§ With a view to promoting the efficiency of teaching and advanced study, a local education authority for the purposes of Part II. of the Education Act, 1902, may aid teachers and students to carry on any investigation for the advancement of learning or research in or in connection with an educational institution, and with that object may aid educational institutions.855
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to move, after the word "investigation," to insert the words "not being an investigation under the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876.'"
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The Clause gives power to the local education authority for any teachers and students to carry on any investigation for the advance of learning or research in or in connection with an educational institution, and with that object may aid educational institutions. These words are rather vague, and indistinct, and may be construed to include any kind of research, and, therefore, I desire to put in, after "investigation," these words, "not being an investigation under the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876." I desire to nut those words in for this reason. I do not want here to enter into any discussion as to whether experiments prohibited under that Act were right or wrong, but I want to point out that there are a large number of people who hold that the experiments dealt with in that Act should not be conducted by moneys derived from the ratepayer or the taxpayer, as the case may be, and who strongly object to this expenditure. If private people choose to enter into experiments of that sort, always subject, of course, to the directions and limitations of that Act, that is another matter. On that I do not wish to raise any discussion to-night, but I do think that it is not right—I am glad the Leader of the House has come in to hear this—that people should be compelled to contribute their money to the support of education, and, at the same time, that moneys so provided should be taken to promote experiments, to which some of the people have strong objection, it is quite outside the scope of the Bill to enable local authorities to give money for the advancement of experiments in any research, and it is not really necessary for the education of young children, or even young persons, that that should be done. It may be a very good thing that certain people should carry on research in these matters, and it may be right for people who believe in it to 856 assist them to do so, but I believe it to be wrong to take public money which ratepayers are compelled to give in order to advance these experiments. I really hope that the President of the Board of Education will accept this Amendment. As I have already said, its acceptance will not in any way interfere with the cause of education, but it would be an act of justice, acceptable to a large number of people, that their money should not be used and that they should not be forced to subscribe their money to purposes to which they have an objection.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I beg to move, "That the Debate be now adjourned." We have made very considerable progress, such progress as no one expected to make, and I think my right hon. Friend would make a great mistake at this time of night, to ask us to consider one or two very important Clauses which have yet to be reached.
May I ask what business will be taken to-morrow, as so much progress has been made with the Bill to-night, and whether my right hon. Friend will continue the Education Bill to-morrow rather than go on with it to a late hour this evening? As far as we are concerned, we shall be prepared to reach Clause 25, but I think it will meet the general convenience of the House that we shall not go further.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
In regard to business to-morrow, we shall continue the remaining stages of this Bill, and if time permit we shall also take the Statutory Undertakings (Temporary Increase of Charges) Bill, Committee, and the War Loan Bill, Committee. On Wednesday, which was set aside for this Bill, we propose to take the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Bill and other small Bills.
§ Motion, "That the Debate be now adjourned," by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir GEORGE GREENWOOD
I beg to second the Amendment.
I myself moved an Amendment to this effect on the Committee stage, but I think I need not apologise for raising this question again, for two reasons. One is that 857 some of us feel very strongly upon the question, and the other is that the wording of the Clause has been materially altered in Committee. The Clause as it originally stood was,With a view to promoting the efficiency of teaching and advanced study a local education Authority for the purposes of Part II. of the Education Act, 1902, may aid teachers and students to carry on research.That has been materially altered, because on the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Larmor) words were put in, and the Clause now stands that the local education authoritymay aid teachers and students to carry on any investigation for the advancement of learning or research in, or in connection with, an educational institution.I read that in this way: that "any investigation" applies to the word "research" just as much as it applies to the advancement of learning. So that, under the Clause as it stands, the local education authority could not give money to an educational institution for research simply, but only to aid teachers and students to carry on any investigation for the advancement of research, and that research, of course, might include research by means of experiments upon living animals. The President of the Board of Education said in Committee that "research" was a very innocent word, but my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge pointed out that it had "come to have a meaning which makes one rather creep." I think that was a mistake in the OFFICIAL REPORT, and that it was "which makes one's flesh rather creep," and it certainly is a word which does make my flesh rather creep. I know there is a certain section of the community which has fixed to the word "research" a special meaning, namely, that it is research by means of experiment upon living animals. We know there is a society for the defence of research. Research in this country needs no defence. We are all for research, but this particular society was simply for the advancement of research by experiment upon living animals. In the same way the Home Office, before granting a certificate under the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876, used to consult, and was guided by, an association for the advancement of medicine by research. That was simply research by experiments upon living animals. Under Section 16 of the National Insurance Act the Commissioners may 858 retain the whole or any part of moneys provided by Parliament for sanatorium benefit for the purposes of research. We had Amendments to that Clause, but they were never reached owing to the guillotine closure, and the result is now that a very large portion—upwards of £60,000—of moneys intended by Parliament primarily for sanatorium benefit may be applied, and is applied, for the purposes of research, namely, research by means of experiments upon living animals. We have, therefore, already, out of the taxpayers' money, State endowment for experiments on living animals. I am not now arguing as to whether what is commonly called vivisection is right or wrong, but we have felt it an enormous injustice that the cost of these experiments should be placed upon the taxpayers generally, because under that Clause we have had—I do not say whether rightly or wrongly—extremely painful experiments on animals. For instance, there was an experiment reported in the "Quarterly Journal of Experimental Physiology"—I am not going to delay the House over this matter, but only put it forward as an illustration of endowment out of public funds—on a large number, eighty dogs and cats. They had their thyroid glands and parathyroid glands cut out, and the sciatic nerve severed; the effect was watched to see how long it was before the animals died, or had to be destroyed. That is research! We desire to guard against the further extension of this sort of State endowment under the cover of education. I am not arguing the general question of vivisection, but confining myself to painful experiments upon living animals. I am one of those—I do not hesitate to say it!—who think that it is morally unjustifiable to experiment upon animals in this manner if you expose them to serious pain or torture. I myself have never heard the principle upon which it can be justified. I have heard it said that you can do anything for the sake of the acquisition of knowledge. That is to me a very curious basis of ethics upon which to argue. I do not think it will for a moment stand investigation. If you are justified in doing anything to acquire knowledge in this matter,The proper study of mankind is man!We are told that it is not allowable to vivisect men; therefore the principle that the acquisition of knowledge justifies everything goes at once by the board.
Apart altogether from the question as to whether these experiments are right or 859 wrong, I do think that the House would assent to two propositions—first, to see that these experiments should not be put upon public funds; and, secondly, that these experiments should not form any part of the higher education of students or any part of the functions of the teachers. That this may be so under this Clause has been admitted by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cambridge University, who wants this particular form of research to be included in the Education Bill. Thereore it is a very real danger against which we are protesting. It is not an imaginary danger. Now that the Clause has been altered as it has been, so that money can only be given by the local education authority in the case of any special investigation for the advancement of learning or research, I do think that the President might accept this Amendment. I have handed to the right hon. Gentleman another Amendment simply to omit the words "or research." If he cannot accept the first, I do hope he will see his way to accept the second Amendment. It surely is enough in the Education Bill to say that the local authority may pay for the purpose of the higher education of students or teachers for any investigation for the advancement of learning, without bringing in this troublesome word "research," to which we have so much objection, and which, rightly or wrongly, does give an opening for things to be done which we think are morally unjustifiable.
Everyone will realise the very deep interest that the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has in this subject of painful experiments on animals. I am afraid, however, that I cannot see my way to accepting his Amendment, and for this reason: if I were to do so, it would raise doubts whether a local education authority could aid a university, and if that were doubtful it would very seriously damage—
"And with that object may aid educational institutions." Universities possess medical departments, and in those medical departments these experiments are carried on under the safeguards provided by the department. Without going into the question, I think that a fatal objection to the right hon. 860 Gentleman's Amendment is that it involves in doubt the question whether an education authority can aid these universities.
May I express my bitter disappointment at the answer which the right hon. Gentleman has given. This Amendment is one which appeals to the deepest convictions of some of us. There is a large body of opinion outside this House which disbelieves entirely in the utility of this work and in its educational value. It is a matter upon which the medical profession itself is divided. It is therefore not at all a proper subject of education by a public authority at all, and to put your hands into the public purse in order to advance so-called knowledge whose value when acquired is very much disputed is to my mind a public outrage, and I very strongly protest against it. The right hon. Gentleman objects that it would make it doubtful whether the universities could be supported out of public funds. Surely the last words of this Clause make that perfectly clear. All we ask is that students should not have paid to them money to enable them to perform these particular experiments. Under the Cruelty to Animals Act experiments must not be performed at lectures for the purpose of teaching. Unless this Amendment is accepted students will be subsidised for the purposes of these experiments which are not allowed to be performed at the lectures which they are supposed to attend. There is another point. How many students at these continuation classes are likely to be selecting professions at that early age? Continuation education is only carried on up to the age of eighteen. I am bitterly disappointed at the answer of the right hon. Gentleman, and although I was not present during the previous Debate, I thought he would have looked with more favour on the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I can assure him that the refusal to rule out this despicable, cruel and immoral form of education is one that will create a very strong feeling.
§ Sir W. COLLINS
This is not the occasion nor is the House in the humour to discuss the relative advantages or disadvantages of experiments on living animals for scientific purposes. I happen to have been a member of the Royal Commission which investigated this subject some years ago, and if the Government had paid more attention to the findings of that Commission it might have saved some of 861 the criticisms in which the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir G. Greenwood) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) from time to time indulge. As regards this particular matter the President of the Board of Education was hardly right in thinking that even if the Amendment were accepted it would deprive local authorities of the power of making Grants to universities in which experiments on living animals take place. The London County Council makes Grants to the University of London, and even to the physiological laboratory, and these institutions are licensed for experiments on living animals. I do not gather that there is anything in this Clause which will modify that power under Part 2 of the Education Act, 1902.
The Clause has undergone considerable change, and we have introduced words putting in "for the advancement of learning" alongside the word research. I agree with the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Larmor) that the word "research" has fallen upon evil times and has lost a good deal of the reputation it once had, and I am not sure that if the words "or research in or" were entirely removed from the Clause that might not meet some of the objections which have been raised. If it were merely investigation for the advancement of learning without the alternative of "research," I think many of the objections would be met. In some universities they require candidates for the doctorate to produce a thesis in the nature of some research in which they had taken part in lieu of examination. That is the practice in some American Universities, and in this country, and I am afraid that some of the products under the name of research are not for the advancement of learning. A distinguished American professor once said that many of these theses were "superlatively middling, the quintessential extract of mediocrity." I am afraid that that obtains in regard to some of the theses produced in this country. If the words "for the advancement of learning" were left without modification, some of the objections would be met, and although I cannot support the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to leave out the word "research."
§ Sir F. BANBURY
If the right hon. Gentleman will consent to the suggestion just made I will withdraw my Amendment.
I find it impossible to accept the Amendment. We desire that the various local education authorities should encourage various forms of research—general and industrial research. Under this Amendment local authorities could not assist industrial research, and if you leave out the word "research" you cut out the whole sphere of scientific investigation.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That does not meet the case of the ratepayer, who objects to his money being taken compulsorily to be used for something else.
Mr. T. WILSON
If the right hon. Gentleman cannot accept the Amendment, could he not insert some other Amendment which would make it quite clear that experiments upon living animals shall not be conducted in educational institutions attended by persons under eighteen years of age? He might meet the House to that extent. We occasionally—not often—find boys of fifteen and sixteen being summoned at the Police Courts for cruelty to cats and dogs. Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that if we have experiments on living animals in our elementary or continuation schools that it would be a direct encouragement to such conduct?
If the right hon. Gentleman makes it clear in the Bill that experiments on living animals will not be sanctioned by the Bill, he will meet the objections of the supporters of the Amendment. For the life of me I cannot see why he should not meet the House on the point. Surely he is not so wrapped up in the Clauses of the Bill that he will not accept any Amendment which bears upon its face the impress of common sense! He might give consideration to the views of people outside this House. I therefore appeal to him to give further consideration to the Amendment, and, if he cannot accept it here, let him give a promise to insert an Amendment in another place to meet the objections raised.
§ Mr. D. MASON
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will meet the view just 863 expressed. As the Clause reads it makes it very unlikely that there will be these experiments. It sayscarry on any investigation for the advancement of learning or research in or in connection with an educational institution.I do not know that there are any educational institutions in which experiments on dogs are carried on. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes; there are!"] It is very unlikely. As the right hon. Gentleman says there is no intention to carry on these experiments, why not put it in the Bill?