HL Deb 22 May 1876 vol 229 cc1001-34

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said: I need not recapitulate the various stages by which the public mind was first directed to the subject of vivisection and the Government induced to advise the Crown to issue a Commission, the Report of which is now the basis of the present Bill. Last year a noble Lord in this, and a right hon. Gentleman in the other House, introduced Bills dealing with it; but the subject is not only an extremely painful, but it is a difficult and delicate one to deal with. On the one hand there is the danger of going too far; on the other, the danger of not going far enough: on the one side there is the strong sentiment of humanity; on the other, there are the claims of modern science. It is a sea strewn with rocks, and it is not easy to steer safely through them. Personally I can hardly describe with how much pain I have waded through the horrible details of an almost sickening subject in order to arrive at the necessary conclusions; personally I can hardly say with how much effort I now bring the subject before this House on behalf of Her Majesty's Government; but I am sustained in what I feel to be the difficulty of the task, first of all by the feeling that legislation is right and necessary, next by the unanimity of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the subject; lastly by the fact that the conclusion of that Commission is in harmony not only, as I hope, with, the general opinion of the intelligent and humane people of this country, but with much of the highest professional opinion—surgical, medical, and even physiological. And if I may be allowed I would venture to offer my humble tribute to the well-balanced and temperate reasoning of that Report, and to the wisdom of the general conclusions at which the Commissioners have arrived. I will take example by them, and I trust that I shall, in stating a case which is more than usually open to controversy, say nothing which can justly provoke irritation on any side. And first as to the present law. Up to the time of the passing of the 3rd of George IV. there was no legislation for the protection of animals, and our early literature, whether prose or poetry, shows abundant evidence of the national brutality on these subjects; since then there have been a series of enactments passed with humane objects, and affording legislative protec- tion to domestic—but only domestic, animals. It is therefore enough to sum up this part of the subject by briefly saying that only domestic animals are so protected; that as to vivisection the protection afforded to those animals is insufficient; and that for animals which are not domestic there is no protection at all.

My first proposition, therefore, is that legislation is necessary from the defect of the law, my next and much more serious proposition is that legislation is necessary from the nature of the case. Now the practice of vivisection in its more objectionable form has been mainly carried on abroad. It is to foreign countries that we owe the painful interest which is now felt in this country with reference on the subject. It is from the Continent that the warning has come, thence that the impulse has been received; it is there that the mirror is held up in which the worst and most hideous of those practices are reflected. But indeed for experiments conducted abroad it is probable that public attention and sympathy would not have been awakened in this country. It is not necessary for me to prove the existence of this practice abroad. It is abundantly stated in books, in periodicals, in scientific writings. It stands as a confessed and admitted fact. What that practice has been abroad it is too painful—it is happily also unnecessary—to narrate in anything like detail. It has been carried on for every imaginable purpose, and for no purpose at all—for the investigation of disease, for scientific research, and for wanton curiosity, and this with a barbarity that must shock the dullest and the coldest nature. Experiments have been prosecuted with an exquisite refinement of torture not merely for hours, but for days, for weeks, and, in some cases that have been recorded, even for months, on the same living and palpitating animal—prosecuted, I say, until even in foreign towns public decency has been scandalized, and. the dull sense of morality, which is never wholly extinct amongst men, has been stirred into life. But in England, whatever may be the abuses committed, they are at most but a feeble reflection of what has been done abroad. I notice, in the evidence taken by the Royal Commission, a remarkable tribute paid by the Secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to the greater humanity manifested in this country, where there was, he said, an entire difference in the practice of vivisection in this country as compared with the same practice abroad. But, at the same time it is clear, and it is admitted, that the practice exists in this country, and that, side by side with it, there exists no sufficient security that abuses may not arise, even in our medical schools and great institutions. In the Appendix of this Report, there is a table given of between 30 and 40 public institutions, of which more than 30 admit the existence, more or less, of the practice. In the very great majority of those cases it is, I hope, clear that anæstheticsare carefully used, and that precautions are taken to prevent suffering in the animal; though I do not consider that I should be justified in saying that this is invariably so. But it is not enough that we may, to some extent, trust to public opinion and high professional authority in those schools and institutions as securities against abuse; but there is a much greater danger. Experiments are carried on in private houses by the young and ignorant and callous, with no check of public opinion, and there is reason to believe that gross abuse does here exist in connection with experiments so conducted. Your Lordships are in possession of the Report of the Commission, and therefore I will not read many or lengthy extracts from the evidence, but it may be well that on this point I should refer to the conclusion of the Commission itself— There can be," they say, "little doubt that experiments have been and now are performed occasionally by private persons, of whose numbers we are able to form no accurate computation. And further on they refer to the evidence of Dr. Anthony, residing near Birmingham, who knew young men who carried on those experiments in private houses from mere curiosity. They conclude by referring to cases— in which the unpractised student has taken on himself without guidance, in his private lodgings, to expose animals to torture without anæsthetics for no purpose which could merit the name of legitimate scientific research. But the matter does not end here. Not only is vivisection carried on in private houses in this country, and therefore out of the ken of public opinion, but there is a constantly widening growth of the practice. It is growing, as all such practices must grow, from its own internal vitality: it is growing with the development of the new schools of physiology and biological research: it is growing, because the students themselves are more and more in the habit of frequenting foreign schools, and return to this country with the traditions and the modes of those schools. I have myself endured so much mental pain in reading what was done in some of these foreign schools that I will not wound the ears of those to whom I am speaking. I will not repeat what I have read. I indeed could scarcely do so in Parliamentary phraseology; but to those of your Lordships who may desire to look more closely into these horrible details, very sufficient evidence will be found in the Appendix to the Report of the Commission, and in a hand-book which has become a textbook in our surgical schools, and was edited by a high authority, to whom I will immediately refer, Dr. Klein. It is scarcely necessary to point out that this book, which bases its teaching amongst other things upon experiments that have been performed upon living animals, must act as a powerful encouragement to students to repeat those experiments: as, indeed, is illustrated in the evidence of one witness, who, when questioned on the point of repeating experiments on the same animal, testified with much emphasis to the necessity of constant and reiterated repetition in the general practice of physiological experimentation.

But it is said that anæsthetics are used, and that consequently there is no pain. I wish it were so. There is, unfortunately, ample testimony that in many cases no anæsthetics at all are used, and that even the use of them is frequently of a very partial and defective kind. There is in the evidence given before the Commission a statement by Dr. Klein, to whom I have already alluded, which is extremely instructive in itself, and illustrative of that point to which I am now directing the attention of the House. Dr. Klein ranks high as a scientific man, he is conversant both with foreign and English practice, has studied at Vienna, and is lecturer on general histology at St. Bartholomew's Hospital. He received the report of his evidence as taken by the shorthand writer, and he returned it corrected—not in accordance with the custom by which witnessers before Commissions and Committees are permited to make verbal correction, but so altered and amended that the Commission felt bound not to receive it in that form. Dr. Klein then requested that his evidence should be withdrawn. The Commissioners rightly, as I think, declined to comply with his request, but they included in the Minutes, the shorthand writer's note, as it was originally taken, and then placed in parallel columns, in the Appendix Dr. Klein's amendments. I have now before me arranged side by side the two versions of Dr. Klein's evidence, and I shall take the liberty of reading to your Lordships the original, and, as I am bound to think, the more faithful expression of Mr. Klein's opinion. He was examined on the use of anæsthetics, and here are some of his examinations as reported by the shorthand writer:— What is your own practice with regard to the use of anæsthetics in experiments that are otherwise painful?—Except for teaching purposes, for demonstration, I never use anæsthetics where it is not necessary for convenience. Again, there followed question and answer— But do you think that where it is only a question of time a professor of physiology is not bound to consult humanitarian feelings?—An investigator has no time. I myself, when I am going to make an experiment for pathological research, have no time really with regard to what the animal will feel. The subject was pursued, and in reply to Mr. Forster, Dr. Klein's practice and. opinions were further elicited— Do you not sometimes find an inconvenient interruption from the cries of the animal?—Only then I do use chloroform: that is what I said; I use anæsthetics for convenience sake. And it is only because the dog might howl, or get into contortions that you would use anæsthetics at all?—Yes. And you think that the view of scientific men on the Continent is your view, that animal suffering is so entirely unimportant compared with scientific research that it should not be taken into account at all?—Yes, except for convenience sake. I venture to hope that no one in this House will endorse these answers of Dr. Klein, and whatever may be the difference on matters of detail, I do not hesitate to affirm both for myself and for every person in this House that such an expression of opinion is simply detestable. In connection with this part of the subject, I ought to add that a so-called anæsthetic known as urari or curari, has the effect of paralyzing all the nerves of motion, while it allows the nerves of sensation to remain in their normal condition. I have read somewhere of a very eminent French Professor who, having administered this to a dog, remarked to his pupils—"You observe that there is in his face no sign whatever of suffering, and yet he is enduring the most diabolical torture." The Bill now before your Lordships absolutely prohibits the use of urari as an anæsthetic, for independently of the atrocious cruelty, practices such as these must lead to the demoralization of those who assisted in them.

I come now to the consideration of the principles on which legislation ought to proceed in order to deal with such abuses whether existing or possible; but I will pause for a moment to refer to an objection which is sometimes urged to any legislation. We are told that field sports ought to be put in the same category as vivisection. I pause indeed to allude to this objection, but I will not dignify it by the name of argument; and so groundless, rhetorical, absurd, is it that I will not condescend to reason upon it. I notice it only that it may not be thought that I have overlooked it. Well, then, what ought to be done? There are the views of two extreme parties. There are some for the total abolition of vivisection, there are others who, as claiming to speak for a section of the scientific world, object to any restriction. To those who advocate the total abolition of the practice I give credit for the highest intentions and feelings, but I entreat them to consider that by refusing all compromise on this subject they are defeating their own objects, they are sanctioning the continuance of great evils, and with that continuance they are fostering a demoralization amongst those who are guilty of cruelty to an extent and in a way which may make the present great wrong far worse in the future, and far more difficult hereafter to eradicate. But it is impracticable to contend for a total abolition; and if so, do not let us fall into the greatest mistake to which legislators are liable—do not let us pass an impossible law. Were total abolition in this case insisted upon by Parliament, one of two consequences would follow— either there would be a general rush of medical students abroad, where they would be under no restraint; or they would betake themselves to the dark holes and corners of this country, where, out of reach of all public opinion and the wholesome influences of a controlling morality, they would with inferior appliances, and far greater indifference to the sufferings of animals, carry on these practices at their pleasure. On the other hand, those advocates of vivisection who claim for it total exemption from all restriction, claim for it an exemption which is granted to no other practice, class, interest, or profession; which I trust will never be granted, and which healthy English public opinion will not endure for one moment. Nor can I believe that the highest authorities in medicine or surgery desire such an exemption. As far as I can gather their opinions, expressed in this Report or elsewhere, I understand it to be the reverse. They have agreed to accept restrictions in the case of vivisection, and it is one of the great merits of this Bill that, being founded mainly on the lines of the Report of the Royal Commission, it will not only have the support of the distinguished men who composed that Commission, but also I hope the concurrence of all the great lights of the medical, surgical, and scientific world. Of course, there may be differences of opinion with respect to details, but these authorities have given in a substantial adhesion to the principle embodied in the Bill; and if the Bill is in the nature of a compromise it is not, perhaps, the worse for that.

Now, what are the principles of legislation which are profitable and expedient? The Commissioners in their Report give in the first place the reasons which in their opinion justify legislation; they next go on to argue that it is impossible to abolish the practice, and that even if it were possible it would not be desirable to do so, but that it is essential that existing abuses should be restrained. Moreover, so far back as 1871 the British Association appointed a Committee to inquire into the subject, and that Committee reported the following conclusions:— (1.) No experiment which can be performed under the influence of an anæsthetic ought to be done without it. (2.) No painful experiment is justifiable for the mere purpose of illustrating a law or fact already demonstrated; in other words, experimentation without the employment of anæsthetics is not a fitting exhibition for teaching purposes. (3.) Whenever, for the investigation of new truth, it is necessary to make a painful experiment, every effort should be made to ensure success, in order that the sufferings inflicted may not be wasted. For this reason, no painful experiment ought to be performed by an unskilled person, with insufficient instruments and assistants, or in places not suitable to the purpose; that is to say, anywhere except in physiological and pathological laboratories, under proper regulations. (4.) In the scientific preparation for veterinary practice, operations ought not to be performed upon living animals for the mere purpose of obtaining greater operative dexterity. These recommendations do not stand on their own authority alone, great as that authority is. They are endorsed by the highest names, including Professors Darwin, Owen, Huxley, and Sir William Gull. And if this Bill goes somewhat beyond them, I may safely affirm that there is nothing in it which is at variance with them. And now, lastly, what are the principles which Parliament ought to keep in view in dealing with this difficult question? The principal object which this Bill recognizes as one to justify vivisection is the lengthening of human life, or the lessening of human suffering. Whether, indeed, science has gained by vivisection what she claims to have gained even by the mouths of the most moderate advocates of the practice is perhaps open to doubt. On the one hand such facts as were ascertained by Hervey are, I apprehend, indisputable; on the other, it is quite certain that many eminent men have deeply regretted the extent to which vivisection has been carried, and Dr. Nelaton, the eminent French surgeon, no mean authority in himself or as representing the French school, if I mistake not, has expressed himself as, on the whole, unfavourable to the practice. Probably, however, in fairness and on the general balance of testimony, it must be admitted that experiments in vivisection have tended to lengthen human life and lessen human suffering. But, admitting this, we must be clear that the object in view is worth the experiment. Pain ought to be spared altogether by the use of anæsthetics; and where this cannot be, then it should be reduced to a minimum, and death should be immediately and mercifully inflicted. Under no circumstances can it be right to sanction the infliction of torture for minor or secondary objects; for the purposes of illustration in schools; for exhibitions to mixed audiences, as has sometimes been the case; by the young or the inexperienced; in secret, or for the acquiring of manual skill. It may be said that the study of medicine and surgery, or physiology, involves, and will more and more involve, like many other studies in these later days, an experimental process. This is true; but, on the other hand, there is this marked difference, that in this case the experimental process involves also the infliction of pain; and where this is so we have a right to take guarantees against that pain, especially where there is reason to believe that any part of it is unnecessary. We endeavour, therefore, under this Bill to provide guarantees which will secure a certain amount of Government inspection, will bring the light of public opinion to bear, will invoke the aid of the higher professional authorities, and will lay down certain regulations.

The Bill opens by prohibiting in express terms and as a general principle the practice of vivisection; but it proceeds to concede various cases in which this rule may be relaxed under certain safeguards and conditions. Thus it allows an exception for certain purposes of teaching, subject to anæsthetics;it allows further an exception for purposes of research even without anæsthetics; it allows exceptions in the case of a criminal trial, and on the responsibility of the presiding Judge; it allows, in fact, exceptions as to the use of anæthetics, but only in most rare cases; and in these cases a certificate from certain professional authorities, and the sanction of the Secretary of State are necessary. As the almost universal rule, the animal operated on must be put to death the moment the influence of the anæsthetic passes away, if pain will be the result of a prolongation of life. An exception is, indeed, allowed in this instance, but only in very rare cases and under precautions such as those to which I have just referred. By the 6th clause any public exhibition of vivisection is declared illegal. Clause 7 provides for a registry of the place in which experiments by vivisection are conducted; and the following clause for a licence by the Secretary of State to any person whom he may think qualified to perform such experiments. Subsequent clauses provide for inspection and reports. The legal proceedings under the Act are to be summary, with a power in the person charged to elect to be tried on indictment. In the case of summary convictions there is an appeal to the Court of quarter sessions.

Clause 5 rests on a peculiar and different footing from the other provisions of the Bill. By it there is an immunity from vivisection in the case of dogs and cats. This exception may not, perhaps, be strictly logical; but we need not always be guided by strict logic: there are even yet higher principles and considerations; whilst, as a matter of fact, there is a legislative precedent for a distinction between domestic and other animals in Martin's Act. If, indeed, there are any animals who, by their habits and companionship with man, are connected with him by familiar and often by very touching bonds of sympathy it is the dog and even the cat. It may, perhaps, be added that a large number of dogs are now stolen for these horrible purposes, and a trade in direct violation of law, and demoralizing to the persons who, whether as sellers or buyers, conduct it, has sprung up.

I have now briefly traversed the ground on which this measure rests. I have argued it for the most part on the lower grounds of expediency, of past legislation, of professional opinion; but I cannot take my leave of it without reminding your Lordships that there is a yet higher law of religion and morality under which it falls—a law which neither individuals nor nations can disregard without paying a heavy penalty. If, indeed, Christianity recognizes one vice as specially worthy of abhorrence it is cruelty for its own sake, and if religion, through successive generations, has set the crown on one quality more than another it has been on the great and absorbing virtue of sympathy—sympathy with man and woman, with freeman and slave, with child and animal. And ever since Christianity was founded, the stream as it ran has broadened with its course, down from its fountain head in the merciful precepts of the Old Bible Law through mediæval saint and reformer, through poet, and painter, through writer and artist, until it distinctly and unequivocally embraced the animal world and took a legislative form, re- buking the oppressor, giving protection to the helpless, and, like all good works, bringing a reward with it in the gentler nurture of children, and the kindlier sympathy between man and man. In England we have never been quite dull to this appeal; our merciful legislation on this subject has been earlier than that of other nations, and it is now simply desired that this legislation should be carried one legitimate step further. I remember some years ago seeing in one of the darkest parts of this great town a reformatory into which were gathered the degraded and outcasts of society. And when I noticed in every room the presence of flowers and tame animals, I was told by the excellent manager of the institution that it was by fostering the love alike of animals and flowers, when other sympathies were dead, that the first gleam of a better feeling arose among the inmates. And in truth this love of animals does insensibly link itself on to a whole sphere of love and religion. All will remember the famous words of the poet— He prayeth best who loveth best Both, man, and bird, and beast; and I may also remind some here present of a passage in a delightful book written by Sir Humphrey Davy in the sunset of his life, and tinged with the sober colours of his mature intellect—a philosopher who is not unworthy to be set by the side of the ablest of modern men of science—where he says—"I was in my early youth a sceptic, and it was by considering the qualities and properties of animals that I first learnt to believe." It may, perhaps, be said that the misery around us which can be relieved is only a drop in the ocean. But that is a specious argument, which if it were admitted might be made a plea for every wrong and injustice. The world is doubtless full of suffering and wrong, and it is as impossible to prevent the one as it is to redress the other; yet this is no reason for acquiescing tamely in every form of evil and abuse; and amidst the highest questions of public policy it is something to devote one chapter of our domestic legislation to such an object as the present, to raise the standard of public thought, to relieve one fraction of the misery around us, and to reconcile the high laws of modern science with the still higher laws of morality and religion.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Earl of Carnarvon.)


said, he would admit that the Government took a wise course in appointing a Commission, and that the Report of the Commissioners did them great credit; but he could not help thinking that the Report went a little beyond the legitimate conclusions of the evidence, and the Bill a little beyond the Report. There was no definition of "animals" in the Bill; it seemed to take in every animal, from the elephant downwards to the smallest insect ever put under the microscope, and no form of animal life was to be experimented on under the Bill. He thought there ought to be some definition, and that the animals to which the provisions of the Bill were to extend should be put into a Schedule. He quite agreed that there should be no public exhibition of experiments on animals. Then the Bill created a new definition of "cruelty," and the offence under the Bill was described as "subjecting animals to experiments for scientific purposes."But animals might still be subject to pain inflicted for no purpose of science. He would undertake to say that one of their Lordships in a good day's rabbit shooting would inflict more pain than scientific men in a whole year of physiological experiments. Notwithstanding all that had been said, it was unfortunately the fact that pain was daily inflicted upon animals for purposes of amusement, curiosity, and vanity. Birds were killed that they might be worn on the top of ladies' bonnets; they ransacked the Arctic regions for their sealskins, and India for their ornaments; and then we were told they were so humane that they could not bear the idea of inflicting pain upon animals. Horses, in 99 cases in 100, were subjected to cruel and painful operations—would those operations come within the Bill? The "firing"of horses was a cruel operation, yet it was never attempted to administer anæsthetics during its performance. Again, was there no cruelty witnessed at the Zoological Gardens, in which they put a rabbit into the den of the boa constrictor? It was a security that at present these scientific experiments were usually performed in a laboratory and in the presence of other scientific men; but what he was afraid of was that the effect of the Bill might be to increase those performances in private houses which they wished to prevent. It was all very well to refer to the example of the Anatomy Act. If the body of a man were taken to a Professor for anatomical purposes, it would be known; but who could tell when a scientific man carried home a frog for his experiments?—and it was usually a frog upon which these experiments were tried. It would be almost impossible to prevent experiments, and it was better they should be performed in a laboratory, where a certain number of men might see them. Another difficulty had been alluded to by one of the medical men, who said— When a surgeon cannot try experiments on animals he will probably try experiments on his patients. That was not a very agreeable prospect! A late President of the College of Surgeons said that surgeons sometimes abused their opportunities; and he instanced the case of a surgeon who was in the habit of pausing over a splendid operation, while he was expatiating on the brilliancy of the performance. If it were true that, if experiments were not made on animals, surgeons would experiment on man, they would, of course, make experiments on their patients, and it was probable that such experiments would be made on the poor in the hospitals rather than on the rich. He objected to Clause 3, which said that— The experiment must be performed with a view only to the advancement by new discovery of knowledge which will be useful for saving or prolonging human life or alleviating human suffering. And that it must be performed in a registered place, and by a person duly licensed. There ought to be security enough in requiring the performer to hold a licence; at all events, it was totally impossible to say what the effect of an experiment might be. It was a common practice, if anyone was suspected of having been poisoned by a pudding, to give some of the pudding to a dog; but under this Bill that could not be done; the persons interested in the discovery might eat the pudding themselves, but they must not give it to a dog. He did not like the character of the certificate that was to be required by an operator. One of the signatories was to be the President of the Royal Society; but the President of that Society might chance to be an astronomer or a botanist, and know nothing of physiology. There seemed to be something suggestive of trade unionism in naming the Presidents of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons and of Physicians of London, Edinburgh, or Dublin; for a man might be unknown to any one of them, and yet be a very clever physiologist, and because they happened to know nothing about him he might be unable to get a licence. Important discoveries were often made by comparatively unknown men rather than by the most prominent physicians and surgeons, and yet such students were to be prevented from prosecuting their researches. He would enforce the use of anæsthetics where it was possible to use them; but in many cases it was not possible. In the case of a poison, an antidote, a new medicine, or an inoculation, you could not resort to the use of an anæsthetic, because it would defeat your object, which was to see the actual operation of the specific under natural conditions. It was said that vaccination had saved more lives than were destroyed by the wars of Napoleon, and vaccination was arrived at by experiments on animals. He was sorry to see some doubts thrown on the value of vaccination by an eminent public man within the last few days, because he believed it had been a great blessing to the world. While assenting to the principle of the Bill, he feared its provisions would go too far to prevent original research, and he therefore trusted it would be well considered and amended in Committee. The object of physiology was to prolong human life and mitigate human suffering. It was necessary that experiments should be performed on animals, and he trusted we should be careful to preserve and maintain the opportunities of performing them. Many discoveries were made almost by accident; the value of chloroform, for instance, was discovered by distilling red ants, which certainly inflicted pain upon animals; and it was not desirable that the possibility of such accidental discoveries should be diminished by too restrictive legislation.


said, the Bill did not go as far as could be wished, but, nevertheless, he desired to thank the Government for bringing it in. The excitement through out the country was very great, as was shown by the Petitions that had been addressed to Parliament; and they would have been more numerous and forcible if the people had not believed that the Government would legislate on the Report of the Commission. To show the strength of the feeling which he believed predominated in the country, he would quote the language of one Petition, which was as follows:— That your Petitioners, feeling that cruel experiments are on no grounds justifiable, hereby humbly entreat your Honourable House to legislate for the total abolition and utter suppression of what is termed 'vivisection,' or the cutting-up of living creatures, or otherwise torturing them, or putting them to death by torture, under any scientific pretext whatsoever. Perpetrators of these atrocities allege that they physically benefit mankind, though competent authorities deny the assertion. But, even if it were so, no physical gain can possibly equal the injury caused by the moral degradation of the feelings which such barbarous experiments must naturally induce. The supporters of the Government measure would, he feared, be misrepresented, or, at least, misunderstood, for it could not be denied that the feeling of the country was in favour of total abolition; but, knowing the difficulties which surrounded the question, he was prepared to accept the Bill, which only imposed restrictions; and he did it upon this ground—that while he believed restriction might be effective, he feared that abolition would be a dead letter. Now, if it had been difficult to obtain evidence before the Royal Commission for information, how much more difficult would it be to obtain evidence for a prosecution when all the men of science were opposed to the measure. All sorts of arguments were urged against interference, but he had heard none so groundless as those of the noble Duke. Field-sports might be justifiable or unjustifiable, though he had nothing to do with such sports. The argument was not applicable to him. He never hunted a fox in his life; many years ago he hunted a hare, and he then determined from that time never to do so again. But he would not go into the question of field-sports at all. They were beside the question. One evil, supposing this to be an evil, did not palliate another. Was it not permitted to abate suffering, though it could not be extinguished altogether? Common sense drew a distinction between them and prolonged deliberate mutilation, the submitting of animals to torture from hour to hour and month to month. The argument derived from field-sports was, if good at all, good only against those who hunted, and it was no argument whatever to the mass of the people of these lands who never hunted, and who yet were the Petitioners that demanded these prohibitions. But, if the amusements of the fine folk of England were to be quoted as reasons why there should be no restriction on vivisection, let those amusements be contrasted with the amusements of the vivisectors, with that continuous excitement of morbid curiosity which found its employment and recreation in ingenious and prolonged suffering. M. Brachet, an eminent French physician under Charles X. and Louis Philippe, who obtained the physiological prize from the Institute, narrated the following experiment:— I inspired a dog," he begged noble Lords to observe the rich language of science, "I inspired a dog with the greatest aversion for me by plaguing and inflicting some pain or other upon it as often as I saw it. Here was a precious pursuit of knowledge!— When this feeling was carried to its height, so that the animal became furious as soon as it saw or heard me, I put out its eyes; I could then appear before it without its manifesting any aversion. What a discovery!— I spoke, and immediately its barkings and furious movements proved the passion which animated it. I destroyed the drum of its ears, and disorganized the internal ear as much, as I could. This was the language of absolute relish— When an intense inflammation which was excited had rendered it deaf, I filled up its ears with wax. It could no longer hear at all. Then I went to its side, spoke aloud, and even caressed it, without its falling into a rage; it seemed even sensible to my caresses. What a heart the man must have had! It was thought necessary to repeat this experiment, in order that there might be no uncertainty in the result— And what," observes Dr. Elliotgon, who criticized the case, "was all this to prove?Simply that if one brute has an aversion to another it does not feel or show that aversion when it has no means of knowing that the other brute is present. If he had stood near the dog on the other side of a wall, he might have equally proved what common sense required not to be proved. I blush for human nature in detailing this experiment. Dr. Elliotson wrote well. Why did not every man blush who heard of it? And here let the amusements of the French physiologist be compared with that of a day's fox-hunting! It might be said this was a foreign practice; but what was the testimony of Sir William Fergusson, that great and eminent surgeon? He said— The impression on my mind is that these experiments are done very frequently in a most reckless manner. He added— I will give you an illustration of an animal being crucified for several days, perhaps; introduced several times into a lecture room for the class to see how the experiment was going on. What was this but sheer amusement? Could science have gained, by a cold-blooded, systematic, cruelty such as this, one hair's breadth of knowledge for the use of mankind? This, perhaps, was gained; a proof was gained of what men can bring themselves to do when science is degraded to a wretched monomania. Sir William was asked if he believed that much of this was going on, and his answer was—"I believe a great deal of reckless mutilation is going on among students in private houses."Well, all sorts of objections had been urged, heavy and light. Seal skins, it was stated, were obtained by reckless means. Now, first, an effort had been made by law to appoint proper seasons for the seal-fishing; and, secondly, this argument was effective only against those who wore that kind of fur, and not against the millions who, dressing in cotton and woollens, demanded that animals should be protected. He (the Earl of Shaftesbury) in a controversy he had with a distinguished man—an eminent surgeon—when he was urging on him the necessity of moderation and care in physiological experimentation, received for reply, that he must look at home and ask himself if he did not indulge in paté de foie gras (pie of geese with livers artificially diseased). Why, he, and the masses who sympathized with him, had never tasted paté de foie gras in their lives, and probably never should taste it. All he could say was, paté de foie gras brought its own punishment with it—being as indigestible as it was wicked. Now, this evil of vivisection was extended over the whole of Europe, and was beginning to be very rife in this country. Dr. Haughton, on this point, fully confirmed the testimony of Sir William Fergusson, and stated— I believe that a large proportion of the experiments now performed upon animals in England, Scotland, and Ireland are unnecessary and clumsy repetitions of well-known results; that young physiologists in England learn German and read experiments in German journals, and repeat them then in this country. There is a good deal of that second-rate sort of physiological practice going on, all of which their Lordships might believe was as useless as it was atrocious. Now, if vivisection had been exhibited to their Lordships for the first time, all would have shrunk from it with abhorrence; but now, suddenly, they were confronted with a long-established system; and they had to deal with the arguments and facts of learned men of very various dispositions. Vivisection was urged as a grand necessity for the prolongation of human life and the alleviation of human suffering. Doubtless, there were many and great names in favour of the practice, but there were also great names who questioned the necessity, and hesitated to believe that any real good had resulted at all in proportion to the thousands of hecatombs of animals that had been slaughtered and tortured in this terrible pursuit of science. Sir WilliamFergusson observed that— Mr. Syme lived to express an abhorrence of such operations, at all events, if they were not useful…..His ultimate authority was strongly on the other side, as expressed in a special report of his own….No man, perhaps, said Sir William, has ever had more experience on the human subject than Mr. Syme…and I myself have a strong opinion that such an expression, coming from Mr. Syme, was a mature and valuable opinion. When asked whether his own opinion in mature life was much less favourable to these experiments than when he was young— Yes," he replied, "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 mature 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. This was of weight. Professor Rolleston stated— Haller fell in his later age into a permanent anguish of conscience, which is shown in his epistles, reproaching himself most bitterly for his vivisection. These are Krug's words….I think I may say this (but I shall not give the name), that it is within my own personal experience that a person who has a considerable name before the world, and has performed a large number of vivisections in his time, has expressed himself to me as exceedingly sorry that heever did them—did them, I should say, to the extent to which he did. To these might be added the names of Dr. Child, Dr. Crisp, and others. But further. In the life of that accomplished man, Sir Charles Bell, was to be found this passage— In his study of the system of circulation, as in that of the nerves, Charles Bell was necessarily compelled to make more than one experiment in comparative anatomy; but he abstained as much as possible from torturing animals, which he considered, in most cases, a useless act of cruelty, leas certain in result than was commonly supposed, and less profitable than an attentive study of pathological phenomena, because vivisection not only alters the substance of the mutilated organs, but disturbs, more or less profoundly, the natural condition of life, and excites, through pain, irregular motions differing from those expected or previously observed, &c. Why, this passage was almost an answer to the whole inquiry; not only did he avoid torture, so far as he could, but he considered the study of pathology superior to the practice of vivisection. But here was, no doubt, the difference in the minds of the experimentalists; pathology was long, and vivisection was short; study a bore, but action an amusement— Sir Charles admitted that his own opinion was not the opinion of some of the best and most virtuous men he had ever known, but that for his own part he could never convince himself either by the experiments he witnessed or by any of those related to him. What a testimony from such a man! But he wished particularly to call their Lordships'attention to a letter written by Sir Charles Bell himself— I should be writing," he said, "a third paper on the nerves, but I cannot proceed with- out making some experiments, which are so unpleasant to make that I defer them. You may think me silly, would their Lordships mark these words?— but I cannot perfectly convince myself that I am authorized in nature or religion to do these cruelties: would they pause here for a minute? Sir Charles proceeded, and— for what" he said. "For anything else than a little egotism or self-aggrandizement; and yet, what are my experiments in comparison with those which are daily done, and are done daily for nothing? Their Lordships might be assured that the people of England rested their hatred, no lighter term could be used, of this terrible system on the grounds suggested by Sir Charles Bell. It was with many of them not simply a matter of feeling, it was one of religion. He (the Earl of Shaftesbury) did not believe that it could be eradicated; he hardly believed that it could be partially subdued. A violent unqualified opposition to their wishes might bring on such expressions of sentiment as would end in the most coercive measures, and the formation of a public opinion, hostile alike to science and to scientific men personally, in the matter of vivisection. But this Bill did not demand the solution of the difficulty whether vivisection were really necessary or not; it went only to the extent to which the men of science would go in limitation of an acknowledged evil. Now his noble Friend had stated facts. He would add one or two. It was impossible to describe the feelings they excited. The narrator in this instance was M. Bouillaud, a man of high scientific name, and one of the most conspicuous physicians in the Medical School of Paris. The account of the eleventh experiment began thus— I made an opening on each side of the forehead of a young dog, and forced a red hot iron into each of the anterior lobes of the brain"— would their Lordships observe the light jaunty way in which he relates his chamber sport?— Immediately afterwards, the animal, after howling violently, lay down as if to sleep. On urging it, it walked or even ran for a considerable space; it did not know how to avoid obstacles placed in its way, and on encountering them groaned, or even howled violently. Deprived of the knowledge of external objects, it no longer made any movements either to avoid or approach them. As if common sense would not have taught this to any one— But it still could perform such motions as are called instinctive. It withdrew its feet when they were pinched, and shook itself when water was poured upon it. It turned incessantly in the cage as if to get out, and became impatient of the restraint thus imposed. After noting many revolting details, he said— It slept occasionally for a short time, and on awakening began its mournful cries. We tried to keep it quiet by beating it, but it only cried more loudly. It did not understand the lesson; it was incorrigible. What stuff! to say nothing of his feelings; was the man in his senses? Some days elapsed, and the journal continued— Its fore legs are now half paralyzed in walking, or rather in dragging itself along; it rests upon the back of its foot, bent upon the leg. No change has taken place in respect to his intellectual power; as its irrepressible cries disturbed the neighbourhood I was obliged to kill it. Here the atrocious prolongation of torture should be noted. This gentleman was insatiable; he presented another rich experiment, rich in showing what men can do and what animals must submit to. Another young dog, so went the narrative, that had been exposed to similar suffering from having had "the cranium and cerebral hemispheres sawed transversely," escaped from its torturer by a comparatively easy death— To prevent its plaintive cries disturbing my neighbours"—what humane consideration!—"I enveloped it in a thick sack. On examining some time afterwards, I found that it had died from suffocation. Another dog was selected— Possessing the reputation of being lively, docile and intelligent. The anterior part of its brain was transfixed on the 28th of June, and day after day, for several weeks, it was tortured in every possible way, and the effects recorded. After detailing the results, he said, on the 7th of July— When menaced it crouches, as if to implore mercy, could anything, except a demi-fiend, have felt or written in that way?— but it does not in consequence obey. It, on the contrary, utters cries which nothing can repress, similar to those of an uneducated dog, whose intellect is undeveloped. What did their Lordships think the dog would have replied to the developed intellect of his torturer, could he have spoken? The very dumbness of the animals should be a powerful appeal on their behalf— I watched it attentively," he went on, "for the remainder of this and for the first 15 days of the succeeding month. The ferocious prolongation of suffering should again be observed. But to sum up, in the words of Dr. Walker, let them listen to a choice category of experimental recreations— Forcing substances into the stomach of a dog after exposing the gullet, and tying it to prevent vomiting; opening the abdomen, tying a portion of the small intestine in two places, opening the intermediate portion, and injecting a noxious fluid into it; starving rabbits till they would eat dead frogs; forcing boiling water into a dog's stomach; boiling frogs; starving pigeons till they dropped from their perches, and then cutting off their anterior or posterior extremities to show that this caused death when the organism was exhausted from want of food. Did man, from all this, walk in greater honour and greater security? and was it not now clear to their Lordships that they ought to do something to put a check upon such wild, wanton, and superfluous, cruelties. Now let them hear Dr. Acland, a very eminent physician—what did he say?— The number of persons in this and other countries who are becoming biologists without being medical men is very much increasing. Modern civilization seems to be set upon acquiring almost universally what is called biological knowledge, and one of the consequences of this is, that whereas medical men are constantly engaged in the study of anatomy and physiology for a humane purpose—that is, for the purpose of doing immediate good to mankind—there are a number of persons now who are engaged in the pursuit of these subjects for the purpose of acquiring abstract knowledge. That is quite a different thing. I am not at all sure that the mere acquisition of knowledge is not a thing having some dangerous and mischievous tendencies in it. That very striking and most true observation deserved serious attention— Now it has become a profession," he continued, "to discover, and to discover at any cost. Mr. Gr. H. Lewes said— One man discovers a fact or publishes an experiment, and instantly, all over Europe, certain people set to work to repeat it. They will repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it. Mr. Lewes was right. Unless checked, they would repeat any amount of cruelty without the slightest addition of knowledge. Dr. Haughton said— I would shrink with horror from accustoming without foresight or forethought, large classes of young men to the sight of animals under vivisection. I believe that many of them would become cruel and hardened, and would go away and repeat these experiments recklessly. Science would gain nothing, and the world would have let loose upon it a set of young devils. Was not, he asked their Lordships, the great rush of them already begun? Dr. Anthony, another high testimony— Knew himself of instances of young men, from mere curiosity, carrying on these experiments. Could mention them, but I should scarcely like to do so…No anæsthetics are used to diminish the pain of the creature. Of course not, it would be too much trouble. Respecting demonstrations by professors to students, Dr. Anthony said— I believe the more you keep the scenic element away the better….The reason.….is the existence of morbid curiosity. There is a morbid curiosity which is known to medical men well with reference to operations of all kinds. That was just what had been asserted all along— There are a certain number of persons who are very fond of coming to see the different operations at the hospitals. I look upon that, and particularly upon the desire of seeing these experiments on animals, as something very, very morbid indeed. Could anything, he asked their Lordships, be more illustrative than the written statement put in by Mr. James B. Mills?— Observing from the daily papers that Mr. Ernest Hart alleges that students do not perform experiments on living animals as an exercise in the prosecution of their studies, I beg to forward to you a summary of my experience in that respect during my College career at Edinburgh. I am a veterinary surgeon, and I feel it my duty to aid your Society in repressing unnecessary experimentation; surveying the past as I do with much regret, so far as I have participated in the practices which I am now compelled to condemn. At Edinburgh the veterinary students and the medical students frequently associate for pleasure and for study. The experiments were certainly never designed to discover any new fact, or elucidate any obscure phenomena, but simply to demonstrate the most ordinary facts of physiology. Our victims were sometimes dogs, but more frequently cats. Many of the latter were caught by means of a poisoned bait, the animals being secured whilst suffering from the agonies caused by the poison, when antidotes were applied for their restoration. They were then imprisoned in a cupboard at the students' lodgings, and kept there until a meeting could be arranged. Sometimes the students secured their victims by what is known as a cat hunt—that is, a raid on cats by students armed with sticks late at night. I am not prepared to say that the object of the students was to commit cruelty, or that there was any morbid desire to witness pain, but I say emphatically that there was no other motive than idle curiosity and heedless, reckless love of experimentation. What, for instance, could justify the following experiment, performed for the purpose of witnessing the action of a cat's heart? The operator first of all made an incision through the skin of the animal's chest, extending from the neck to the belly. The skin was then laid back by hooks, in order to enable the operator to cut through the cartilage of the breast-bone, and to draw his knife across the ribs for the purpose of nicking them. This process is necessary to enable him to snap the ribs and lay the fractured parts back, which also are secured with hooks. It is needless to say that such operation is a most cruel one; but it is only one of several others performed at Edinburgh. Now, the action of the heart is well known, and is one of the first things taught to students of physiology, and can be taught as well without experimentation as with. In a few cases the animals were narcotized, when no suffering was caused either in the process of poisoning or in the after experimentations. The repetition, then, their Lordships would see, was for diversion, not for knowledge. The securing an animal for an operation like the above requires experience and care, and it is fearful to witness the struggles of the animal while this is being done. I desire to exonerate the Professors from any participation in the experiments performed by students, which were conducted at the private lodgings of students, when none but students were present. On cross-examination, Mr. Mills confirmed these statements. He said— The experiments" (made chiefly on cats and dogs) "had no other motive than idle curiosity and reckless love of experimentation. All the students (a class of 70 or 80) assisted more or less at these useless experiments. They were sometimes done in public in the yard of the college— The habit of doing such things is sure to go on unless a stop is put to it. He referred to a special case which occurred last winter session. A horse was bought for the purpose of dissection. This animal was subjected during a whole week to various operations, such as tenotomy and neurotomy, &c. The operations were "very painful." No anæstheticsof any kind were given. The experiments were made "all over the animal." Edinburgh, it was clear, would soon be a match for Paris in competitive examinations on animal torture. A dog, too, which was first half poisoned and then restored by an antidote, received 'brutal usage.' The brains were knocked out by a hammer. The story of the horse was subsequently confirmed by Principal Williams. Dr. Scott, also, might be heard on the easy indifference of these lovers of scientific truth. After describing how he ceased to attend the physiological lectures in Edinburgh on account of the cruelty he witnessed, he said that— It did not provoke the slightest symptoms of abhorrence among those who witnessed it." He "never knew an operation cause the least abhorrence to a medical student. Vivisection, he believed, went on among students in their own rooms. But few things had alarmed him (the Earl of Shaftesbury) more than something he saw lately in the text book of the Science and Art Department of the Committee of Council on Education, a book entitled Lessons in Elementary Physiology, by Thomas Huxley, LL.D., F.R.S. Had he not seen it he could hardly have believed it possible, strange and numerous as were the novel things that sprang up every day. In the preface to the first edition, Professor Huxley said— The following 'Lessons in Elementary Physiology'are primarily intended to serve the purpose of a text book for teachers and learners in boys' and girls' schools. In the next place, it was strongly insisted— that such experiments as those subjoined shall not merely be studied in the manual, but actually repeated, either by the 'boys and girls' themselves, or else by the teacher in their presence, as plainly appears from the preface to the second edition. There it was said, 'the knowledge' which is 'attainable by mere reading, though infinitely better than ignorance,' yet loses 'almost its whole worth as an intellectual discipline' to those who seek it only in books. Where then could it be sought but in the living animal? And the last phrase showed it by as- serting the necessity of the knowledge "arising from direct contact with fact." But, that there might be no doubt, he asked their Lordships' attention to the passage in the ninth edition, page 52— If in a rabbit," the Professor stated, "the sympathetic nerve which sends branches to the vessels of the head is cut, the ear of the rabbit….at once blushes….To produce pallor and cold in the rabbit's ear, it is only necessary to irritate the cut end of the sympathetic. It was manifest that the incision to make the ear of the rabbit blush must be on the living, and not on the dead, animal. And was that the way, he asked, to bring up children? Was that the progress we had made in the 19th century? Prom ignorance, perhaps, the tendency of children was to be cruel, and who did not know the necessity of daily rebuke to check that propensity? But under this unprecedented scheme of intellectual training they were to be accustomed, from their earliest years, not only to witness, but to inflict, agonies of pain on the poor helpless creatures they should be taught to love and protect. Sir Astley Cooper must have been brought up after this fashion. In his life by his nephew, Bransby Cooper, we read the following story:— During this time, Astley, who was always eager to add to our anatomical and physiological knowledge, made a variety of experiments on living animals. I recollect one day walking out with him, when a dog followed us and accompanied us home," mark this—the dog is taught by nature to confide in man, "little foreseeing the fate that awaited him. He was confined for a few days, till we had ascertained that no owner would come to claim him, and then brought up to be the subject of various operations. The first of these was the tying one of the femoral arteries. When poor," mark the pity, "poor Chance, for so we appropriately named the dog, was sufficiently recovered from this," mark the brutality of that tender care, to cure him for further suffering, "one of the humeral arteries was subjected to a similar process. After the lapse of a few weeks the ill-fated animal was killed, the vessels injected, and preparations were made from each of the limbs. It appears," the biographer continued, "that the dogs sacrificed in my uncle's scientific researches were not unfrequently procured in this manner. That was, as the biographer had stated elsewhere, by agents, who obtained the animals by every form of illicit art— Nothing but the objects which led to these delinquencies," added the historian, "could offer an excuse for such proceedings. And so they had there, as elsewhere the full indulgence of the precept, that the end justifies the means. But he (the Earl of Shaftesbury) must go further. He did not know whether their Lordships would hesitate to join him in believing that in such an ardent adoration of science, worshipped and pursued under the high pretext of the universal alleviation of human suffering, pursued for discoveries that were to raise man's intellect by perpetual progress, in this kind of knowledge, with an increasing relish for it; the step was very narrow between the vivisection of the animal and the vivisection of the human being. It had been so in old times; it might be so again. Dr. Macaulay, in his valuable work Plea for Mercy to Animals, said, that the system prevailed in the days of Celsus, in a time of refinement and what was termed high civilization—Celsus wrote with horror of the cruelties perpetrated on living men and living women. But the world was returning, he (the Earl of Shaftesbury) said, to many of the opinions of those earlier days; and why not, then, to their practices? This was no mere conjecture. It was to be recollected that Cheselden, one of the most distinguished surgeons of the last century, wishing to investigate a surgical question, had proposed to try the experiment on a criminal condemned to death, but the opposition which was manifested on this occasion prevented his desire being carried into effect. That was good; but people became familiar very soon with strange things often proposed; and science at that time had not then, as now, been deified. But something was dawning even in modern minds. The testimony of Dr. Rutherford gave cause for disquietude— In your judgment," he was asked, "are operations of that description upon the dog to be taken as evidence of what the effect would be on a human being?"—"Certainly not; but merely as suggesting what the action would be, that is all. The experiment must also be tried upon men before a conclusion can be drawn. Exactly so; and if in the fanatical authority of science, and the equally fanatical obedience to it, some conclusions were declared to be absolutely necessary, criminals, as heretofore, might be utilized for the purpose—For, though scientific men were no worse, they were no better, than other men, most of whom succumbed to temptation and opportunity. Professor Rolleston seemed to entertain a similar apprehension— With regard," he said, "to all absorbing studies, that is the besetting sin of them and of original research, that they lift a man so entirely above the ordinary sphere of daily duty that it betrays him (in other lines of original research as well as this) into selfishness and unscrupulous neglect of duty; and he added the testimony of an eminent Professor. Mr. Skey, said he, wrote in his work— A man who has the reputation of a splendid operator is ever a just object of suspicion. No doubt, for opportunity to such men was almost irresistible. But these operations appeared to blunt the understanding in many as much as they hardened the heart. Some learned men had actually declared that animals were like puppets—they kicked, cried, and made a noise, but had no feeling whatever. Such was the attempted despotism of science over common sense. Others urged that animals were not to be pitied, because they had no foreknowledge of what was going to happen. But, if that was so, it was the best and most fearful argument he had ever heard, and one conducing to the issues just mentioned, for the vivisection of babies and idiots, for they would have no foreknowledge of the torture that awaited them. But the strongest part of the whole evidence to show the degradation of moral feeling was that of Dr. Klein, who was employed officially by the Medical Officer to the Privy Council. These were some of the questions put to him, and his answers to them— When you say that you only use anæsthetics for convenience'sake, do you mean that you have no regard at all to the sufferings of the animals?"—"No regard at all. Then for your own purposes you disregard entirely the question of the suffering of the animal in performing a painful experiment?"—"I do. But, in regard to your proceedings as an investigator, you are prepared to acknowledge that you hold as entirely indifferent the sufferings of the animal which is subjected to your investigation?"—"Yes. What could surpass or even equal such philosophy as that? And finally, a gentleman, whom he would not name, bore testimony to the "kindness" of Dr. Burdon Sanderson and Dr. Klein. When interrogated— Whether he did not think that the habit of regarding animals as a mere battery of vital forces on which particular results are to be studied, necessarily to a certain extent produces the effect of diminishing the sympathy with their sufferings?" he said "I think not. I do not know anywhere a kinder person than Dr. Burdon Sanderson." "Or than Dr. Klein, for instance?" asked the Commission. "I have no reason," said this gentleman, "to think otherwise of him. That opinion, from such a person as the gentleman he would not name, completed his (the Earl of Shaftesbury's) conviction of the evil effects of those practices on a kind and generous nature. But to conclude, the subject was inexhaustible; it was impossible for him to compress within a small compass all the arguments that might be urged, and all the facts that might be adduced; but he was not pleading for total abolition, he was pleading only for mitigation of the system, and surely there was no wisdom in declaring that one evil should continue to exist because another could not be put down. Up to this point scientific men were with the advocates of restriction. England had prohibited bull-baiting, cock-fighting, prize-fighting, all of which had, in their day, no end of logic and sentiment in their favour; and why should she not hold her place among all the nations of the earth, and be the first to reduce, within the closest possible limits, the sufferings inflicted by man on the whole animal creation?


said, he might, perhaps, be allowed to make a few remarks on the subject of vivisection, dealt with in the Bill before the House, as he had taken some interest in it, and last year brought in a Bill to deal with it. He readily withdrew the Bill on the appointment of a Royal Commission, and it would afford him much gratification if he could suppose that its introduction had in any degree tended to bring the question to an issue. He believed his Bill was all that public opinion would have sanctioned at the time; but during the last year a great advance had been made. The public had been roused to a sense of the real position of affairs by the unanimous Report of the Royal Commission, on which two well-known physiologists served. He believed also that the feeling on the subject was not confined to this country but was spreading to other countries. In Sweden and in America a movement against the practice of vivisection was on foot, and he believed that a Bill was actually in print in America, and its promoters were only waiting to see what action was taken in this country before introducing it to the Legislature. The Government deserved the thanks of all those who agreed with him in thinking that legislation was necessary, for bringing in this Bill. They had introduced a stronger measure than that he had himself ventured to bring forward last year, at the same time it was not of too stringent a character—too stringent legislation would be unwise. Perhaps those persons who wished to see the practice of vivisection absolutely prohibited might think the Bill did not go far enough, but he would venture to remind them that there was such a thing as going too far, and particularly in regard to a question of this kind—if it went too far it was almost certain to be evaded. They were not dealing with an uneducated class of men, but with the most cultivated and intellectual class, and he believed—whatever some physiologists, who acted on purely selfish motives, might feel—that the leading men among them would set the example by loyally carrying out any reasonable measure which might be passed; he believed also that public feeling would be against passing too strong a measure. The Bill of the Government should secure the support of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, for it embodied many important suggestions made by that Society last year, with the exception of one—namely, that the use of curare should not be prohibited as an anæsthetic. He hoped there would be no modification of this clause, for, although the discovery was wonderful in itself, it was so terrible in its effects that its use ought not to be sanctioned. As to those who practised in physiological schools, no one, for a moment, wished to cast any sweeping condemnation upon them—they appeared willing to accept any reasonable measure. But it appeared to him that when fresh schools for scientific teaching were being established every day, and the taste for scientific research was increasing, the proper time had arrived for dealing with the question, so that all might know on what ground they stood; and he thought that the Bill introduced by the Government offered a fair basis of a settlement of this question.


said, he did not wish to enter into any discussion on the principle of the Bill, with respect to which their Lordships seemed to be practically agreed, but desired to point out that one of its provisions was much more stringent and sweeping than anything recommended in the Report of the Royal Commission. He referred to the sub-section of Clause 3, which would absolutely prohibit a class of experiments which, although they might give a certain amount of pain, were neither unimportant nor unnecessary, and which might be productive of great utility in dealing with the diseases of domestic animals such as cattle and sheep. During the time of the cattle plague numerous experiments were tried which proved unsuccessful; had this Bill then been in operation these experiments could not have been tried, and the result would have been a prohibition against experiments of any kind. It would be a strong thing to interfere with experiments for discovering the causes and remedies of diseases in cattle and sheep—especially as they were usually attended with very little pain and the diseases were becoming more widespread and severe than formerly. It appeared to him also that Clause 5, which absolutely prohibited experiments on dogs and cats, went considerably beyond the recommendations of the Commission, and ought not to stand in its present form. All were agreed that effectual provision should be made against the infliction of wanton cruelty, but care must be taken not to make restriction too stringent. He would propose an Amendment in Committee on the subject.


said, no time should be lost in putting a stop to vivisection as it was now practised, for it had been stated, and the report had not been contradicted, that women carried lobsters and rabbits and other animals to vivisect them in girls' schools. Such education was only fit for the daughters of Danaus. The philosophers wished to introduce this study of anatomy into the elementary schools, whilst they excluded from them the Bible.


expressed, as a Member of the Royal Commission, his satisfaction at the way in which the Bill had been received by the House. But he wished to refer to a point that had been raised relative to the absolute exemption of two classes of animals—cats and dogs—from vivisection. He believed such a distinction was unnecessary. The Commissioners did not name those animals in their Report because they had confidence that efficient legislation would follow on their Report, and that, if it were properly carried out, neither dogs nor any other domestic animals would be subjected to anything like unnecessary cruelty. As to the objection made by the noble Earl who spoke last but one (the Earl of Shaftesbury), he would only say that he would find that the investigations to which he alluded might be carried out under another clause of the Bill. The noble Earl said it had been shown that Harvey had not discovered the circulation of the blood by vivisection; but Harvey's own words quoted in the Report, proved that this statement was incorrect. He preferred the evidence given before the Royal Commission by Professors and recognized authorities to the pamphlets and the statements which he saw in the public prints. The noble Earl doubted whether any benefits had been derived from vivisection. He (Lord Winmarleigh), on the contrary, was of opinion that many remedies for complaints could be traced to the practice. This Bill of the Government being based on the recommendations of the Commission, would receive the support, not only of the physiologists, but also of all reasonable anti-vivisectionists. The persons who took an ultra view of vivisection could not found their arguments on the evidence adduced before the Commission. They had been led to adopt exaggerated notions, which hitherto had carried too much weight in the country. Believing that the Bill would prevent all abuses, and fairly combined the views of physiologists and philanthropists, he should give it his cordial support.


denied the statement of the noble Duke (the Duke of Somerset) that the Report of the Commissioners had gone beyond the evidence, and in that view he was supported by Sir Thomas Watson, Sir George Burrows, Sir James Paget, Dr. Acland, and other eminentmembers of the medical profession. Men like Mr. Darwin, Professor Owen, Mr. Huxley, Sir William Fergusson, Dr. Taylor, and Professor Gamgee concurred in thinking that the practice of vivisection called for regulation by superior authority, and far from being afraid of the restrictions recommended by the Commission, would be willing supporters of any measure which did not go beyond its recommendations. We were passing through a scientific revival, and a great start was being given in this country to the practice of vivisection. Everything depended, therefore, whether we should seize the opportunity for wise legislation. If we controlled the system in its infancy we should have an advantage which might never occur again. In the Bill generally he had the greatest pleasure in concurring, reserving to himself the right of suggesting some Amendments in Committee in points where the Bill had gone beyond the views of the Royal Commission. It had been a painful duty on the part of the Commissioners to go into the horrible details connected with this subject; but if his noble Friend should be able to carry this Bill into law, they would be amply rewarded for their painful duties. The Government would do credit not only to themselves, but to the country if they were able to pass a measure of this kind on a subject which had interested the people of England from the Sovereign on the throne to the humblest of her subjects. The Crown and Parliament of this country would set an example to the civilized world by dealing with this subject in a manner which, as he believed, while it avoided any interference with the claims of science, would recognize the just claims of humanity.

Motion agreed to:—Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.

House adjourned at Eight o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.