HL Deb 25 March 1924 vol 56 cc980-1007

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, in rising to move the Second Reading of this Bill I desire to say that it is in no way an attempt to do away with vivisection. All it does is to exempt dogs from vivisection and experiments. I propose to show that dogs are not necessary for the purpose of science, that they are used because they are cheap, and because they trust man and will not hurt him. This Bill has passed a Second Reading on three occasions in the other House ; twice without a Division and once by a majority. On the last occasion it not only received a Second Reading but passed through Committee. It is that Hill which I am moving this afternoon. It was amended on Report by the Government, and only rejected on Third Reading, somewhat unexpectedly, because a new Department took charge of the measure and, on a Friday afternoon, took the unusual course of putting on the Government Whips.

I said that I propose to show that dogs are not necessary for vivisection. I hold in my hand an extract from the Lancet, which is a medical paper, dated May 31, 1919. This extract, which refers to the use of dogs, says that certain good results have occurred from certain experiments, and it goes on to say— This is not to say that such knowledge could have been acquired in no other way. That is not a statement by anybody who is favourable to the Bill, but a medical statement. I have here also a letter from Sir William Collins, a well-known doctor, who was a member of the Royal Commission. He wrote to me as follows when my Bill was before the House of Commons:— Allow me to congratulate you on the success which has, thus far, attended you in the progress of the "Dogs Bill. You will, of course, have noticed paragraph 97, page 57, in the Report of the Royal Commission, which, if I remember rightly, I drafted. This was unanimously agreed to— and so on. A well-known doctor therefore is found to be in favour of my Bill. Then I have a statement from the late Professor Woodroffe Hill, F.R.C.V.S., who said that he saw no reason why dogs should be used. Further, I find that m April, 1922, Sir Lambert Hornsby, a past President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said this:— Experiments on dogs might now be discontinued. All that can be found out by physiological experiments for application to human beings has long since been discovered and repetitions are unnecessary and cruel. I find also that certain other doctors have taken the same view.

My next point is that dogs are used because they are cheap. Dr. Chapple, an opponent of the Bill, has stated that it-is not: a question between 5s. and 7s. 6d but between 5s. and £5, that in his opinion the only other animal that could be used was a monkey, and that a monkey could not be bought for less than £5. What it comes to is that the gentlemen who make these experiments are prepared, in order to save the difference between the price they give for a dog and £5, to save that difference by sacrificing the dog. Sir Watson Cheyne said much the same thing. He said that the men who were engaged in this sort of work were in the great majority of eases poor men who did not spend their money on pleasure but on instruments, and to ask a poor man to buy such an expensive animal as an ape was out of the question. Let me next quote an extract from the Report of the Royal Commission on Vivisection of 1912 I find in paragraph 118 that a very prevalent view was expressed by Sir William Osler when dealing with the use of dog3 for the purpose of acquiring manual dexterity. He said:— I think we have all felt that it would be very much better if we could get animals other than the dog to operate on, and he quoted with approval the opinion of Dr. Cushing to the effect that:— There is naturally a feeling of regret in the minds of many—of none greater than our own—that animals, particularly dogs, should thus be subjected to operations, even though the object be a most desirable one and accomplished without the infliction of pain, and, did expense permit, he would gladly have used animals with which there is an association of less acute sentiment on the part of all. I find in the Report of the Royal Commission, paragraph 118, that Dr. Gotch stated that no dog had been used for vivisection experiments in Oxford during the previous five years. Professor Starling, however, stated that in 1902, at University College, 155 dogs were used. Dr. Pembrey stated that at the medical school at Guy's Hospital he did not experiment on dogs at all. These facts are from the Report of the Royal Commission, and tend to show that my view is correct that it is not necessary to employ dogs for this purpose.

An attempt has been made by certain medical people to show that no pain is inflicted on dogs. Let me read a passage to show the only protection that is afforded for dogs. I quote from the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876, of which Section 3, sub- section (2), authorises experiments to be performed without anæsthetics on such certificate being given as is mentioned in the Act that insensibility cannot be procured without necessarily frustrating the object of such experiment, and experiments may be performed without the person who performs such experiments being under an obligation to cause the animal on which any such experiment is performed to be killed before it recovers from the influence of the anæsthetic on such certificate being given as is mentioned in the Act that the so killing of the animal would necessarily frustrate the object of the experiment, and provided that the animal is killed as soon as such object has been obtained. Then it goes on to say that—

If an animal, after and by reason of the said experiments under the said certificates A or B, is found to be suffering pain which is either severe or is likely to endure, and if the main result of the experiment has been attained, the animal must forthwith be painlessly killed. So that, if the main result of the experiment has not been attained, though an animal is suffering severe pain, it may be kept alive. Allusion to this is made by the Report of the Royal Commission, which shows that the statement that no pain is inflicted is erroneous.

I have not been able, at such short notice, to obtain the latest figures, but I have the Home Office returns for 1912, which show that 371 dogs and cats were experimented upon without anæsthetics in the period referred to, and I have the returns for 1917 which give the rather higher figure of 887 dogs and cats experimented upon without anæsthetics—and that, I think, includes inoculation—those which recovered after a serious operation amounting to 147. I think I have shown that it is not necessary to use dogs. I have also shown, I think, that one of the reasons, if not the main reason, why dogs are used is that they are cheap; and I could, if necessary, give certain illustrations of the experiments which are performed on these dogs. I do not know that it is necessary to do so, and there is a good deal of other business down for to-day.

I have put the chief points of my case before you and, in conclusion, I would say this. Man has made the dog what it is. For centuries he has used the dog as his companion, and made it much more sensitive and liable to feeling than any other animal. Man has also made the dog trust him, and I think it is, I might say, almost a shocking commentary to believe that because a dog trusts in you, and it will save you a little trouble to deal with an animal that trusts you, and because it is cheap, you take that dog for the purposes of an operation which can be performed on other animals. May I read to your Lordships a short statement by a man much more eloquent than I am, giving a description of what a dog really is to man?— The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has he may lose. It flies away from him perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honour when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure sets its cloud upon our head. The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground where the wintry winds blow and the snow drive" fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journeys through the heavens. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Banbury of Southam.)

VISCOUNT KNUTSFORD had given Notice to move, as an Amendment, that this Bill be read 2a this day six months. The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this House contains leaders in almost every branch of life—leaders of religion, of politics, of literature, of business, and of law; indeed, of practically every walk of life—but, unfortunately, we are very poor in this House as regards representatives of science or of medicine. Therefore, I regret very much that it falls to my lot, as neither the one nor the other, to move what is equivalent to the rejection of this Bill. My life brings me into very close touch with medical men, and with scientific men, and without claiming any undue importance for what I may say, I do confidently assert that in what I am going to say to you to-day, I represent almost the universal medical opinion in this country, except that of a mere handful of men, and that I am voicing the opinion of almost the whole scientific world, save perhaps that of one man.

I fully appreciate the sentiment which I think moves my noble friend to move the Second Heading of this Bill. I do not call it a "silly sentiment," because that would be rude, and would perhaps end a friendship which I haw valued for many years. Besides that, no sentiment is silly. I suppose some of the noblest actions in life have been, inspired by sentiment, but I call it a very harmful, unwise and mistaken sentiment, if it drives us to the conclusion to which it has driven my noble friend. He wishes to exclude dogs from experiments because they appeal to him and to many of your Lordships. They appeal to me, too. I notice that when people come to stay with me they are very much more interested in my dogs than they are in me, and constantly my dogs have received invitations to a shoot and to bring their master with them. Wherever I am known my dogs are better known, and therefore I should have entire sympathy with any one who wished to save dogs from almost anything. But I must know at what expense.

It would be unwise to exclude animals just because we happen to sympathise very specially with this animal or with that. Do not horses appeal to a number of your Lordships? I remember seeing the noble Lord who moved the Second Beading of this Bill driving a magnificent team of horses as a member of the Coaching Club—horses which had been subjected to a very painful experiment by veterinary surgeons, to make them more amenable to his skill. There are other animals which might appeal to other members. I remember driving through the New Forest on a soaking wet day. I was with Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. We had to give up shooting because it was so wet. As we drove along we saw in front of us one who appeared to be a wretched old tramp, wet to the skin, bowed down with wet, and Lord Montagu said, "We must give this poor devil a lift." He proved, however, to be Lord Grey of Fallodon, then Sir Edward Grey, who had walked four miles to see whether on that day a certain bird was on a certain pond. I could not help wondering whether there was any other Foreign Minister, in any other country in the world, who would have walked four miles on such a wet day to see whether a certain bird was on a certain pond. He and my noble friend Lord Buxton might claim to have birds exempted, and, if this House follows the example of the other House, I can imagine our having members here to whom the cat would make an irresistible appeal. So I think it would be a mistake to try to exempt any one animal simply because that animal appeals to our sentiments.

Let there be no mistake about this Bill. If it passes, no dog can ever be used for any experiment of any sort—either what we ordinarily call an operation, or even a feeding experiment. There can be no doubt about that. The words "calculated to give pain or disease," which are in Lord Banbury's Bill, are the words used in the 1876 Act, and the law to-day is that no one may perform any operation on any animal without a licence. Have you noticed that in this Bill there is no provision whatever for any licence ? If this Bill passes, no operation of any sort, no feeding experiment, can ever be done on a dog again.

Your Lordships have, no doubt, heard of the very valuable experiments that were made to test the nutritive powers of margarine as compared with butter. The food of the animals was the same, except that one had margarine and the other butter, and it was conclusively proved that they needed butter to thrive. That operation could not have been made except by licence under the present law. It could not be made at all if the present Bill were passed.

I am sure that your Lordships have never had occasion, as I have often had, to study this Act of 1876. May I tell you how dogs are protected to-day? I have already said that no experiment of any sort can be made without a licence. If that experiment involves cutting, the animal has to be completely anæsthetised before it recovers. If the nature of the research is such that it is necessary to allow the animal to recover from the anæsthetic and to be kept alive, which is a privilege that many of your Lord- ships have had—I have twice had an operation myself and been allowed to survive—for such an experiment on an animal a special certificate must be obtained, in addition to the licence, and if that animal is a dog a still further certificate has to be taken out. Therefore, you see that dogs are already specially protected.

More than that, when you apply for a licence for an operation on a dog you have to state the reasons why the object of any experiment will necessarily be frustrated unless it is performed on a (log, and also why no other animal is available for any such experiment. But it does not even stop there. If the experiment is to be done without an anæsthetic another certificate has to be obtained before the animal can be operated upon, and a still further Certificate has to be obtained if the animal is a dog. You have also to give the assurance to which I have just referred. These experiments without an anesthetic which sound so dreadful to us are merely inoculations or feeding experiments, or the withdrawal of a drop of blood. In the returns of operations done without anæsthetics even sewage experiments on fish are included, so that when we see these horrible statistics of "thousands of operations done without anæsthetics" they are not really what you would ever dream of calling vivisection.

I have told the House about the two certificates, one allowing the animal to recover, and the other dispensing with anæsthetics. The Home Office have just issued their Report, and they say— In no case have certificates dispensing with the use of anæsthetics been allowed for any experiment involving a serious operation.

I should have thought that that was pretty conclusive. And I only mention it because the noble Lord who moved the Second Heading stated that it was possible for the Home Office to allow an experiment involving pain without an anæsthetic. All I can say is that that has never been allowed, and it would be straining the Act very much if it ever were allowed.

But the protection of dogs does not even stop there. Neither of the two certificates of which I have spoken is ever issued without the Home Office attaching to the certificate a condition which ensures that if, after the recovery from the anæsthetic, the animal suffers from severe pain, or any pain likely to endure, it must be killed painlessly. If your Lordships doubt it, I will read it out at full length, and, as the noble Lord, Lord Banbury, shakes his head, perhaps he will read the certificate which I will hand to him.


There is a proviso, and the proviso is as follows—


Order ! order!


I think that we dog lovers—and I am proud to number myself among them—may feel assured that dogs are sufficiently protected. This is not a Dogs Protection Bill; it is a Dogs Exclusion Bill.

And now let me show you whether there is any reason for excluding dogs. I do not know whether arguments ever move anybody, but I shall be very much surprised if I cannot show that there is not only no reason for excluding dogs, but there is every possible reason for including them, both for the sake of man and for the sake of dogs themselves. Apart from sentiment, it is very unwise to exclude any animals from the law of the country as regards operations, because researchers always select the animal which is most likely to be helpful for the experiment. If they are testing anthrax, they naturally have to experiment on sheep. If they are searching into lockjaw (tetanus) or glanders, they naturally select horses. If they are searching into hydrophobia or distemper, they naturally select dogs.

But with regard to dogs, this animal is more closely allied to man in what I may call its internal arrangements than is any other animal. For a vast number of experiments rats, mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits are used. But, as soon as it becomes necessary to analyse the processes in separate organs, such as the heart and the kidneys, recourse has to be made to the larger animals. I am speaking carefully, not at random. I have taken a great deal of trouble to ensure that what I say should be strictly accurate. The whole physiological process in dogs approaches that of man more than it does that of any other animal. The dog is not only carnivorous, but he lives and thrives on the same food as man, and his digestive processes are the same. And therefore it is essential that dogs should be used for experiments. Until quite recently, some of the commonest disorders of the human heart were not understood at all. They were a mystery to us. By means of experiments on dogs, completely anæsthetised and killed before recovery, a certain professor has been able to discover the reason of these disorders, and the discovery of the reason of the disorders is the first step towards the prevention of them, and treatment of them. There is not a single scientific man in this country who would deny the truth of what I have said about that work upon hearts. That work could only have been done on dogs, and the experimenter had to say so before he obtained his certificate to carry out those operations.

A great deal of work in regard to the kidneys and respiration also has been done upon dogs; but I will not generalise. Let me give to your Lordships two outstanding instances which have taken place lately and all, mark you, since the Report of the Royal Commission. May I say, in passing, that the noble Lord forgot to tell you that the Royal Commission on Vivisection did not exempt dogs and made no recommendation to exempt dogs? The noble Lord who signed the Minority Report, Lord Lambourne, who, I understand, is going to speak, also never claimed or suggested that dogs should be exempted. I have the Report of the Royal Commission here if anyone should challenge that statement. On the contrary, the Royal Commission suggested that if dogs were included they should come under the same certificates as mules and asses. Therefore, it is inaccurate to say that the Royal Commission which sat and inquired into the question and took all the evidence upon it, suggested that doge should be excluded. On the contrary.

Now let me give your Lordships two outstanding instances which alone would justify our throwing such a Bill as this into the rubbish heap, because both of the inquiries that I am going to mention now would have been absolutely impossible had this Bill been the law of the land. You all know the Government Medical Research Council, of which Lord Moulton was. I think, the first Chairman. He was followed by the noble Earl, Lord Balfour, and then by Lord Goschen. My noble and learned friend Lord Parmoor is now its President. That Council has issued a very, very striking Report on rickets. Rickets is a disease of children leading to the deformation of limbs, to bandy legs and other grave secondary results, leaving a child to grow up deformed and unable to walk properly. The Report states that a large number of feeding experiments were made, that puppies were fed in two different ways, some puppies with an abundance of food and other puppies with an abundance of food, but in one case the food was without certain constituents. It was found that the puppies that were fed on food which was without those constituents developed rickets, while the others had no rickets, and if the particular constituents were supplied to the puppies that had rickets, the rickets disappeared. Those experiments could not have been carried out under the present Bill. What has been the result of them? The result is that rickets is understood and conquered and that no mother in England or anywhere else, need ever allow her child to suffer from rickets. That result was brought about, at the expense of feeding a few puppies in one way or another! This Bill would have stopped that.

Where is the humanity of such a Bill? Have we no sense of proportion at all? Is the discomfort, or even the pain, of a few dogs to be put against the saving of thousands and thousands of children from dragging out their miserable lives in deformity? Because of the discomfort to a few puppies, are we to think nothing of parents who will be saved the misery of seeing their children growing up deformed? I think the noble Lord is too much of a sportsman, and too kind a man, to proceed with this Bill in the face of such facts as these. I do not think he could have known of them, or studied them. The Council conclude their Report with something against this very Bill. They say— They cannot do otherwise than raise their protests against what we must deem the inhumanity of placing any hindrances in the way of those working for the diminution of this total volume of human and animal pain. Am I really to answer the statement of the noble Lord that dogs arc used because they are cheap? The noble Lord has too much good sense to think that this can be the reason, or that a man who is going to engage in research into a subject is going into the question of a few shillings one way or the other. That is a suggestion which is utterly unworthy; especially when we know that the men who are carrying out these researches are possessed of some of the finest intellects in the world and are receiving salaries which are not quite so large as that received by a first class clerk. If they are poor the dogs are not paid for by the men themselves. They are provided by the college—but I will not pursue that argument. It is beneath one.

I have mentioned the case of rickets and now let me take a still more striking instance—insulin, which, however, is not yet a cure. I am really sorry to trouble your Lordships for so long. I have never done so before, but this is too important a matter to be answered in a moment. Insulin was discovered by Dr. Banting in Canada solely and only by means of operations and experiments on dogs, and he has just received the Nobel Prize as a recognition of his great work for humanity. By experiments on dogs Dr. Banting was able to isolate the substance which, given off by the pancreas (or sweetbread as we know it), absorbs the sugar in the body. That had never been done before. Having got it, what was he to do with it? He had then to give a dog diabetes and by injecting this substance to find out whether this substance, thus introduced artificially into the dog, would work in the same way as if it were given off normally by the pancreas. It did, and the disease is now controlled.

The Anti-Vivisection party claim that the disease is not cured. It is not cured. Food does not prevent hunger returning. Insulin, which this substance is called, does not prevent diabetes returning. But as food is to hunger, so is insulin to diabetes. If your Lordships were to see, as I have often seen, the marvellous effect of a dose of insulin on a patient, you would be dumbstruck. It does not seem that I have become dumbstruck, it makes me talk. But you see a patient come into hospital with large eyes, sunken face, and stooping figure. He is given insulin. It is not a conjuring trick ; it is a miracle. In quite a short time that man is bright and happy, and smiling again, and his disease is forgotten. There are many patients brought into hospital upon whom you cannot operate because they have diabetes. If a person has diabetes a wound docs not heal up. Give the patient insulin, and you can operate. This discovery has been made absolutely and entirely and only by operations on dogs, which would have been impossible under the present Bill. It would be distorted humanity which would keep food from a hungry man, and I venture to think it is distorted humanity that would keep insulin from a diabetic patient.

So far I have only spoken of the advantage of experiment on dogs for the advantage of man. Now let me speak for a moment upon the advantage to dogs themselves. How many of us who love our dogs have not seen dog after dog die of distemper—a miserable death, often a very painful one? I could almost, wear mourning for the rest of my life for two dogs that I loved so much which died of distemper. At long last, owing to the energy and enterprise of the Editor of The Field, Sir Theodore Cook, we have got organised a proper research into distemper, and it may be that before very long distemper will be an unknown illness among dogs. We may save all these dogs' lives. But this precious Bill would stop that. If you are going to have research into distemper you must first ascertain and isolate what carries the disease. Is it got from the sputum? Is it got from the fæces? Is it caught from the breath of the dog? You must first isolate a microbe, and, having got the microbe, you must give a dog distemper from it to see if you have the right microbe, and then you must try to discover the anti-toxin which will kill that microbe. Then you will conquer the disease.

I wonder whether, if dogs could speak, they would claim this exemption. The noble Lord has read out some beautiful lines which, owing to my weakness, I could not hear, but I am sure they were beautiful by the tear in his voice as he read them. But the more noble he makes; out dogs to be, the more I wonder whether, if dogs could speak, they would claim exemption from suffering for the benefit of their fellow-dogs. Men have not claimed it. There are many instances of men submitting to vivisection for the benefit of their fellow-men. You all know what the Americans did in the work about yellow fever. It is not very long ago that, during the war, when it was thought prussic acid vapour would kill people, young Dr. Barcroft went into a chamber full of prussic acid vapour to see whether it would kill him or not. Thank goodness it did not.

I am afraid I have been very long, but it is necessary once and for all to put the whole case before you. I hope that the majority for the rejection of the Bill will be such that it will not be brought up, year after year.

Lest you should think that I have been merely giving my own opinion, and lest you should feel, as I am sure many must feel, that I am not in a position to ask that my opinion should be given any undue weight, and lest any one of you may have been moved by the statement of the noble Lord who is responsible for this Bill that dogs were not necessary for the purpose of experiment, let, me read to you the most wonderful letter, or protest, that has ever been sent to any Government Department. When this Bill was before the House of Commons in 1919, the Royal College of Physicians sent a protest to the Home Secretary as follows:— The Royal College of Physicians, in full meeting, hereby records its opinion that the passing into law of the Dogs Protection Bill will greatly retard the progress of our knowledge with regard to the prevention and treatment of disease. Of course, your Lordships can take the noble Lord's opinion against that of the Royal College of Physicians.

Let us, next, have the view of the Royal College of Surgeons :— The Council of the Royal College of Surgeons are of opinion that the Dogs Protection Bill, if passed into law, will seriously impede the progress of medical science in the country; and they view with great concern this proposal to prohibit a form of research through which knowledge of great value as regards the causes and treatment of disease has been acquired in the past. Lord Banbury said it has not; the College of Surgeons says it has. And again:— The Royal Society of Medicine, representing as it docs every branch of the medical profession throughout the Empire, with full knowledge of the grave issues involved, feels bound to place on record its earnest hope that the Dogs Protection Bill will not pass into law, as. if enacted, it would place this country at a great disadvantage as compared with all other civilised countries, and would practically compel our ablest workers to seek opportunities for preventive and curative research abroad. The matter does not even stop there. At a special clinical meeting of the British Medical Association a resolution was passed to the effect that they had heard with dismay of the possibility of the passage through the House of Commons of the Bill to prohibit experiments on dogs. Therefore it is not only my opinion. It is the opinion of all these leading societies representing the medical profession in our country. In the face of such testimony, can we possibly have any doubt what we ought to do with this Bill, or where real humanity lies?

Amendment moved— Leave out (" now ") and at the end of the Motion insert (" this day six months ").—(Viscount Knutsford.)


My Lords, I rise to support the Second Reading of the Bill of my noble friend Lord Banbury for this reason. I was a member of a Commission which sat for many years, and examined many witnesses, and my name ha" been mentioned by the noble Viscount, Lord Knutsford. As my noble friend Lord Banbury has told you, this Bill has been several times before Parliament, and it was only by an accident that it did not become law. The exemption of dogs was lost by a majority of one only. It has been stated that before the Royal Commission on Vivisection no mention was made of dogs, but I would point out that in our Report we said— The representations made to us for the complete exemption of any class of animal from all experiments under the Act have been strongest in the case of dogs. And the Bill was only lost by one vote. The noble Viscount, when quoting with regard to animals found to be suffering pain by reason of experiments, left out this part of the quotation: "If the main result of the experiment has been attained."


Will the noble Lord read the next part which says that the animal has to be killed ?


Yes. "The animal must be forthwith painlessly killed."


Read on please.


"If the animal after and by reason of such experiment is found to be suffering severe pain, which is likely to endure, such animal shall forthwith be painlessly killed whether the main result of the experiment has been attained or not." The noble Viscount expressed a hope that if we were defeated by a large majority to-day we should never trouble this House again. All I can say, speaking for myself, is that so long as I have power to utter two words so long shall I endeavour to bring the case of dogs before your Lordships, and I believe that my noble friend, Lord Banbury of Southam, will also be among those who will still urge the claim for the exemption of the dog, qua dog, as an animal which has been brought up with man, associated with man, and raised to the high degree of intelligence which is possessed by it to-day.

The noble Viscount's quotations left me entirely cold. He says that the medical profession is against this Bill. I do not wonder at it. May I ask whether the assistance of that profession was ever obtained in support of the various Bills which have been passed for the protection of dogs? I am not aware of any petitions in favour of their exemption, and I have no doubt they think that experiments on dogs, without anæsthetics in former days, are absolutely necessary. We were told that the profession would suffer if vivisection was hedged around by all these various Acts. It has been found, however, that our great medical profession, which I very much admire, has not suffered in any way; and it has not lost ground in comparison with other nations because experiments are hedged round with so many licences.

The noble Viscount also quoted what he called two striking examples—rickets and diabetes. When you talk about rickets it is quite true that modern discoveries, and also the evidence given before the Commission, show that certain foods are found to be beneficial, but the noble Viscount forgot to say that daylight and sunlight play an equally important part in the cure of rickets. He also mentioned that a human being offered himself willingly for sacrifice. Yes, but that was a human being who could say "Yes" or "No." You take a dog which is unable to say "Yes" or "No," and unable to escape from the operation which is to be performed. It has also been said that it is difficult to exempt a class of animal from these experiments. That contention was felt by the Commission, but may I point out that the use of dogs for traction purposes is entirely prohibited ; and they are so exempted as a class of animal? They are specially exempted from a practice which is quite common abroad.

I add my humble petition to members of this House that they will exercise their judgment and exclude dogs from operations. And let me say one word on the question of distemper as a reason for rejecting this Bill. It would be perfectly easy by an Amendment in Committee, which I am sure my noble friend would accept, to make an exception in the case of that particular disease. But I do ask the House not to reject the measure. I will not trouble your Lordships with horrible descriptions with which one might raise feelings. That would not be quite fair, and it might give a false impression that we were accusing the medical profession of cruelty. We do not do anything of the sort. Those engaged in that profession are humane, but they are mistaken in thinking that the dog is to be used commonly for all these operations, which, I believe, might be made on other animals.


My Lords, I crave your indulgence in addressing you for the first time on a subject which I have had very much at heart all my working life. The noble Viscount who moved the rejection of the Bill dwelt on many of the points on which I had intended to address you, but there are one or two others which still remain and which I will put before you as briefly as I can. In the first place, on the question as to what really is the view of the medical profession. I have lived all my life in scientific circles and I speak from personal knowledge, from daily communion with people who are actually doing the work of discovery in physical science, and with physiologists, and I say without the slightest hesitation that they do in their hearts believe in the necessity for using dogs for experimental purposes. It is not very satisfying to be told that you must accept this or that view because it is the view of the experts. In this country we are traditionally averse from accepting without examination the views of experts, but there are cases where we do so without any hesitation, and, after all, if you consider the matter, you will see that this must be one of them.

Nature does not give up her secrets easily. It is a delicate and difficult art to force her to disclose them, and no one who has not tried it can have any appreciation of how difficult it is. What would be thought if the noble Lord who introduced this Bill proposed, in the case of experiments in electricity, to lay down what materials are or are not necessary in order that they may be successful? The noble Lord would not profess to give any opinion on such a subject unless his prejudices were concerned. That is the reason why he professes to know better than those who are actually concerned to decide what is or is not necessary.

It is only for that reason that such a view is entertained for a moment. But, as I have said, it is unpleasant to be told that you are to take an opinion because it is the opinion of the people who ought to know. Let me endeavour then to supplement that which the noble Viscount. Lord Knutsford, has said as to the reasons why dogs are more necessary for experimental purposes than other animals. In any operation of a manipulative character—and I use the word "operation" in a generalised sense; I am not speaking only of surgical operations, but of mechanical operations—there is a particular size of the object operated upon which offers the greatest advantages. I think your Lordships will appreciate that point very clearly if you consider the ease of watches and clocks. It. is obviously very much easier to repair a dock which is of substantial size and comparable with the hands of the operator than to deal even with an ordinary watch, and still more with one of those very small fancy watches which you sometimes see used by ladies. Obviously, the difficulties of manipulation must become very much greater when the thing with which you are dealing is inconveniently small compared with the size of your hands and with the distances which you can conveniently appreciate, with the unaided eye. That is one of the chief reasons why operations on dogs are far easier to carry out than corresponding operations on other animals, such as rabbits or eats, where the organs which it is necessary to manipulate are smaller, where it is more difficult to make junctions and to perform the various operations which it is necessary to carry out. These are far more difficult in the case of the small and delicate organs of rabbits and eats than in the case of the large and comparatively substantial organs of dogs. That, together with the facility with which dogs are obtained, is the real reason why dogs are, in practice, so very much more necessary than other animals for purposes of experiment.

It is, of course, easy to sneer at the question of cost, but I put it to your Lordships, is not the question of cost a question that controls almost every human activity? Why do we not give everybody an old age pension from the age of forty? It is for this same reason which has been referred to so contemptuously—that it costs too much. You must have regard to the question of cost. It limits all human operations. Monkeys, which may be used alternatively to dogs, are, as the noble Lord remarked, extremely costly. They are extremely delicate also: they die very quickly of consumption when kept in this country, and the practical difficulties involved in substituting them for dogs are very grave. For some classes of work, particularly in diseases which affect monkeys alone, it is necessary to resort to monkeys, but the expense and difficulty of procuring them and the obstacles which they place in the way of experiments are notoriously very great. I will not detain your Lordships any longer. I have put before you the main points which I had in mind, and I hope from the bottom of my heart that you will not put this great obstacle in the way of those who are earnestly seeking to penetrate the secrets of pain and disease.


My Lords, I have not ventured previously to address your Lordships' House, and I do so far from confidently, for thirty-seven years of membership of another place have not made it any less necessary that I should beg for your kindly indulgence and toleration. I ask your Lordships to reject this Bill. As a dog-lover, looking back over a long life, I remember that I owe most of my fun to the dog, and I am the very last person to neglect the interests of dogs. I may say with no reservations that those interests stand first, or at least very high, m my thoughts. But experience has taught me that you cannot consider this question from an ex parte point of view, as I have learned from my experience for many years on the managing body of a great London hospital, on the Cancer and Medical Research Committee of the same, and, to an even greater degree, a" one of the three lay members of the Medical Research Council.

Your Lordships may know that that Council is the body appointed by the Government, through the Privy Council, to superintend and encourage the work of medical research throughout the country. It consists of ten of the very highest authorities in the world of medical science, coming from all parts of the kingdom, from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford and Cambridge, as well as from London and other centres. To them were added three lay members, our former Chairman, the late Viscount Goschen—I wish he were here to speak to us to-day—a Member of the House of Commons, and myself as treasurer. We are entrusted with an annual sum of £130,000 to encourage research, not only at our great hospitals but also by the small man, the young doctor, the man of brains and enterprise, who is sought out and encouraged and relieved of anxiety in a pecuniary sense. Our monthly meetings are naturally of absorbing interest, for the story of medical research is often like a fairy tale, so great, so unexpected and so entertaining are its developments.

I am not going to detain your Lordships by enlarging upon what has been said by the noble Viscount, Lord Knutsford, regarding the Medical Research Council, but I am authorised to endorse all he has said, and so well said, on behalf of that Council. I was amazed when I heard the noble Lord who moved the Second Reading of this Bill contend that dogs were not wanted, but after what has been said I need not catalogue all the ills which have been wonderfully alleviated by the dog. As Lord Knutsford 6aid, almost all that we know about the processes of digestion, about the work of the heart, about the circulation of the blood, has been due to the help of the dog. Nor will I repeat what the noble Viscount so admirably said about the work of the Medical Research Council in connection with insulin and rickets. He has not said a word too much, and I think noble Lords generally are aware what an immense boon these discoveries have conferred upon the population.

Those who have spoken in favour of the Bill have attempted to minimise its effects. But make no mistake: if this Bill is passed, it will remove dogs altogether from experimental work in medicine, not only as regards operations under anæsthetics but also the experimental infliction, for instance, of distemper, with a view to protecting dogs themselves from that disease. This is a point upon which I should like to add a word before I sit down. The Medical Research Council has a farm at Mill Hill, near London, and there, with the admirable help of The Field Distemper Fund, we have been carefully constructing kennels where, under ideal conditions, puppies will be housed. Our expert staff provides for the welfare of newborn puppies in disinfected kennels with infinitely greater care than would be given to them elsewhere. What is the procedure? For experimental purposes the puppy is painlessly inoculated with the disease of distemper, which he would almost certainly have contracted outside under more disadvantageous circumstances. Then he is probably cured, after contributing very substantially to the health and happiness of future members of his race.

Why did our Council in the first instance take such an interest in distemper research? It is because the malignant agency in the case of distemper is closely akin to that responsible for influenza in man. In both diseases the mischief is due to a filter-passing organism of extremely minute proportions. Our research staff, who, I believe, are amongst the cleverest in the world, have not got this organism yet, but are hard upon its track, and my point is that the more we get to know about distemper in dogs the more shall we be able to cope with the horrible scourge of influenza. It is regarded as certain by scientists that organisms of a filter-passing kind are responsible for a whole group of infectious diseases, including small-pox, chicken pox, whooping cough, infantile paralysis, rabies, etc. It is also regarded as highly probable that rheumatic and scarlet fever belong to this category, and it is certain that foot-and-mouth disease, as well as swine fever, belongs to this group. Your Lordships will see that the study of the organism of dog distemper may at any moment, owing to improvements in laboratory methods, or some piece of knowledge gained in experiment, throw a Hood of light upon the whole group of diseases which I have enumerated. It is even supposed that cancer and other diseases of man may be connected with the same cause.

The mover of this Bill would at once make illegal all our work upon distemper, which is at present the subject of rigid control from the Home Office. The Bill seeks to demolish this wise control, and to substitute total and final prohibition. It is really laughable to call this a Dogs Protection Bill, since it will stop any form of work in the direction of diminishing the serious pain at present suffered by dogs when they get distemper. I ask your Lordships, finally, to notice, that it is only lack of progress in the study of these filter-passing organisms which prevents our ability to cope with foot-and-mouth disease and swine fever. As your Lordship" know, a Committee has recently been appointed by the Government for research into the question of foot-and-mouth disease. It aims at stemming a plague which has cost the public purse over £3,000,000 in eight months. This Committee contains workers in dog distemper inquiry and it illustrates the value which one side of research work may have in solving another side of it, and the no less intimate connection in many respects between human and animal ills. I feel I have spoken too long on this subject, in which I am very deeply interested, and I will conclude by saying to your Lordships: Do not, by passing this Bill, stop all this work which is of such vital importance to suffering humanity. Lord Knutsford, when he spoke, wondered what dogs would say if they could speak. If they could speak, and as we dog-lovers know some of them do very nearly speak, I believe that they would state their readiness to aid us in return for all the care and affection which is very rightly lavished upon them.


My Lords, I do not rise to continue the discussion on the evidence, but I wish to say something in the hope that it may assist those who may desire information with regard to the operation of the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1876, and the work of the two Royal Commissions. I speak as one who, until a few days ago, was Chairman of the Committee of the Home Office to which the question of serious experiments on animals had been referred. The Committee to which I allude was set up some time ago, and the practice has been that the Chairman should be somebody of judicial experience. I succeeded the late Lord Moulton in that position, and I resign it now only because I found it impossible to give the necessary time. During the period that I was Chairman I was not absent from a single sitting. The duty of the Chairman is to preside over the Committee, which consists of very eminent surgeons, physicians and physiologists.

They meet at the Home Office, and their function is this. There is a small corps appointed by the Home Secretary, who possess high qualifications, and who visit-places registered for the performance of experiments on animals. They report on every application for a licence to perform such experiments sent into the Home Office. Nobody can get a licence who is not recommended by very high authority—the President of the Royal Society, or somebody holding an analogous position. Nobody gets a licence unless he is recommended by people w ho know his work and can testify to his capacity and the urgency of the experiments. The inspectors visit the premises. The bulk of the experiments involve no pain and no wounding, but there are some which do, and the first of the provisions of the Cruelty to Animals Act to which I have referred is that no experiment may be performed without an anæsthetic, or the animal kept alive afterwards, except under exceptional circumstances, and special permission has to be obtained from the Home Secretary.

When the inspectors have any doubt about the experiment they refer it to the Committee, who investigate the matter carefully, and permission is never given for any experiment that is in the least degree serious, much less painful or likely to result in wounding, unless the most serious case is made out for the experiment. More than that, if the experiment is by an unknown person, we always make certain that the person applying is really some one of high skill and science, and if necessary his work has to be supervised by some one on whom we can rely to see that the provisions of the licence are strictly carried out. In that way painful experiments on animals have been really reduced to a minimum. Only in rare cases are they painful, and in such cases permission is only given with reluctance. It is only given because human suffering could not otherwise be alleviated.

As to the cases which have been referred to, the dog is a peculiar animal in that his mode of livelihood is not diverse from that of the human being, and the kind of food which he consumes is similar to ours. That has been a circumstance of the greatest importance in investigating the action of diet upon such questions as have been referred to today—rickets, tetanus and other things of the kind. Without the dog we could not have had the experiments with any hope of getting to the root of the scientific problem which was to be solved if the disease was to be treated and its cause ascertained. For that reason the Home Office is very stringent in the supervision of these experiments. It considers these experiments to be necessary. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Parmoor, is the Minister responsible for research, and he will state to your Lordships the reason for the attitude of the Government, and the attitude of the Government is that it cannot approve of the provisions of a Bill which would put an end to some of the most essential research that has taken place.


My Lords, as has been stated, I am the Minister responsible for the work of the Medical Research Council. There are one or two statements that I should like to make in order that your Lordships may know what is the unanimous opinion of that Council. Its Report for 1919—it was a Committee at the time—has been referred to. In it the following words occur:— It is the considered and unanimous judgment of the Committee that the proposals of the Dogs Protection Bill, now under discussion, would place an insuperable and permanent barrier across some of the chief paths of this work. The present Council has met and has unanimously reaffirmed this statement.

It will be sufficient if I state what the Council says upon the one or two points which have been brought to the notice of your Lordships. Of course, we all sympathise with the noble Lords, Lord Banbury and Lord Lambourne, in their love of dogs, but it is a question really of what should be the proper method of scientific research in matters of this kind. The Council says this about rickets:— Till quite recently this disease was rife in all our great cities, and is, perhaps, the gravest form of deformity, stunted growth, and disease in children. Thanks to feeding experiments on dogs, quite painless in kind, we have recently gained the knowledge that rickets is not due to some mysterious infection or indisposition; it is due to faulty diet. It is now an easily preventible disease …. This brilliant work has been recognised and confirmed in other countries. In the past few years rickets, once to be seen in one child in every three in our big cities, has become a rare disease. Already hundreds of thousands of children owe their health, and even their lives, to these feeding experiments on puppies. Work of this kind is an unending benefaction, but the proposed Bill would stop it altogether. Can there be any answer to such a statement made by a scientific council to which work of this kind has been allocated by Parliament?

Then there is the invention of insulin. I dare say your Lordships know that "insulin" comes from insula, or island, because it was discovered that owing to disorganisation in certain islands sugar absorption was not carried off and diabetes was consequently widely spread. The Council say— Since the Memorandum of 1911 medical science has been enriched by the successful production of insulin, by which already thousands of sufferers from diabetes have been restored to normal health and full working power. They go on to say that the experiments as regards insulin could only be carried on successfully in the case of dogs.

There is one other matter which is referred to, and that is distemper in dogs. The noble Lord, Lord Lambourne, suggested that there might be an exception made in that case. But surely if you have an exception in that case why should you abandon the possibility of finding relief from these great human evils, such as diabetes and rickets? On the subject of distemper the Council report that they are actively co-operating in the inquiry into that disease, and that hopeful progress has already been made. This work, they add, can only proceed by careful experiments in which puppies may be given distemper for the proper scientific study of the disease, under controlled conditions. These puppies, in normal circumstances, would in any case almost certainly fall victims to distemper. I need not emphasise those simple statements. Surely they are conclusive that, under the safeguards which have been stated by the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack, these experiments should be allowed to continue. They have resulted in saving hundreds of thousands of people from misery, both as regards diabetes and rickets. I have nothing more to say, because I think the matter is too clear to need argument.


My Lords, this is a matter upon which every noble Lord will give his vote according to his personal sense of what is right and proper, and it certainly is not a case in which any sort of political advice or guidance is required. The only reason for which I intervene for a moment between the House and the Division is this. On two occasions during the last fortnight I have presumed to advise your Lordships to give a Second Reading to a Bill the principle of which met with large acceptance in your Lordships' House and the details of which it was extremely desirable that you should have the opportunity of considering in. Committee. If I am unable to give that advice to-night it is, I think, only right and proper in self-defence that I should give my reasons. The second reason for which I intervene is this. Being rather closely connected with the University of Oxford, I have had representations made to me by the eminent men of science who are associated with that place, urging me not to let the voice of Oxford on its scientific side be silent in the present discussion. Those are my two reasons for saying a word on this subject. I do not imagine for a moment that the advice given by the noble Viscount, Lord Knutsford, to my two noble friends behind me, if their Bill is rejected to-night never to put it forward again, is in the smallest degree likely to be accepted.


Hear! hear!


I know that Lord Banbury is one of the most determined of the human race. I know also Lord Lambourne, who combines geniality with almost equal resolution. And I am certain that, whatever we say here, this hardy annual will reappear before your Lordships as long as those two noble Lords shed the light of their countenance upon us. But that docs not deter us from expressing our view, and expressing it, as I hope we shall do, in no measured terms.

We have had to-night what, I venture to think, has been a rather remarkable debate. In the first place, Lord Knutsford, speaking with an authority unique in this country, with an experience that no man can rival, and with not only great scientific knowledge but a sense of humanity which nobody will impugn, in a speech of by no means excessive length put before us what we may call the scientific and research side of this question. And when the noble Viscount pleaded, in favour of his making rather a long speech, that he intervened so rarely, I only hope that his abstention from debate will be continued if it results in the end in a speech so good as that we have heard this evening. Then we have had two maiden speeches, one from the noble Lord, Lord Rayleigh, himself a man of science of great distinction, and the son of one of the most eminent men who ever adorned the benches of this House; and the other from Lord Mildmay, who spoke with great force and ability in the same sense. I say that that has constituted rather a remarkable record of debate.

And what is the impression left upon my mind, and, I presume, upon the minds of most of us? I had the misfortune, owing to engagements elsewhere, not to hear the speech of my noble friend, Lord Banbury. I am very sorry for my own loss, but still I know the case pretty well, because I have heard it debated on previous occasions in the House of Commons and elsewhere. What did the noble Viscount establish? Surely what is a truism known to and admitted by ail-firstly, that over a long period of time the results, to the gain of humanity, obtained by these experiments upon dogs have been of incalculable benefit. It is scarcely possible to exaggerate them. Further, that in recent years from the continuance of these experiments in the cases which he mentioned—the case of diabetes and the ease of rickets in particular—notable discoveries to the benefit of humanity have ensued. And what personally affected me very much—being also a dog lover in a small way-was his reference to distemper; the fact that the researches that are being made will have the double effect, as he hopes, of diminishing the risks and chances of distemper in the case of dogs, and the horrible tortures that we have all of us seen in the case of our dogs who have died of distemper, and will also have a reflex influence upon the good of the human race as a whole. That, it seems to me, has been established. The second thing that has been established, and confirmed by the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack, is that these experiments are only conducted under the most rigid scrutiny, exercised by the most competent men, with the most earnest desire to avoid anything in the nature of unnecessary pain. Licences or certificates are issued only to competent persons and with the utmost care and examination beforehand.

If this debate has established (as it has, and, indeed, it. is well known) those two conclusions, can your Lordships have any doubt as to the Vote which you should give? I do not think that we ought to be influenced in the smallest degree by what has happened in another place. I have never known them to pay much attention to what we do here. Let us act upon our own judgment and upon our own opinions, and I certainly for one shall vote unhesitatingly against giving a Second Reading to the Bill of my noble friends.

On Question, Motion negatived, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.