because they tend to lull public feeling towards vivisectors rather than pain in the vivisected. Again, on page 13 of the Report, I find the opinion of Sir James Paget is quoted on the subject of snake poison in India. Sir James is of opinion that it will be impossible to discover an antidote without experiments on animals. It seems to me worthy of note, that no reference is made to the opinion of Dr. Swaine Taylor on this subject, as given in answer to Question 1205. Dr. Taylor is a great authority on poisons, and his opinion may surely be considered as of some weight. Dr. Taylor was expressly questioned upon this subject. He was informed as to Sir James Paget's opinion, and was asked to say whether he agreed with it. The reply was "I do not." Yet the Report does not refer to this opinion expressed by Dr. Taylor. On page 15, I find that Sir James Paget's opinion is again quoted, with reference to legislative interference with vivisection. He advocates the establishment of a medical council to authorize experiments; being of opinion that though one man might do something unreasonable or unnecessary, the joint opinion of three or four members of the Medical Profession would be a guarantee against such abuses. Now, Sir, this bears on the Bill under consideration. The idea of Sir James Paget is in some sort adopted in Clause 11. I ask, why is there no reference in the Report to the fact given in evidence by Professor Haughton?—The recent trial at Norwich has established the fact that in a public medical congress and sanctioned by a majority of the members, an experiment was tried which has since been formally pronounced by two of the most emi- 912 nent surgeons in the kingdom to have been 'cruel and unnecessary.'" (1867.)Has this no bearing on the recommendation of the Royal Commission? Once more, on page 16, Dr. Rutherford is brought forward as an authority for experiments without anæsthetics, in lectures to students. He says that it is important to exhibit to a class the action of strychnine. When the Commission quote Dr. Rutherford, why do they not also quote Dr. Taylor? Is not he an equally good authority? What does he say?—With regard to strychnine I think in some of the evidence already before us it has been said that it is important that medical practitioners, when they are students, should see the operation of strychnine upon animals to see how it causes death. Is that your opinion?—I really do not consider it absolutely necessary. (1218.)…There is something very dreadful in the operation of strychnine upon an animal; no doubt it suffers agonizing pain." (1219.)In your judgment at the present day are the symptoms of poisoning by strychnine so well established that it is unnecessary to show students the operation itself, in order to enable them to see what the effect of strychnine is?—I think it quite unnecessary." (1222.)….There really is no point to be gained by poisoning an animal with strychnine; we gain nothing by it, and in my opinion it is a cruel experiment." (1179.)There is one other instance which, in my opinion, affords proof of a bias in the Report in favour of vivisection, to which I must refer. There was given in evidence a remarkable opinion by the late Sir Charles Bell with reference to the value of vivisection. No notice is taken of it in the Report. Sir Charles Bell is reported to have said or written (see The Times, August 13th, 1863, quoted by Mr. Colam in his evidence)—Experiments (vivisections) have never been the means of discovery; and the survey of what has been done of late years will prove that the opening of living animals has done more to perpetuate error, than to enforce the just views taken from anatomy and the natural motions.But Sir, so far as I am aware, there was no searching cross-examination of anybody, to ascertain when this opinion was given—under what circumstances and how it was given, what is the authority for it and the value of it. Sir Charles Bell was a great physiologist. The Report does not mention his opinion. Haller is quoted—Harvey is quoted—not Bell. Is it surprising, with this tendency to ignore the evidence of witnesses unfavourable to vivisection, that we 913 should be unable to accept the conclusions and recommendations of the Commission? I say, Sir, that this Bill, based on the Report of the Royal Commission, will not satisfy the country. I know that if we pass this Bill the disappointment of many persons will be very great: they would rather have no Bill at all. The vast majority of those who have petitioned this House on the subject are in favour of the total prohibition of vivisection. A Return has been recently laid on the Table, showing that the number of petitioners, asking for prohibition, is 146,889, whilst only 1,520 ask for restriction to be placed on the practice. I ask, what will be the practical effect of this Bill if it pass into law? Will not Dr. Ferrier continue to slice away the brains of his unfortunate monkeys, bit by bit—and under a certificate—I presume he will have one, if he choose—without anæsthetics, even in the presence of the Inspector; and to apply his electrodes to the tend rest parts of the body of his miserable victim? ["Oh!"] Have hon. Members read the accounts given in evidence of the proceedings of Dr. Ferrier? ["Oh!"] It may be disagreeable; it is very painful to read and to hear these details—but I must refer to them. I quote from "Proceedings of the Royal Society." (Page 276 of the Report of the Royal Commission.)—The ganglia were subjected to experimentation in the following seven cases….VI. In this case irritation of the right anterior tubercle (nates) caused intense dilation of both pupils—especially beginning in the left—elevation of the eyebrows, and turning of the eyeballs upward and to the left, at the same time that the head was turned in the same direction, with an intensely pathetic expression. Momentary application of the electrodes to the posterior tubercles (testes) caused the animal to bark loudly, the sound passing with longer stimulation into every conceivable variation of howling and screaming….XII….whenthe animal was nearly dead, irritation of the testes caused only powerful retraction of the angles of the mouth, so as to shew the firmly clenched teeth.Sir, I read that account with disgust and indignation. I know they say these experiments were performed under anæsthetics, and would make it appear that the animal suffers no more than the wires of a pianoforte. They will not persuade the public of that. The impression will prevail that there was at any rate imperfect narcosis: and people will not forget Dr. Ferrier's evidence, 914 when they observe his experiments. He said (3245)—I should say……that where the administration of an anæsthetic would prejudice the object for which the experiment was conceived, then the experiment is still justifiable, notwithstanding the fact that it might inflict a certain amount of pain on the animal.I repeat that I read the account of these experiments with disgust and indignation. They manifest, in my opinion, a refinement of cruelty, to be punished, not to be protected, by law. They manifest a refinement of cruelty which renders the operator, in my opinion, quite unfit to be trusted with the care of an animal, much less of a human being. When it comes to the knowledge of the public that these are the practices of a medical man who has free access to the lunatic asylums of the West Riding, public indignation will know no bounds. I wish to know from my right hon. Friend whether he considers that the published accounts of Dr. Ferrier's proceedings disqualify him from holding a licence or a certificate under this Bill? If not, it may well be regarded as a Physiologist's Protection Bill. Dr. Sibson, in like manner, under the theory that "there is very little suffering inflicted" in baking, freezing, or "carefully starving"(they are his own words) animals, may, if he chooses, practice these experiments, which are in his estimation "the reverse of painful." (4745. 4749.) Dr. Rutherford, under this Bill, may go on with his biliary fistula, and subject not 40 but 100 dogs, if he likes, to protracted pain, of which Dr. McKendrick tells us that it is "very considerable." Dr. Legg may gratify his scientific crotchets on an unnumbered series of wretched cats left to pine away in misery—and all with impunity, under the protection of the law! When all this is understood; when it is understood that the Secretary of State can only withdraw a licence in extreme cases and that the secrets of the torture-chambers will rarely reach his ears; when the public read the Blue Book, and the details of the horrible practices come to be known; when they understand that in registered places, and by licensed persons, these practices may be pursued with impunity, I do not doubt the result. England will ring from one end to the other with the cry that they shall be stopped. I cannot believe that 915 Englishmen will ever permit cruelty to be perpetrated in the name of science. I regret, Sir, that the doctors have taken up the subject in the way in which they have done; that the leaders of the Profession have identified themselves with the practice of vivisection. They think they have great power, it is true. I admit that their influence is very powerful; but there are things more powerful than the influence of the doctors, and one of them is, that English feeling which has been outraged. I cannot believe that Englishmen will suffer cruelty to be veiled under the guise of science, or will tolerate, in England, in the nineteenth century, practices worthy only of the dark ages.
§ MR. LOWE
said, that the question before the House was whether they should read that Bill the second time or not, and that depended on the provisions of the Bill itself and on the character of the persons who were to be affected by them. As to the provisions of the Bill itself, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had gained rather more advantage than he was entitled to by the very conciliatory manner in which he had opened that discussion, because no doubt he had persuaded hon. Members who had not looked carefully into the matter, that the Bill was exceedingly mild and gentle; that it was a Bill to which no reasonable person would object, and one from which the sting had been taken by the suggestions that he had made, and that therefore the House ought to accept it as a satisfactory settlement of the question. Now, for himself, he was sorry to say that, with every wish to meet the right hon. Gentleman half-way, his opinion on that matter would not allow him to do so. He regarded that measure as a very harsh and severe measure, and thought its harshness and severity were aggravated by the character of the people against whom—and against whom alone—it was directed. It began by declaring an entirely new offence—namely, that of performing on an animal any experiment calculated to give pain. The House was probably aware that no punishment by the law of England was attached to the moral offence of giving pain, and therefore the present Bill was an attempt to make a new criminal offence. Having commenced by this rather strong measure, the Bill went on 916 to set out seven different things that must be done in order to avoid the penalties it imposed. In addition to that there were four different means by way of certificate by which a person could obtain a relaxation of the seven different things with which they were called upon to comply. Very great powers were vested in the Secretary of State, and no experiment could be performed except upon licensed premises. The language of the Bill was such as to lead to the supposition that the persons against whom it was directed were persons engaged in a disreputable or doubtful trade, who were unworthy of trust and had wicked propensities, and against whom the most stringent precautions had to be taken. There was no precedent for any Bill of this kind except by that furnished by measures directed against persons who in years gone by used to be called "body-snatchers," and this fact was by no means complimentary to the Medical Profession, against whom this measure of exceptional severity was proposed to be enacted. Had the Home Secretary thought fit to incorporate in a Bill the four excellent rules laid down by the British Association, he could have entertained no objection to it. It was one thing to make the laws for putting down wicked or immoral or cruel practices, and it was another to establish a machinery of inspection and supervision which was to the last degree an insult to an educated and scientific body of men, and which imposed a stigma upon them which nothing could wash away. He objected to the Bill because it was, in his opinion, one of the most stringent and degrading character directed against the Medical Profession, telling them in so many words that they were not to be trusted to conduct experiments, and placing them in the hands of a class of officials. If wrong, he should be most happy to be corrected; but he challenged the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department to produce any precedent for the measure except in the case of those directed against persons labouring under the gravest suspicion. The next question was—who were the persons against whom the Bill was directed? They were the physiologists. And who were the physiologists? They were almost without exception medical men. If persons possessing no medical knowledge 917 took upon themselves to tamper with the life or the sensations of inferior animals, he should not object to a measure being passed to put a stop to such a practice; But what he objected to was that a number of gentlemen who had received the highest medical education, who had taken degrees of the highest merit, men to whom the most precious lives and the most important secrets, involving the happiness of families, were entrusted, who often had to exercise judicial and quasi-judicial functions, and who, with rare exceptions, justified the confidence reposed in them, were to be subjected to supervision and restraint as though they were capable of the most cruel and wicked acts. He was surprised that any amount of popular clam our or expression of feeling on the part of ignorant persons could have induced Her Majesty's Government to introduce a measure that was so manifestly unfair and unjust as the present. While the possession of the medical degree did not, perhaps, insure, it gave sound and reasonable ground for believing that men who had passed severe examinations, and who had proved themselves to be of competent skill could be trusted in matters of this kind without their being fettered by the restrictions now proposed to be imposed upon them. If there were any doubt upon the point he need only appeal to the Report of the Commission to remove it. Although he was unable to agree in the recommendations of that Commission, yet he must say that their Report bore the most ample testimony to the humanity and the good feeling of the Medical Profession and also to that of the medical students. In these circumstances, he was entitled to ask where was the ground for this extraordinary legislation, for this inspection and reporting, for this creation of a new offence, and all the machinery contained in the Bill? What had the Medical Profession done that it should be subjected to such insulting and degrading restrictions? It might, perhaps, be said that notwithstanding their high opinion of the Medical Profession, the Commission had recommended that some stringent measure should be passed, but let the Commissioners answer that. He confessed that it certainly was inexplicable to him that, entertaining that high opinion of the Profession, they should have arrived at such a conclusion. Plato 918 had said that the people of his Republic, being well trained up, would require but few laws; yet here were a class of educated gentlemen, admirably trained up, for whom the House of Commons was asked to legislate in the most stringent manner. Turning to another branch of the subject, he wished to point out that this Bill was drawn up without the slightest reference to the existing state of the law in England, insomuch that that law was entirely confined to domestic animals. Under the present law any person who cruelly ill treated a domestic animal was liable to a penalty of £5, or to two months' imprisonment, and that was the whole of the law on the subject of cruelty to animals in this country, with the exception of some provisions against bull-baiting, badger-drawing, and cock-fighting, which were directed rather against riotous assemblings and breaches of the peace than in favour of humanity. The law did not say a word in favour of non-domestic animals; so far as they were concerned, their charter of freedom and mercy had not yet been begun to be written in the legislation of this country. By the Bill two blacks were made a white—that was to say, the infliction of pain, which was not a crime, and the trying of an experiment, which was not a crime, when added together made a crime, and the result was that—in which it was justified—in the only case in which the suffering of animals could be entirely justified by the end in view the infliction of it was made penal. The crime created by the Bill was not the infliction of pain upon an animal, but the infliction of that pain for the purposes of experiment for the benefit of mankind. Let him put a case by way of illustration. It was said that by the infliction of torture upon a monkey, the animal in its agony could be made to make the most extraordinary and grotesque grimaces. Supposing a medical man, in the interests of human life, inflicted such torture upon a monkey by way of experiment, he would come within the provisions of this Bill and would be liable to punishment. But where a man for mere amusement, and to gratify a morbid curiosity, inflicted the same torture, in order to witness these grotesque grimaces, he would not come within the provisions of the Bill and would not be liable to punishment 919 under it. Was it possible to reduce legislation to a lower depth of absurdity? The only parallel to it was the defence of the persons charged under the Act against wounding with intent to disfigure that they had wounded a man with the intent not to disfigure but to murder him. Terrible cruelties were practised in the preparation of food for man which were not punishable by law. Thus, turtles were hung by the feet with their heads downwards for 24 hours before they were killed, in order that the blood might settle in the head and the meat be white for the table, and crabs were put into cold water and were gradually boiled alive. What, then, was the course that ought to be pursued? It had been indicated in the Petition presented to that House by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh, which had been signed by upwards of 3,000 medical men, in which they urged the Government to deal with the general law of cruelty to animals, and to lay down rules which would include themselves in the event of their being guilty of wanton cruelty, but not to pass a measure that would put them, as distinct from the general community, under a peculiar stigma. He also ventured to recommend the adoption of that course to Her Majesty's Government, for he was satisfied that the benefit of the human race, and even of animals, was concerned in the advancement of physiology, and that they would be acting cruelly if they put a stop to it. He therefore trusted that they would introduce a Bill prohibiting all acts of cruelty towards inferior animals, whether domestic or non-domestic, and prevent them being subjected to any suffering at human hands at all. But even if such a measure were passed, it should contain an exception in favour of the very men against whom the present measure was directed, who should be allowed under proper restrictions to make experiments which had for their object the benefit not only of the human race but of the animals themselves. They would thus do away with all the inspection and certification, and the law would then work in the old English way—it would work itself. They would not only have then adopted an efficient way of putting down all real cruelty, but would have proclaimed the great charter of 920 mercy to the whole creation. They would then have done far more to make it impossible that any cruelty could be practised in particular cases than if they multiplied all these small precautions so as to form the staple of the Bill. He protested against a measure of this kind, which was framed upon spurious ideas of mercy, and hoped that the House would not allow it to pass, at all events, in its present shape.
§ MR. PERCY WYNDHAM,
in opposing the Bill, said, he wished to point out that, even if the number of gentlemen who would be affected by this Bill was only 12 or 20 it was none the less incumbent upon the House to see that justice was done them irrespective of any clamour which might have arisen on this subject out-of-doors. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had just alluded to the Report of the Commission, and it appeared that by the adoption of a very unusual course the Government measure went far beyond the recommendations which that Report contained. It was quite evident that the Government, doubtless owing to pressure that had been brought to bear upon them from influential quarters, had intended at one time to make this measure even more stringent than it was at present, and he had seen with considerable satisfaction the Amendments proposed by the Government as an indication of their intention to somewhat retrace their steps in that direction. Those who advocated these restrictions being placed upon medical men, on the ground that to authorize vivisection was to legalize cruelty, should not forget that the laws of nature in connection with animal life were all cruel, and therefore everything which was done as regarded it must necessarily be connected with torture. But the motive with which these experiments were undertaken more than palliated—entirely removed—any cruelty which might be supposed to attend them; and, in his opinion, it was perfectly astounding that men who spent their lives and their fortunes in inflicting death and pain in some shape or another on the inferior animals, as a matter of sport, should have taken an active part in the agitation in favour of this Bill. He objected to the Bill on three grounds—first, that it proposed to enact that places should be registered for the purpose of experiments instead of licences being 921 given to individuals to conduct them; secondly, that it authorized the appointment of Inspectors by the Home Secretary; and thirdly, that it exempted dogs and cats from experiments. In his opinion, there should be no exemptions in a Bill of this character.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
Sir, there are two Bills relating to vivisection before this House. The Government Bill admits its necessity, but regulates its practice so as to prevent or diminish animal suffering. The Bill of the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Holt) is of much wider scope, both in what it prevents and admits. It wholly prohibits physiologists from making experiments on living animals; but it proposes to give the sanction of the law (I think for the first time) to all those cruel cuttings and mutilations which man performs on domestic animals to make them of more use to him. Now, these two Bills fairly represent the phases of public feeling on this subject. The thorough prohibition of scientific vivisection is aimed at the practices of about a dozen physiologists all through the Kingdom, although not one instance of cruelty has been established against them during the three years' agitation of the subject. And the same Bill throws a legal mantle of protection around the thousands of our countrymen who hunt, who slaughter, who maim animals either for pleasure or profit. I know that the hon. Gentleman thinks he has Scriptural warranty in the grant of animals to man for food, but it is difficult to include in such a warranty the hunting of foxes or even ordinary sport. There is another Scriptural authority which tells us that we often strain at gnats and swallow camels, and the Bill to my mind rather illustrates that itCompounds the sins it is inclined to,By damning those it has no mind to.The Government Bill, on the other hand, settles itself on one portion of the field of cruelty and resolves to regulate that. There is this full justification for such a course, that all unavoidable animal suffering ought to be repressed. Only do not let us be under a misapprehension. We propose to regulate one minute corner of the vast field of the cruelty of the world. When we do so we are bound to survey the whole field for legislation on a future occasion. Because when our legislative conscience has been 922 once awakened it cannot be stifled by a mere action of infinitesimal magnitude. Let us then understand that we are now occupied with the discussion of an insignificant and scarcely perceptible corner in the great field of cruelty in the world. All nature is red-handed. Animals prey upon each other and even rejoice in torture. Their very instincts are formed in the attempt of one class of animals chasing others to eat them alive, and of the latter trying to escape being caught. Man is no exception. He is an omnivorous animal, with carnivorous propensities. He chases, fishes, hunts, slaughters, with a keen zest for enjoyment. In the midst of his daily exercise of cruelty, he hears with horror that a dozen physiologists in this country inflict suffering on animals, not in the warm pursuit of the chase, but in what seems to him a cold-blooded pursuit of knowledge; and his conscience is aroused against them, but not against himself. He forgets that it is not only in the excitement of the chase that cruelty is inflicted. Agriculturists are vivisectors on a huge scale. We scarcely eat a mutton chop unless the sheep has been cruelly castrated. Cattle are treated in the same way; and even female animals, such as sows, are subjected to a severe operation when they are spayed. The very horses which we ride have been mutilated by a cruel and painful operation when young. Minor vivisections are of constant occurrence. Farmers cut off the tails of sheep, or snip out portions of the ears of animals, but no one calls them vivisectors. Cruelty in supplying us with food has hitherto not been subject to legislation, though I hope it will be as a sequel to this Bill. I know nothing more cruel than the mode of supplying rabbits to the Billingsgate market. They are caught in traps, and struggle through the whole night in cruel anguish, often with broken legs, till the keeper comes in the morning to put them out of their misery. We crimp salmon, cod, and skate, when alive. We throw lobsters into boiling water, or, what is worse, put the living lobster into cold water and gradually boil it. Now, if one of our dozen physiologists was to describe a single experiment made with such a reckless disregard of animal suffering as is daily perpetrated in preparing animals for food, he would be scouted by his brother physiologists and be driven out of the 923 Kingdom. Against such wholesale and wanton acts of cruelty as these no clamour has been raised. A mere ministration to the appetite of one man is thought to justify any amount of animal suffering; but the profit to the whole human race of a successful and well-devised physiological experiment is no excuse to the man of science if he inflict suffering in the pursuit of knowledge. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary intends to modify this Bill materially, but had it passed into law in its present form, see how different would have been the position of two men in regard to cruelty. Let us take an oyster for illustration. Any man to gratify his appetite may do what he likes with a living oyster. He vivisects it when he cuts its muscular attachment to the shell; he may subject it to as intense pain as its low organization is susceptible of by covering it with vinegar and pepper. He may vivisect it in his mouth by the action of his teeth, or he may swallow it whole to be slowly killed in his stomach by the gradual action of its gastric juice, just as fishing birds do with the fish which they swallow. Now turn to the physiologist. Had this Bill become law in its present form, if my friend Dr. Sharpey, in his researches on ciliary movements, were to cut an oyster and put it under the microscope, without registering his house and receiving a certificate from the Secretary of State, this Bill would have fined him £50 or £100 pounds, or have given him three months' imprisonment. What I want the House clearly to understand is, that all the animal suffering which will be prevented when this Bill becomes law is quite microscopic when contrasted with the suffering which will continue outside its operations. Nevertheless, I fully admit that is no argument against legislation. All that it justifies me in contending is, that we must not legislate unreasonably under the influence of a sentimental panic, which arose from an imperfect acquaintance with facts, although now the Royal Commission has done much good service in putting them in their true light. There are, however, well-grounded reasons for legislation, and these operated upon me last year when I introduced a Bill on the same subject. Though the Bill was introduced by me, it was in reality prepared by very eminent physiologists, 924 among whom I may mention Mr. Darwin, Mr. Huxley, and Dr. Burdon Sanderson, and was approved by the heads of the two Colleges in London. It is obvious, therefore, that physiologists themselves were early in the field in recognition of the necessity for legislation; and I will explain why they were so. They knew, as the Royal Commission has since told the public, that they uniformly adopted methods for preventing animal suffering or for mitigating it in the few instances in which it is inevitable, and they desired that this customary obligation should be made statutory in order to inform and relieve the public mind. It is an obvious duty of men of science to use all the means for the relief of animal suffering which their own researches have placed at their disposal. For instance, the great physician Sir James Simpson was an active experimentalist on animals. In his desire to relieve animal suffering he discovered the use of chloroform as an anæsthetic. After that discovery he, and every other physiologist, were bound to use this scientific discovery to prevent pain, especially when it was inflicted by themselves. This moral obligation was recognized by the Medical Profession, and was acted upon by physiologists. This the Royal Commission fully admits. The custom of using anæsthetics, when experiments are made on animals, is already universal in this country, and physiologists are willing to convert a customary into a statutory obligation. But this will not satisfy those who desire to abolish vivisection. There are some persons both inside and outside of this House who honestly think that experiments on animals are unjustifiable at all times, and that they never produce benefit to man. To them all the array of beneficial discoveries described in the evidence given before the Royal Commission have no meaning. They assert that even the discovery of the use of chloroform was not derived through experiments on animals, but by direct experiment of Sir James Simpson on himself and his assistant. This may be so, for he was a bold experimentalist; but I have often seen him try experiments for new anæsthetics on animals. Let me instance one of these. I drew his attention to a new etherial liquid which I thought might have anæsthetic qualities. Sir James Simpson was so struck with it that he desired at once to try it in my 925 laboratory. I, however, refused to supply him, unless he promised me to try it first on rabbits. On administering it to them they quickly became insensible, and duly recovered. Next morning Sir James Simpson was about to inhale it himself, but on looking into the rabbit hatch he found all the animals dead. Now, the extreme anti-vivisectionists would think this an unjustifiable experiment. I do not. I think it was a small matter that the rabbits died, but a great matter that the life of my distinguished medical friend was saved, and that for years after he lived to relieve the sufferings of humanity by his experience and his discoveries. There is a considerable misapprehension in the public mind as to the term "vivisection." It does not mean that animals are cut open to see what goes on in their inside. That used to be the meaning ages ago in the infancy of physiological knowledge. Perhaps that was the method of learning anatomy in the primitive University of Alexandria, for even at a later period criminals were handed over to the surgeon to be operated on. But these practices are matters of history. The experiments now performed are on individual parts, and, with very few exceptions, are made upon an animal rendered as insensible to pain as a log of wood. Experiments are of three kinds. First, there are those which are made to acquire a further and deeper insight into the laws of life; second, those required to elicit the action of poisons or remedies; third, those performed to ascertain the nature and progress of various diseases. The simple enumeration of these purposes contains within them their justification to all reasonable minds. For if animals are properly used by man for his food, and may be hunted and slaughtered with this object, surely a few of them may be used, in a state of insensibility, to discover new knowledge which is of infinite importance for the well-being, not only of man, but also of the domestic animals with which he is brought into close relations. No argument is necessary to convince an enlightened audience of the reasonableness of this proposition. The question here before us is—Does this Bill, while putting no unwise obstructions in the way of such experiments, secure to the animals an immunity from unnecessary suffering? I do not admit, in fact I wholly 926 deny, that there has been any indifference to animal suffering in the experiments of physiologists. But if the public conscience requires to be satisfied that no future indifference may arise, physiologists ought to be the last to resist any securities which may be taken for the prevention of cruelty. And I understand that they desire this Bill to pass, if the Amendments indicated in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department are adopted by the House. In fact, their scientific work is interrupted by an agitation, so cruel and unjust to themselves, that I believe I am right when I state that there is not a single experimental physiologist in the Kingdom who does not desire the agitation to be ended by a reasonable law, which will satisfy the public conscience that they, as physiological experimentalists, are using all the precautions of science. All the leading physiologists of the country have assured me that this is their feeling either personally or by letter. The Medical Profession at large was much dissatisfied with this Bill in its first form. The Medical Faculty of my own University did not even like the Bill which I introduced last year, and they thought this Bill, as originally introduced, was an insult to medical science. But I admit that the concessions made by the Government have materially modified the feelings of the Medical Profession. They were jealous of the honour of physiologists, who, they think, have been attacked in an unjustifiable way, and in a generous spirit of professional pride they at first desired to defeat the Bill. They felt that the charge of inhumanity which has been brought against the most humane of all Professions was one keenly to be resented. I have no title to speak for medical men generally, even although 3,500 of them have to-day asked me to present their Petition; but I can say that many of my constituents who have addressed me on the subject will be gratified by the large concessions made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who has now ranged himself on the side of humanity with the physiologists themselves, and has removed those provisions of the Bill which obstructed science and were thought to insult its followers. But I think that, after the Amendments promised by the Government, if this Bill be thrown out, agita- 927 tion will largely increase, and that a reasonable Bill in the future will be attainable with more difficulty. The force of public opinion on the subject is underrated by many of my medical friends. No doubt it is an exaggerated and uninstructed public opinion, but this very fact renders it more dangerous to the progress of science. Had this Bill been what it was when first introduced, medical men would have been fully justified in continuing to give it an uncompromising opposition. But now the proposed Amendments will confine it to making statutory the very precautions against suffering which physiologists in this country have made customary. Why, then, should it be met in a spirit of opposition, if we can amend its provisions? It seems to me to be a mistake to bring physiological science into collision with public opinion, simply because that is uninstructed and does not know that what it demands as law is exactly what physiologists already do by custom. If public conscience be satisfied by a statutory security that men of science will continue to employ these precautions, there is no real objection in our concessions to a public demand. The first of the changes which I understand the right hon. Gentleman opposite consents to introduce into his Bill is to limit its operation to "warm-blooded" animals. With this definition, mammals and birds will come under the operation of the Bill; but reptiles, amphibia, and fishes will be excluded. Such an exclusion is consistent with the recent advances of physiology. For although, from the nature of the case, it is nearly impossible to demonstrate that the lower animals have complete insensibility to pain, there is strong reason for believing that cold-blooded animals have a far less sensibility than warm-blooded animals. A salmon caught with a fly pulls in a way which would be impossible to a creature of sensitive organization. In fact, if we had not some assurance of this, many of our common practices would be intolerably cruel. Thus a worm writhing on a hook, or fishes piled up in a heap to die of suffocation, would be utterly repulsive to humanity if these creatures possessed high sensibility to pain. A fisherman places a live frog on a hook to troll for pike, and could only do so on the assurance that it has not acute suffering. Mere reflex motions of an active charac- 928 ter do not indicate pain. A sea anemone in a pool clutches and swallows its prey with the same avidity as a sentient and intelligent animal, though there is no reason to believe that it has more feeling than a sensitive plant. But this Bill, by its original terms, would have made an experiment on a sea anemone as penal as that on a cat or a dog. By it a naturalist going for a holiday to the seaside could not have experimented on a jelly fish, or on a limpet which he pulls off a rock, unless he obeyed all its provisions. This want of definition of an animal placed both the naturalist and the right hon. Gentleman in an absurd position. The right hon. Gentleman is a great official entrusted with high functions and responsibilities, but a Home Secretary as a protector of the lower forms of animallife—a great officer of State charged to protect jelly fish and limpets—is an absurdity. He has therefore done right to confine the Bill to warm-blooded animals of sensitive organization, and to trust to the physiologist that he will not exercise cruelty on any form of animal life. The evidence before the Commission shows that this is an acknowledged rule even in regard to frogs, which have much more consideration at the hands of physiologists than of fishermen. I observe, in passing, that the intended modification of the Bill in regard to prosecutions—against which the Home Secretary may issue his veto, if they are trivial and vexatious—will be as welcome to medical men as the increased trust to be reposed in them in regard to the places in which experiments may be made. The right hon. Gentleman modifies the clauses as to the power of experimenting on domestic animals, such as the cat and dog. Doubtless they are highly sensitive creatures, but both are readily placed under the influence of chloroform. If they were excluded, as originally proposed in the Bill, the most valuable results of such experiments to the benefit of man would have been lost, for the experience derived from the action of remedies and poisons on herbivorous animals is little applicable to man. A poison acts quite differently on a rabbit and on a man. A rabbit will eat belladonna without much injury, but that poison acts on dogs and cats as it does upon man. It is right that with sensitive creatures like dogs and cats, every pre- 929 caution against pain should be taken; but to have prevented physiologists from experimenting upon them would have been a fatal blow to the progress of physiology. In conclusion, I think, after the statements of the right hon. Gentleman, his Bill has assumed a form which will make it more acceptable to men of science than it was when first introduced. Physiologists have always admitted in this country that they were under a moral obligation to use all the resources of science to prevent or to lessen the infliction of pain in their experiments. They also have fully admitted that such experiments should be confined to qualified and skilled persons, and that reckless, ill-considered, and purposeless experiments should be prohibited. As I understand the Bill in the light of the explanations which we have received to-day, this is now the motive and extent of the Bill which we are asked to pass. By it we will have the surety that physiological research on living animals will in the future be limited to the competent scientific investigator, who is ready to bring all the resources of science to prevent or mitigate the suffering attendant on the experiments. You will have far more security that this will be accomplished by reposing more confidence in the humane spirit of investigators than you would have had under the original stringent clauses of the Bill. For a statute cannot regulate individual motives and consciences, when these have been placed in antagonism to its provisions; but a statute which asks physiologists to co-operate with the State in preventing cruelty to animals will be obeyed with alacrity, when its chief purpose is to convert into law the humane precautions which the investigators had already imposed upon themselves by custom.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he agreed with his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe) that it was desirable to put down all kinds of cruelty in the world, but the difficulty was how that was to be done. The duty the Commissioners, of whom he (Mr. Forster) was one, had to perform was simply to consider whether there was a case for stopping the suffering and pain caused by scientific experiments; and the conclusion at which he had arrived in course of the inquiry, was that the evil in question was in 930 some degree a necessary one. To his mind, it was proved most clearly that less pain was caused by vivisection in this country than he had imagined to be the case, and he was convinced that the progress of science did to a certain extent depend upon experiments made on living animals, and that it would be wrong and foolish to attempt to put a stop absolutely to vivisection. It was clearly proved that such an endeavour would prevent discoveries in the healing art tending to save life and diminish pain both in man and the lower animals. They learnt that physiologists on the Continent inflicted a great amount of agony in the course of their experiments; and such things naturally affected the public sentiment. Unnecessary cruelty was a different thing. It was impossible to hear of experiments causing misery for hours without feeling that unless absolutely necessary they ought to be stopped; and he was glad to say that physiologists agreed with the Commissioners in the opinion that painful experiments ought not to be performed for the mere purpose of teaching, and that anæsthetics ought, whenever possible, to be resorted to. The only question, then was whether it would be better to legislate on the subject, or to trust to the force of public opinion for the prevention of abuses. Well, he believed he was not going too far when he said that, in recommending the former course, the Commissioners carried with them the sentiment of the Medical Profession. Medical men felt that a reasonable law would to a certain extent be a protection for them, and that if the four resolutions of the British Association were passed into law there would be something very like the present Bill. It was true that a large number of them had uttered a protest, but that was against the Bill as originally drawn. For himself, he would suggest that if it was to be provided that wherever in the investigation of truth it was thought to be necessary to make a painful experiment, an exception should be made against unskilled persons, some definition ought to be given of who was a skilled and who was an unskilled person. With regard to the distinction between warm and cold-blooded animals, he did not hold quite the same view as his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Play- 931 fair) in the definition of animals, and therefore he hoped the words "cold-blooded" would not be used. A very large proportion, amounting it was said to nine-tenths, of the experiments on animals was made on frogs; and authorities who came before him most distinctly declined to say that frogs did not feel pain. The only thing clear to his mind was that common anæsthetics had no effect on the frog, and therefore its—the frog's—position was probably worse than that of other animals. On the whole, he did not think it would be right to lay down any distinction which would exclude frogs. It was very easy to say, as an argument against the Bill, that a vast amount of cruelty was left untouched, but that was no reason why a remedy should not be provided for the particular kind of cruelty dealt with in the Bill. He hoped this would be the beginning of a new course of legislation for diminishing the amount of cruelty inflicted on the animal creation, whether domestic animals or not. Even sportsmen might in the course of time find it their duty to give up sport, or at all events to conduct it on more humane principles than they did at present. Hundreds and thousands of cases of cruelty could be shown to arise from the mere love of killing living creatures, and the simple provision—to adopt the words of the Commisioners—that sport should not be practised by "unskilled persons," or by anybody with "insufficient instruments" might alone do a great deal of good. Believing that the Bill would have a decidedly beneficial effect, he trusted Parliament would be able to pass it this Session.
§ MR. DISRAELI
expressed a hope that the House would allow a decision to be come to at that stage of the Bill, adding that hon. Members who wished to speak on the subject would have an opportunity of doing so on the third reading.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.