§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This Bill has on three occasions passed Second Reading, on two occasions without a Division, and on the other occasion by a majority of, I think, 42. I do not wish to make a long speech as to the objects of the Bill. Every Member of the House thoroughly understands what the Bill will effect. The Bill is in the form in which it left the Standing Committee last year. I see that two hon. Members have down the Motion for its rejection, which was moved last year on the Third Reading. The sense of that Motion is that science will be impeded if this Bill be carried. There is undoubtedly considerable opposition on the part of some doctors to this Bill; but the opposition of doctors is by no manner of means unanimous. I hold in my hand a letter from a very well-known doctor and a gentleman who for a considerable number of years was a Member of this House. I refer to Sir William Collins, and he wrote to me, on April 4th last year:Dear Sir Frederick, allow me to congratulate you on the success which has thus far attended you in the progress of the Dogs Bill.I need only say that one of the most distinguished members of the medical profession, who was a Member of this House, and who knows something about the feeling in the country in these matters, has shown that he is of the opinion that the passing of this Bill would be in the interests of everybody. Last year, on the Third Reading, it was rather suggested, if this Bill passed, that it would be quite impossible that science could be advanced. I read then, and I propose to read again, an extract from the "Lancet" of May 31st, last year. The article is headed, "Dogs as a test object," and it recommends the employment of the dog as a test object, but it goes on to say:This is not to say that such knowledge could have been acquired in no other way.There, from a medical journal, writing only a year, or less than a year ago, we have the statement that the reasoned Amendment down in the name of an hon. Gentleman opposite is incorrect, and that the progress of science would not be interrupted if my Bill were adopted. I 2695 have had recently one or two other letters from medical men approving the Bill. Last year, on the Third Reading, my hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Sir P. Magnus) was extremely angry because I quoted from the OFFICIAL REPORT what was said by Dr. Chapple. I am going to quote it again, because it gives the reason why several of the medical profession are opposed to my Bill. This is what Dr. Chapple said:Even if we examine this question of cheapness, we find that the difference is not between 5s. and 7s. 6d., but between 5s. and £5. It is not a matter of saving a few shillings; it is a matter of getting animals for experimenting at a price which can be paid, as compared with a price that cannot be paid. It would cost £5 to get a suitable monkey."—[Official Reply; Vol. LXL, April nth, 1914, Col. 524.]I venture to say that the arguments against this Bill are not sound, and that all of us, who regard the dog as one of our best friends, will do our best to save him from experiments of this kind. Under the Act of 1876, and according to the Report of the Royal Commission on Vivisection, it is possible, as matters are now, for the Home Office to give a licence which will allow a painful experiment to be made upon a dog without anæsthetics, and to allow that dog to recover from that experiment if the experiment be made with anæsthetics, and to remain not under anæsthctics until the object of the experiment has been attained. That is not generally understood. It is very often stated that all this is really sentiment, because no pain under any circumstances can result. That is not the fact. We have the evidence of Dr. Pembury, in which he said, before the Royal Commission, that pain is necessary in order that the experiment may be successful. Under all these circumstances, I do appeal to the House to pass the Second Reading of this Bill. I make another appeal. I see that it is said that it would be a very good thing to test the feeling of the House. No one is more anxious to test the fooling of the House than I am. We have one hour and three-quarters; let us put the question to a Division, and sec whether I am right or wrong.
§ Sir WATSON CHEYNE
I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words,This House declines to proceed further with a Measure which would impose an 2696 unnecessary and most serious obstacle to medical research.There are two points which I intend to pursue. I intend, first, to say that it is an unnecessary Measure, and, secondly, to point out the effects upon research if this Measure were carried. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of the Bill having been before the House on three previous occasions. I suppose that is why he gave us no arguments in favour of the Bill on the present occasion. I should like to point out to the right hon. Gentleman that the House is not always the same House. I have never heard his arguments in favour of the Bill. I have read what he said last year, and there was not a word in support of the Bill beyond the statement that the dog was the friend of man. To-day he said nothing in support of the Bill. He has brought forward a letter which he read last year. It is pretty old. I would have got a new one by this time. He brings forward a lot of books with statements in them that have been controverted before ad nauseam. We want some real personal statement, and not the statements of other people which have been controverted. The right hon. Gentleman may not like the term, but this is really a matter of sentiment. I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if limiting this Bill to dogs means that he would permit operations and experiments upon other animals.
§ Sir W. CHEYNE
The right hon. Gentleman will permit other animals to be experimented upon, but says this only applies to dogs. If he permits other animals to be experimented upon, is it not because he believes that good would follow from such experiments?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I was dealing with the Bill which is before the House. I am not dealing with a Bill which is not before the House. When a Bill is before the House dealing with other animals then we will discuss it.
§ Sir W. CHEYNE
I think I am perfectly justified in making that point. Now I go to another point which is, to ask 2697 the reason why this is limited to the dog. What does that mean? It is really class legislation of the worst kind. You will except dogs because you are a lover of dogs, as we all are, but other people will say that they are lovers of other animals. They may say: "Why is there not a Bill to except horses?" There are other people who are lovers of cats, and who would except cats. Some time ago a lady came into my consulting room and sat down and placed a little box on the table. She said: "I hope you will not be offended with what I am going to ask of you," and she opened the box and produced a dormouse. She said that her little pet had broken its log and she would like me to deal with it. Let us see what this Bill moans. The moment this Bill is passed it lets in the whole question of experiments on other animals, and yet the right hon. Gentleman does not wish in this case to exclude other animals from experimentation. Another point is to ask whether this Bill will really limit the experiments very much in practice. If I read it rightly it is to prevent any experiments that are not calculated to cause pain or disease to any dog. So that it is to limit, not all experiments, but only experiments which cause pain or disease Now, on that point, it is the fact that of the animal experiments, the experiments on dogs form a very small proportion indeed. I have the returns so far as I could get them some time ago for the last year for which they were available and of the number of animals experimented upon dogs form a very small number indeed. The total number of experiments performed during the year was 88,000, of which more than 84,000 were inoculation experiments. None of these 84,000 were upon dogs. So that there were about 3,600 other experiments, and of these only a small number were on dogs. There is a difficulty in getting the exact proportion of dogs because the certificates which were employed included cats. The numbers, including cats and dogs together, were 831 out of 88,000, and according to the statements made in these returns the larger number of these were cats. Out of the millions of dogs in this country something like four or five hundred dogs at the outside were dealt with.
Looking at the sort of experiments that are performed, which I will do in detail presently, it seems to me that we are a 2698 little out of proportion when we are taking this Bill year after year for the sake of the number of dogs, which is so very small in proportion to the animals experimented upon. Why is it necessary to deal with dogs? That has been explained over and over again, but still it is necessary once more to state some of the reasons why the dog is experimented upon. The dog of all animals is the one whose physiological processes approach man's more nearly than those of other animals. Other animals are carnivorous, but the dog oats the same food as man, and his digestive processes are practically the same as man's. In these respects, such as the disturbing effect on him, the dog is almost the same as the man. One argument against experiments on animals is that you may get one result in an animal, but that it is not applicable to man. This falls to the ground in the case of the dog, and is one of the chief reasons why the dog is used, because physiologically its processes are practically the same as those of man. The dog lives in the same atmosphere as man, and he takes exercise practically in the same circumstances as man. His mode of life and many of his other processes correspond very closely with those of man. So much so that it is said that the dog is the friend of man.
§ Sir W. CHEYNE
I am showing why the dog should be selected in preference to any other animal. It is because he is similar in many ways to man, he suffers the same fear and pain, and therefore we can avoid some of the similar experiments upon man. Another reason is that the dog is not easily handled. Everyone knows how fear and pain affect the whole position of the body. So that when experiments are being made the body should not be disturbed by fear and pain. Now that is most desirable. The dog is not a valiant animal, and if you make an experiment upon him you must have an auæsthetic to do it which would not be necessary in the case of some other animals. I was showing that the number of experiments is very minute. There must therefore be a careful selection of the subjects. Certain experiments would give no definite result because they were performed upon an animal whose processes did not correspond with those of 2699 man, especially because all men are not valiant and you would be bound to have the effects of fear. That is the chief reason. The question of cost has been referred to, but I should regard that from quite the opposite point of view to that which has been put forward. Investigators are for the most part very poor men, and a dog is not cheaper than other animals, but dearer. The chief reason why the dog is used is that if you wish to do an experiment you select the animal which is most suitable for giving a result, and an animal that you can handle easily, and in a certain number of cases the dog is practically the only animal that you will get any result from. A statement was made just now implying that dogs are used indiscriminately—that dogs are used for experiments because they are handy, but that is not the fact. An experimenter does not want to waste either his time, his money or his energy in experiments that will not produce a result, and he chooses the animal which will suit him best.
§ Sir W. CHEYNE
We want to get results. It is the result that is wanted. People do not experiment for fun. They do not do a thing just because it is funny and they want to do it; they do it for a certain definite reason. The performance of the experiment is led up to by hard work night and day for weeks before the experiment is undertaken. The popular idea seems to be that you see a dog and cut him open to see what he looks like inside. As a matter of fact, you have thought long over what you are going to do and how best to find out what it is you desire to know. Everything has been thoroughly thought out for weeks before you do the experiment, and you choose the animal which is most likely to show a result from the experiment. Let me tell you the sort of experiments for which the dog is necessary and useful. They are partly experiments of a physiological character and partly experiments connected with surgical work. I see one gentleman smiling at the idea of physiological experiments. I know that people in this utilitarian age want an immediate result from things. If an experiment is undertaken they want to see a result in the cure of somebody 2700 or of some dire disease, but that is hardly obtainable. Physiology is the basis of all medical science. If you have a machine and are going to use it, what is the first thing you do? If it is a motor-car you do not get into it and start off along the road. You learn what its component parts are. You are instructed in the structure of the machine. It is the same with medical students. They are first taught anatomy. When you have learned the structure of the machine the next thing to study is the working of it—how does it start—what is the motive power; in a motor-car, where do the explosions occur, what do they do, what gives the good explosion, and what gives the bad one; and so you get at the physiology of the thing. It is not until you have learned the structure and the action of the machine that you can begin to use it or to rectify any fault. Physiology is the basis of the whole structure of medicine, the foundation and the walls on which medical science is erected. If these foundations are imperfect the edifice will crumble to pieces just as when the walls are formed of good material and there are sound foundations the edifice will be substantial. There is nothing more important in the study of medical and health matters than to have a foundation based on carefully observed facts, facts observed in such a way that there can be no doubt about their accuracy. The animal that has contributed more than any other animal to the establishment of a sound foundation for medical science and the physiology of medical science is the dog, for the reason that the dog's vital processes more nearly resemble man's than those of any other animal. The dog is also used for surgical experiments because he is easily handled, and, again, his wounds heal. In the course of time a great deal of surgery has been built up on experiments on dogs. The surgery of the brain has been built up on experiments on dogs, and a great deal of our present knowledge on the chest is the result of experiments on dogs; it could not have been got in any other way, apart from experiments on man. I am not going to bore the House by telling them of all the different discoveries that have been made with experiments on dogs, but I will go on now to the real point of this measure, which is to prevent the occurrence of pain in experiments. The Bill only refers to 2701 painful experiments. You may do experiments if they do not cause pain, and only require a licence if they do cause pain. On this point I say that this Bill is unnecessary, because the great bulk of the work done on dogs does not cause pain. In the first place there are a great many feeding experiments. All these experiments in feeding are included in the returns. You can give your dog margarine or lard, or if it is a favourite dog, you can give it butter; but if you want to find out whether margarine or butter is the best food you have got to get a licence in order to do so. A large number of the experiments on dogs are feeding experiments. I know the supporters of the Bill say they do not object to feeding experiments, but the effect of the Bill would be to prevent feeding experiments. A great many hon. Members have themselves had pain after a City dinner, and who is to know whether or not a dog has pain after eating certain foods? The words of the Bill in this connection are "an experiment calculated to give pain," but I hope before the right hon. Gentleman brings the Bill forward next year he will try and find some other expression than that. It brings to mind a picture of a man sitting down at a desk and calculating whether his experiment will give pain or not, or how much pain it will give, "Calculated" is a wrong word to use, and if you said "very likely to cause pain" I think it would be better. "Calculated" is not a nice word.
Now I will come to the second set of experiments, which are probably the largest in number, and those are experiments performed under an anæsthetic where the animal is killed before it wakes. That is the most frequent physiological experiment on the dog, but whore is the pain? They are put under an anæsthetic, and instead of simply pushing it to the extent of killing them straight out, they are kept alive under the anæsthetic, and observations are made of various kinds, and recorded, and then, when the time comes either that you have made out all you want to make out or that you find that the animal is not responding to stimulation, you increase the dose of the anæsthetic, and the dog dies. I cannot believe that that is an experiment calculated to cause any pain, and yet those are the majority of the experiments These experiments have given us an 2702 enormous amount of information. The experiments which have shown what is called the localisation of functions in the brain were performed under an anæsthetic, and they have enabled us to map out the brain is a most wonderful manner. If you expose certain parts of the brain and stimulate the animal under the anæesthetic, you get certain movements of certain muscles, and you can thus map out, in cases of disease or injury, the part of the brain which is the seat of the trouble by the action of the muscles affected. The great mass of the knowledge which has enabled charts to be drawn of the brain has been obtained from these experiments on dogs under an anæsthetic. Thirdly, we have the experiments where the animal is allowed to wake up after the experiment. It is kept alive, according to the Act, unless there is severe pain.
§ Sir W. CHEYNE
Oh, yes there is. It is not perhaps in your Act, but I know it is in the Act, because I read it this morning. In regard to this third kind of experiment, they are chiefly surgical experiments on dogs. I am not going to say that some experiments on dogs do not cause pain, but I have spent a long time thinking over this question, and I have come to the conclusion that the experiments on dogs which cause real pain afterwards must be very few indeed. I am quite certain of that. About the beginning of last century experiments on animals really began to be made. In those days the animals must have suffered an immense amount of pain. No one can deny it, and there were very few men employed in vivisection in those days. Very few could really face the work. But there was a very considerable amount of work done, and work of great value. I believe it is a sort of remembrance of those old days which makes people still think that animals are put in pain. Of course, it is also true that anæsthetics were not applied to experiments on animals until well after they were discovered, because it was very difficult on the one hand, to put an animal under an anæsthetic and keep it under an anæsthetic, and on the other hand to keep it alive under the anæsthetic. It took a considerable time to find out the way to do that. It has been 2703 found out for 30 years, at any rate, and there is no reason to suppose that animals under these anæsthetics suffer. A second thing, I think, contributes to the general idea that there is pain, and that is the pictures showing a frame with an animal stretched out, and tied down in various positions. But it must be remembered that that is not done until theanimal is put under the anæsthetic, just as any person is fastened in extraordinary positions for a surgical operation, the fact being that if you are going to perform a delicate operation you must have everything fixed, you cannot have a person or a dog rolling about on a table. It can be easily understood that you want an elaborate arrangement to fix an animal the shape of a dog.
Is this Act necessary for experiments on dogs? It is not necessary in order to save pain. If something is still wanted to be done, let it be done in the direction of strengthening the former Act. If you abolish experiments on dogs you are venturing on a very serious matter. The truth is that a lot of people do not believe the former Act was properly carried out. They have an idea that there is a hidden laboratory in which all sorts of cruelties go on, without, of course, the knowledge and sanction of the Home Office. It is really going too far to say that people are going into dark corners to torture dogs. But if you believe in strengthening that Act by appointing more inspectors, there is no objection. You can have an inspector if you like in every laboratory to see what is going on. If you choose to do that, no one will make the slightest objection. I will support you. That is a totally different thing from abolishing experiments on animals because you say there is pain. I want to bring forward another point. I suppose there are a good many Members here who have made the acquaintance of a dressing station, but, if so, they were not able to tell what happened. Towards the end of the War this is the sort of thing that happened. Cases would be brought during a battle into the receiving room and then dealt with according to the nature of the case. Some cases had to be operated upon there and then. You could have seen men hardly breathing put upon the table; you could not even take off their clothes to perform an operation. Then you would see a chair brought to the side of the table, and a doctor, 2704 nurse or attendant sit down in the chair, and you would see blood drawn from the doctor, nurse, or attendant, and transfused into the patient. By and by, the patient would be restored sufficiently to allow the operation being done. These are the people who are said to be cruel.
§ Sir W. CHEYNE
I was going to say, that these experiments enabling the transfusion of blood were entirely the result of experiments on dogs. I know in this House one ought to begin by saying what one is going to end up with. I was taking the opportunity of saying that that is not the work of cruel people. When I was a student years ago in Edinburgh, transfusion of blood was discussed, but it was accounted too dangerous, and the matter continued in that state for years. Just before the War it was taken in hand in America by some of the best physicians, and the results were brought over to Europe.
The last point I want to make—and I will try to keep in order—is as to the reason why doctors in England and all over the world, with the exception of a few friends of the right hon. Baronet—doctors and scientific men who have to do with matters of this sort—oppose this Bill with all their might. Why is it? We can dismiss the question of cruelty. A suggestion of that sort is too absurd for words. Nobody, however, does suggest it; neither the right hon. Baronet or anyone else. There must be some reason why opinion is so positive that it would be contrary to the interests of the human race if this Bill were passed The reason is two-fold. First, we realise our ignorance that we do not know nearly enough to carry our job through successfully. That being the case—
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Has the hon. Gentleman read the address of the President of the Section of State Medicine, Dr. Wilson, at the annual meeting of the British Medical Association, when he spoke against vivisection, and protested against his profession misleading the public as to the cruelties perpetrated on the animals?
§ 4.0. P.M.
§ Sir W. CHEYNE
That is a good while ago. We cannot afford, with our feeling of want of knowledge, to allow any means of knowledge to slip past. We believe most firmly that to exclude even these few experiments on dogs would very, very seriously hamper the progress of medicine. The second reason why we oppose is that not only do we recognise our ignorance, but we also recognise our responsibility. Only last week, an eminent authority, secretary of a medical service, delivered an address in relation to recent research. He made the statement that more people had died from influenza since the Armistice, than were killed during the whole of the Great War, when shells, bullets, poison-gas, and so on, were flying about. He also told us that every hour of the day and night, month in and month out, there was an appalling death rate from cancer and tuberculosis.
§ Sir W. CHEYNE
I was endeavouring to bring in the necessity for the action we are taking by my illustration. Every possible means we can adopt to increase our knowledge it is our duty to adopt. As a matter of fact, as regards cancer, it is being investigated on dogs, and I believe it is through investigations on dogs that the solution will arrive. I have to do with the Cancer Research Committee, and I would probably have mentioned dogs in that connection. We have this appalling ignorance. That is why we do not want anything done to interfere with the growth of knowledge. I would remind the House of its great responsibility in this matter. The medical profession have human life in their hands. I do not think the public realise what that responsibility is. I trust it is in the minds of Members of this House now, for it is they who are taking the responsibility; it is their judgment that is at stake if this Bill is passed
§ Captain LOSEBY
I beg to second the Amendment.
I do so from a lay point of view. I do so, not because I love dogs' less, but because I love my own kind more. I am quite sure that every ore of us realises and respects the motives which prompted 2706 the hon. Baronet to bring in this Bill What, however, we do find difficult to understand is the motives that prompt them in this particular case and their attitude generally towards the animal world. In an examination of this Bill, and in order to define that attitude, it is necessary to go into the elementary facts and motives which ordinarily prompt us in our action. If the right hon. Baronet and those who support him were prepared to adopt the moral attitude that under no circumstances and under no conditions, and for no purpose whatever, should human beings be entitled to make use of animals to their prejudice for the selfish purposes of humanity, then they would stand on sound, strong moral grounds; but in view of the motives which ordinarily prompt us in our attitude toward the animal world, I find it utterly impossible to understand how they can differentiate in these particular cases, and how they can tell us it is not justifiable even to inflict suffering for the alleviation of humanity while at the same time they do not object to the infliction of suffering for sport and for the gratification of our senses.
I would like to briefly to refer to some of the things which we do and allow in the interests of sport alone, and I propose to argue my ease on those grounds. Take the cases of hunting men, of shooting men and of the bon viveur. I do not hoar a cry of indignation arising throughout the land and I do not hear hon. Gentlemen generally who support this Bill denounce the practice of hunting a little animal with a pack of dogs which tear it to pieces when it is exhausted and worn. The sport of coursing is cruel, and the kill which follows I think, if one could analyse the motives of those who witnessed it, is simply the product of a spirit of barbarity. Then there are beautiful birds which are shot. Those birds appeal to me mentally infinitely more than does the dog, but because the right hon. Baronet chooses to pick out one particular class of animal for which ho has a special liking, why should he say "You must not experiment on that particular type of animal which I love and admire," even for the purposes of alleviating human suffering. My third type of sportsman is the bon viveur. The barbarity we sportsmen do in that line! We put the lobster into boiling water merely to make it look better, we 2707 crucify the calf, and we cut the throat of the pig. [Interruption.] I have always suspected my hon. Friend who interrupts of being a whippet fancier. I do not know whether he is. You have your rag partly because it assists you in that peculiarly vicious form of sport.
I come back to the dog. I am told there are some thousands of dogs in London annually condemned to die. The right hon. Baronet does not protest against that. The vast majority of the medical world come to us and say, "This dog will be of inestimable value to us in the course of our work of protecting humanity. We will undertake that the operations upon them shall be painless, and we will demonstrate to you in a manner that cannot be denied that the service to science and to humanity will be incalculable. What can we then do, we barbarians, we hunting men, we whippet fanciers, we bon viveurs, in view of our practice? We will continue all our barbarities, but this particular type of barbarity we will wash right out. Is there anything in vivisection which is inherently vicious which appals us? I myself have been vivisected. I have been experimented on. It was only a tiny matter. I was one of the first who was passed in France, and I was picked out in order that blood might be taken from me that doctors might know what the particular gas was. I thought it was a great honour. One was very proud of that. This is the test I put to myself, and I think hon. Members might rightly put to themselves. If any hon. Member knew that he had to die to-morrow and he was told by the doctor that if he allowed vivisection to be performed upon himself he would be performing an inestimable service to humanity, how many hon. Members would refuse?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The Bill does not deal with the vivisection of human beings, but with the vivisection of dogs.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The Bill is of a limited scope. It refers to the prohibition of experiments upon dogs, and illustrations must relate to that.
§ Captain LOSEBY
The point I was making was that if I could demonstrate to hon. Members that if they themselves were put in the position they would consent to vivisection upon themselves, then 2708 how much more does that apply to the case of dogs. I am told as a layman, and I must accept it, that in regard to the heart, the digestion and the deficiency diseases, the organs are such that they cannot be replaced for that particular type of experiment. I am not prepared to argue with the medical profession, composed as it is of a body of hon. Gentlemen who have devoted their lives to that particular type of science, because of an inborn desire to benefit humanity, and I am quite unable to believe that they are barbarians capable of the type of the barbarity that has been suggested, and that they are misinforming us. If the position were not such that a large number of dogs must die every year, and in many cases those dogs have been cruelly treated during their lives, and unless I was satisfied that vivisection would be more or less painless, and that an incalculable service to humanity is rendered by vivisection, I would vote for this Bill without a moment's hesitation. I am convinced that we cannot dispense with this practice without humanity at large suffering, and that we should not thereby confer any benefit even upon dogs.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I am not an anti-vivisectionist, and I appreciate fully the great services which have been rendered by men who, by their medical and physiological research, have done so much to save human life, and to mitigate and prevent human suffering. If one had ever any reason to have these facts recalled to one's mind it would be during the recent War, where medical and surgical research have been the means of saving the lives of thousands of our gallant men and of enabling others to get over the effects of their sufferings in the War. But while fully recognising that, I earnestly trust that the House will read this Bill a second time. As the right hon. Member for the City of London said, it is not proved that experiments on dogs are necessary for the purpose of physiological research, and if not no one would desire to see dogs vivisected. There is a great difference of opinion among medical men on this point. There is no finding in the Report of the Royal Commission, consisting as it did of the greatest experts, who heard all the evidence available on the subject, that dogs are necessary for the purpose of physiological research.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
1912. Then my right hon. Friend read a passage, from a paper which I am sure the hon Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir Watson Cheyne) will value, "The Lancet," which puts what might possibly be called the considered view of some of the doctors who oppose this Bill, and said that it did not follow that, because some experiments on dogs had valuable results, those results would not have been obtained in some other way. Therefore, there is no proof to satisfy anybody that these experiments are necessary. When I heard my hon. Friend, for whom I have the deepest respect, give some of the reasons why dogs should be vivisected, I was more than surprised. I took down some of these reasons. He said:The dog is the friend of man. The dog is not afraid of man. The dog is easily handled.Are we to conclude from this that, because he is your friend, because he trusts you and expects to be properly and humanely-treated, therefore you should cut him up! I should have thought that those reasons—and the facts are as stated—were the strongest possible reasons for preventing the dog from being vivisected, especially as can be shown the vivisection is really unnecessary in the interests of medical research.
The main point that appeals to my mind is this, ought this House or ought it not to sanction painful experiments on dogs? My hon. Friend, I rather gather, is against painful experiments. I think he holds the view that painful experiments are not necessary, and that under the present law they do not occur. At any rate, that is the view of a very eminent man, with whom, I am sure, my hon. Friend will agree—Professor Starling—who is an ardent advocate of the vivisection of dogs. His view is that an experiment which causes pain to a dog, is of no value—
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
And that in point of fact, according to the existing practice, no such painful experiments are possible. If I can persuade my hon. Friend that, according to the existing law and practice, painful experiments are possible, then I shall obtain his support. Professor Starling says:If the object of the experiment requires that a dog should be allowed to survive, the 2710 dog must be killed at once under an anæsthetic should pain supervene after the operation.Professor Starling, like many other men, perhaps, is not as great an authority on the existing law and practice of the Home Office as others are. As a matter of fact that statement is absolutely contrary to the facts. In the first place there is not one syllable in the Act of 1876 which says that if pain supervenes after an experiment on a dog, the dog is to be put to death. On the contrary the Act provides that where certain certificates are given the dog may be kept alive after the experiment if it is necessary for the purpose of not frustrating the experiment. Therefore, according to the law the dog may be kept alive after the operation under an anaesthetic, although it is in the severest pain. I may be told that the law is modified in its operation by the regulations of the Home Office. In the regulations of the Home Office it is one of the conditions attached to the licence that the dog may be kept alive after the operation, unless severe pain, which is likely to last, supervenes. It is, therefore, only in cases of severe and lasting pain supervening that the dog is killed. There is no question about that.
I have here the whole passage from the Report which was issued in 1912, and it says exactly the same thing. They go into the conditions attached by the Home Office to the licence, and say that from these it would be seen that the animal need not be killed after the operation if in considerable pain and pain likely to endure. Thus official sanction is given to keeping the animal alive for an indefinite time, though suffering considerable pain, at the sole discretion of the operator. That is the finding of the Royal Commission upon the practice of the Home Office in this particular respect, and it has not varied since the year 1912, because I made it my business to go to the Home Office last year and to get all the forms. From these it appeared that the licence allowed the dog to be kept alive after the operation unless severe and permanent pain supervened. That is a state of things that no one would desire. Even my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment agrees to two things—that pain ought not to take place, and that pain is not necessary to be inflicted. Therefore, I say that when he finds that by the practice of the Home 2711 Office licences are issued which allow pain to be inflicted, and allow a dog to be kept alive after operation unless severe and permanent pain supervenes, he ought to support this Bill.
§ Sir W. CHEYNE
I think my hon. Friend is pinning me down a little too far. I said that pain would disorganise many experiments, that it would lead to false results. The point I made was that in the majority of cases pain would be prevented. I did not propose any experiment that would cause severe pain.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I am very much obliged for that interruption. The hon. Gentleman says that where pain does supervene it is most likely to lead to a false result. It leads him astray. The supervening of pain is really likely to cause the operation to be unsuccessful.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
What my hon. Friend stated was exactly what Professor Starling said, namely, that a physiological experiment which is painful is thereby a bad one.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I am delighted to hear that statement, as it is exactly my point and also to have my argument reinforced from opponents of the Bill. Therefore, you have the fact where there is pain it is likely to lead to a bad result, and secondly, by the existing practice of the Home Office, dogs are allowed to be subjected to operations which cause pain. Those I submit form conclusive arguments for supporting this Bill which is to prevent painful experiments. I have not the smallest objection to a dog being put under an anæsthetic and being operated on if it is absotluely necessary for physiological research, provided the dog is not revived after the anæsthetic. If that is not made clear in the Bill, speaking for myself, I should be prepared to see that it is. The Bill is aimed at stopping painful experiments, and above all to stop experiments is cases where the dog is not killed after the operation. If my hon. Friend who Seconded the Amendment brings in a Bill to stop any type of cruelty, and can make out a case for it, I shall support him, but I am not sure that it would be in Order on this occasion to follow him in his remarks on that point. We are only dealing with one specific question, whether we ought or ought not to forbid painful experiments on dogs. I say that, both from 2712 the point of view of physiological research and humanity, we ought to see that dogs are not caused pain, and to give this Bill a Second Beading.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE - BRABAZON
I do wish we could approach this question with the absence of passion, but it seems quite impossible, as everybody is either very much on one side or the other. I am entirely in favour of vivisection, and in favour of this Bill. I have listened to the arguments of the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir W. Cheyne), in which he told us that very few dogs were required to be operated on and that it was essential to have dogs. He went on to deal with the difficulties in physiological experiments. I do not mean to enter into any detailed argument with him on that point, but while the medical profession may be extraordinarily knowledgeable on physiology, they are extraordinarily ignorant on psychology. It is because the dog is so trusting that the whole opposition to vivisection comes about. Therefore, if you could eliminate vivisection on dogs you would cut the heart out of all the anti-vivisection movement in tins country. I know that the medical profession is probably the most reactionary Trade Union that exists, but they are to-day opposing a measure which is bound to come. People will look upon this question from the moral point of view, and they will eventually—I do not know how long it will take—stop vivisection, and, from the medical point of view, I would like to see them appreciate the point that, if they allowed this Bill to go through, and consequently stopped vivisection on dogs, there would then be no opposition in this country to vivisection upon other animals.
§ Captain ELLIOT
My hon. and gallant Friend who has just sat down (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon) and the hon. and learned Gentleman below me (Sir J. Butcher) seem to count on the fact that this is a Bill for the prevention of painful experiments upon dogs. The argument of my hon. and learned Friend entirely hinged upon that fact. I suppose that he has read his own Bill, and that he listened to the arguments that took place in Committee last year. The chief thing that his own Bill says is thatIt shall be unlawful to perform any experiment of a nature calculated to give pain or disease to any dog for any purpose 2713 whatsoever, either with or without anæsthetics, and no person or place shall be licensed for the purpose of performing any such experiments.It is all very well for him to say that he has no objection to experiments being conducted with dogs under anæsthetics, but when we get into Committee it is entirely a different story. Last year he and his friends fought tooth and nail and bitterly opposed an Amendment brought forward by the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir W. Cheyne) to leave out the words "either with or," and to make it illegal to perform experiments without anæsthetics, and insisted upon the very letter of the Bill. It is not a Bill to prevent painful experiments upon dogs at all; it is not a Bill to prevent giving pain to dogs; it is simply a pettifogging Bill to obstruct as far as possible the progress of medical science. There are millions of painful experiments upon dogs conducted every year. Does the hon. and learned Member object to them? There is not a word of objection raised. There are some 4,000,000 dogs in this country, and they are performed upon by all sorts of people for all sorts of purposes without any licence from the Homo Secretary. The law now says: "Do you hope to obtain any information for the benefit of suffering humanity from this experiment? If you do, you must have a certificate signed by everybody from the Home Secretary downwards. If you do not hope to learn anything, if you do it for brutality or to increase the selling value of the dog by cutting off its tail or altering the shape of its ears, you can do it." Nobody objects to that, not even the right hon Gentleman or the hon. and learned Gentleman.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Any bench of magistrates would convict anyone guilty of cruelty if the operation were improperly performed.
§ Captain ELLIOT
If it were improperly performed! Are we asked to believe that any bench of magistrates would convict a dog fancier for docking a dog's tail? It is preposterous to bring forward arguments of that kind. We know that these experiments are conducted by the million every year. There was no protest heard from the Gentlemen who are now supporting this Bill.
§ Captain ELLIOT
I know the right hon. Baronet has conducted a lifelong agitation in favour of this Bill, but he has not been so successful as he has been in his other agitations. I have heard of his successful opposition to many other reforms. I saw him in his place to-day, and I wondered How he sat still while the Shops Bill was being discussed. I have read of his speeches on previous occasions against Shops Bills, and that his agitation met with considerable success. His agitation against experiments-by dog fanciers and on behalf of the suffering dogs in those cases, I have not heard of. I know there was a Bill brought in and passed into law last year for the benefit of animals, to prevent many operations by veterinary surgeons which were repugnant to us all, such as cutting out of an eyeball without anæsthetics. This Bill was backed by the vivisectionists in this House, but did not interest the right hon. Baronet. These gentlemen were interested in research which might do some good for suffering humanity.
This is a Bill, we are told, to prevent the vivisection of dogs. Very much the same Bill was before the House a year ago. In rejecting that Bill the House performed a great service to humanity. If the research which began immediately after the passing of the previous Bill had been stopped there would have been a great check to valuable research. Professor Lewis, of London University, who did so much work during the War, resumed his labours last March and already there have been most fruitful results. It is difficult to make these technical matters plain to a non-technical audience. One reason why the dog is pre-eminently suitable is that he is the only animal on which the experiments can be carried out which could not be performed on a cat, a rat, or a guinea-pig. They are too small. They cannot be carried out on sheep and other animals because their hearts are loaded with fat. For ten years the work has been going on, and the heart of the dog has been mapped out. There has been microscopic study, and the heart charted as a general about to attack charted the trenches opposite in Flanders. I have diagrams here which I should be glad to show hon. Members afterwards. Already something has been learned about the causes of heart disease. There is one form of palpitation of the heart from which some 20,000 pensioners from the 2715 Army alone are suffering. We have made great progress in that.
§ Captain ELLIOT
I shall be very much pleased to show the hon. Member the results of what we have found out. I have here diagrams showing the heart beat in man and the heart in the dog, and the diagrams are practically identical. "We have got another diagram showing disease of the heart in man and disease in the heart in dogs. These experiments were carried out on dogs under complete anæsthesia, the dogs were killed before they recovered from the experiment, and these experiments would have been completely stopped by the passage of the Bill which was before the House last March. These experiments prove practically and conclusively the cause of heart disease. The heart-beat starts by an impulse beginning at the top of the heart and passes down in a certain sort of current throughout the muscle. In heart disease, the wires are faulty, the circuit is bad, and instead of passing straight down through the heart, as it should do, the impulse is broken up and the heart goes into what is known as fibrilation. Each muscle fibre begins twitching independently, and in some cases one single muscle impulse gets loose, so to speak, and courses round and round the heart. Those things have been found out very largely within the last 12 months, and very largely because of the rejection of the Bill by the House last March. When we have really definite results like that, this House would be taking a step of the gravest responsibility to stop experiments—to wash out the result of nine years of experiment, scrap it, and throw it into the wastepaper basket and cause another start to be made. My hon. Friend the Member for the Air Force (Colonel Moore-Brabazon) says that if we were to use some other animal for vivisection we should stop the agitation. But we are prepared to fight the agitation against vivisection because of our enormous belief in the good that is resulting from our work to the human race. It is no argument that we should be less vilified and more comfortable and happy in every way if we stopped. No doubt, but then we have to go round the wards 2716 of the hospitals. Let the hon. Baronet (Sir John Butcher) go across the water to St. Thomas's Hospital and ask the doctor to take him round the wards there and point out to him all the wretched, blue-faced people sitting up in bed, propped up with pillows, gasping for breath, afraid to lie down, their legs all swollen with dropsy. Would he say to them: "Here, I am going to stop these experiments with which it is hoped to cure you, but never mind, nine years hence the doctors may be nearly as forward as they are to-day." I do not believe there is a man in this House who would take the responsibility of saying that to those wretched men and women, yes, and children too, lying in those hospitals suffering from heart disease. Already we have opened the way to finding out what heart disease is, and that will give us a direct lead as to what to do for it. In the last 12 months we have passed very far along the road to discovering what heart disease really is. It is due to the break-up of this impulse passing through the heart from the top to the bottom. That gives us a direct line as to how to cure it. We suggest that the way we can cure it best is this: if the circuit is faulty, improve the circuit, and by altering the chemical composition of the blood by means of certain chemical salts we hope to be able to improve it, and to set this fluttering, useless, palpitating heart beating strongly and steadily and regularly, pumping the blood through the system again and restoring the man to be a useful member of society, instead of a helpless gasping wreck, propped up in bed, afraid even to lie down and to go to sleep for a few minutes, as is the case just now.
When we have these results, and nobody denies that we have got those results in the last 12 months, for the right hon. Gentleman to ask the House to pass a Bill stopping this work, is taking a most grave and terrible responsibility. I think it is not denied in law that the onus of a change in the law lies with those seeking to change it. I think the supporters of this Bill have not made out sufficiently strongly the case for those seeking to change the law. In regard to this impulse that passes round the heart, it is hoped that by an electric shock you can break it up and stop the palpitation, and set the heart 2717 beating again. That is only possible because of the researches and the work which have been done on the dog, and very largely in this City of London, within a radius of a mile or so of this House, by an eminent British scientist who, in any other country, would be helped in his work and not hindered by any possible action of the Legislature. Suppose we had a clock-maker, and we said to him: "You are not to look inside this clock, but you can listen to it, and look at the face, and pour oil into this hole or that," it would be a very helpless position to put him in; but suppose there were another clock, rather like it, that he had a chance of opening and looking inside to see how it worked and to see what corresponded in it with the disorders in the beat of the clock he had to repair, and you told him he was not to look inside that clock at all, you would be putting him in a hopeless position, and in the words of this Amendment you would be imposing an unnecessary and very serious impediment in the path of medical research.
There is one other point I would like to make. It is brand new work, which has been done since the rejection of this Bill by this House last year, and surely, before wanting to pass a Bill and hinder this science, the House should listen to what has actually been done.
I wish now to refer to work done on dogs in connection with rickets. I brought forward this point last year, and I do not think the case which was made out then has been traversed by any of the supporters of this Bill. This is an experiment which would be hindered. The disease of rickets does cause a certain amount of pain to anybody suffering from it. It causes a great deal of pain to a baby suffering from it, and it causes pain to a foxhound suffering from it. Fox-hounds in kennels suffer from rickets, but if you conduct an experiment so as to be able to cure a child suffering from the complaint, down comes this Bill and says it is calculated to give this disease to a dog, and consequently the experiment must stop and no more work be done on the subject. And, mark you, this thing can only be carried out on a dog because a dog has a similar diet to a man, and his diet can be changed, and you can find out what is the particular ingredient that is missing I think it is of particular interest to the Labour men, 2718 because there is no class in the whole of our country which suffers more from this dreadful disease of rickets than the children of the labouring classes. We know it in Glasgow, where there is a great deal of work being done, and we see it all over the world. I only want to point to the work which has been done in the last 12 months in regard to rickets. The Medical Research Committee, which was set up by this House, published a very strong and an absolutely unanimous recommendation about the Dogs Bill. I think, when the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for York (Sir J. Butcher), was reading the opinions of medical men, he might at least have given, to the House the opinions of the most influential Medical Committee in the country—one set up by Parliament and paid by Parliament. When you get a Report from these gentlemen showing that they consider the Dogs Protection Bill now before Parliament would mean serious and, in many instances, fatal hindrance to this work, their opinion is really of the utmost importance. This Committee has been working particularly on the question of rickets, and, as we all know, the recent famine in Central Europe has led to the most widespread prevalence of this disease in starving countries, and particularly in Vienna. We are all intensely interested in the remedy of diseases affecting Central Europe, and particularly this disease of rickets.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"; but Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER withhold his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Captain ELLIOT
A lady doctor who was closely in touch with the new work done on nutrition has been sent out there by the Medical Research Committee, and her work has been of great help to the children of Vienna. [HON. MEMBEES: "Divide!" and Interruption.]
Lieut.-Colonel CLAUDE LOWTHER
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"; but Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Captain ELLIOT
We have a Report here of their mission by this lady and a colleague, two doctors whose work has been of the greatest value to suffering 2719 children in Vienna. It has been unanimously acknowledged in Vienna as one of the most important contributions that has recently been made to medical science, and particularly to the science of nutrition in Vienna. This Report is directly due to experiments conducted upon dogs in this country. No one hat; any right to say that this work has been of no value in medicine. You have got something like 200,000 children in Vienna of whom 80 per cent. suffer from rickets.
§ It being Five of the Clock, the Debate stood Adjourned.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
§ Whereupon Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3.
§ Adjourned at One Minute after Five o'clock, till Monday next, 22nd March, 1920.