HL Deb 31 March 1925 vol 60 cc805-32

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill I should like to remind your Lordships that a similar Bill three times passed the Second Reading in another place, twice without a Division, and once by a considerable majority on a Division, and that on one occasion it passed the Committee stage in the Standing Committee without Amendment, was amended on the Report stage and was only rejected on the Third Reading owing to the action of Dr. Addison, who at that time was Minister of Health. The operation of this Bill will in no way prevent experiments being made on other animals; all that it will do will be to prevent experiments being made on dogs.

I would also remind your Lordships that the Royal Commission which sat in 1906 and reported in 1912, said this:— 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. That is in paragraph 118 of the last Report of the Commission. They go on to say, with regard to the differentiation between animals:— Such differentiation, although admittedly difficult, we attributed on ethical grounds to the degree of association, with, or affinity or utility to, man, and in this connection we referred especially to the case of dogs and the higher apes. This paragraph goes on to point out that precedents are not wanting, even in law, for such a distinction, and then refers to the prohibition of the use of dogs for traction, and to other existing distinctions. Then the Commissioners say:— In view of the variety of practice and the divergence of opinion as to the necessity of employing dogs for experimentation and demonstration, we find some difficulty in deciding upon this important question. Some of us regard the provisions of the existing law as sufficient; some of us would prefer that in the case of both experimentation and demonstration the further special protection given to horses, asses and mules should be extended to dogs; while some of us would exclude the use of dogs altogether. And I believe I am right in saying—Lord Lambourne, who was a member of that Commission, is here and can correct me—that the exclusion of dogs was lost by one vote.

I am aware that, many medical men are against my Bill. But on the other hand, many medical men are in favour of it. I have here an extract front a speech made by Sir Lambert Ormsby, past President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who, in April, 1922, at a public meeting in Dublin, is reported to have said this:— Experiments on dogs might now be discontinued. All that could be found out by physiological experiments for application to human beings has long since been discovered, and repetitions are unnecessary and cruel. I have quoted that statement before, and my noble friend Lord Knutsford wrote mo a letter in which he said he thought I must be wrong in attributing such a sentiment to such an eminent surgeon, and he asked me—quite rightly—to give him the proofs of what I had said, and I did so. I have here, in a newspaper which reported it, the statement made by Sir Lambert Ormsby, which I shall be happy to hand to my noble friend if he wishes to see it.

Then there was a paragraph in the Lancet, which I quoted last year. I was immediately assailed by certain newspapers on the ground that I had only quoted a portion of what it said. That is quite true; I only quoted a portion of it because I did not wish to take up your Lordships' time, but I will now read the whole of it. It is from the Lancet of May 31, 1919:— The plea of the physiologist to retain the right of using the dog for experimental purposes in the service of man has been upheld by the House of Commons. For that is the plain reading of the large majority by which the Home Office Amendment was accepted on Friday last, as appears in our Parliamentary correspondent's report. The memorandum of the Medical Research Committee, which we also print in substance this week, demonstrates without reasonable pretext for gainsaying that the experimental use of dogs has advanced our knowledge and has been of benefit to suffering humanity. This is not to say that such knowledge could have been acquired in no other way. That is one of the points which I wish to make, that the use of dogs is unnecessary and that any knowledge which has been obtained by experiments on dog6 could be obtained in another way.

The writer also says:— The habit of mind engendered by the pursuit of medical research is not dogmatic. A further indisputable, if regrettable, point is that the dog, by virtue of his long domestication, has specially fitted itself as a test object. What a statement! Because a dog has trusted man, and has become the friend of man, he is to be used, for that reason, as an object of experiment by these gentlemen. The article continues:— We feel that the aggregate amount of suffering inflicted by animal experiment, as at present practised by physiologists in this country, is small, and that it is quite insignificant compared with the relief of suffering obtained by the experiments. But it is the right of experiment, and not the right to inflict pain, for which plea is offered. This is a statement which I did not read before, but I wish to commend it to your Lordships' notice:— Pain is an irrelevant factor, which time and skill are in process of eliminating altogether from surgical operations and animal experimentation. There you have it. Pain is inflicted, and it is only regarded as an irrelevant factor, which time and skill are in process of eliminating from surgical operations.

I have here a postcard written to me by Dr. Nash in 1919, in which he supports my Bill. I have also a letter from Sir William Collins, who was not only a well-known doctor, but a member of the House of Commons, and a member of the Royal Commission on Vivisection. He also was in favour of my Bill. Then there was an extremely interesting article in the Nineteenth Century of January this year, by Dr. Herbert Snow. There is an answer to it, which I see my noble friend is looking up, in March of this year, and I am going to read it presently. What does Dr. Snow say? He says:— The attitude of professed scientists towards any thought of humanity may be estimated by the well-known dictum of Magnan that 'consideration for the sensations of the animals themselves is a species of insanity.' Dr. Klein (Q. 3539) told our Royal Commission that he had ' no regard at all ' to the sufferings of the animals … Sir John Pose Bradford is a distinguished physician and medical teacher, a member of the Advisory Committee under the Vivisection Act; was a recent Conservative Candidate for London University. The Journal of Physiology (XXIII, No. 6) records his experiments on forty-nine female fox terriers. Chloroform and morphia were used as anæsthetics for the operation itself, but could not, of course, affect the subsequent suffering, and Sir Henry Morris (late President of the Royal College of Surgeons) has expressed his opinion that morphia is not an anæsthetics. Pieces were cut out of the kidneys, and the animals were mutilated in various ways. ' In the case of one dog the operator cut a piece out of the kidney, and then tried to graft the piece and make it grow on another part of the inside.' Two terriers had their kidneys, mutilated three separate times after an interval. One lingered thirty-six days; the others perished after shorter varying periods. There are other cases which I need not read.

Dr. Snow also refers to "the great Sir Frederick Trove's evidence on the subject" in the British Medical Journal of November 5, 1898. It is "1895" in the magazine, but it should be "1898":— Many years ago I carried out on the Continent sundry operations on the intestines of dogs; but such are the differences between the human and canine bowel that when I came to operate on man I found I was much hampered by my experience, that I had everything to unlearn, and that my experiments had done little but unfit me to deal with the human intestine. Here is the answer that I mentioned just now. It appeared in March of this year in the Nineteenth Century. It is by Dr. Stephen Paget. After dealing with what took place in the House of Commons, as to which he makes several errors, probably because he does not understand the procedure of that House, he deals with the statement quoted from Sir Frederick Treves, and says:— The reference to Sir Frederick Treves must be compared with the letter which he published in the Times, April, 1902. It is worth printing here: 'Sir.—My attention has been drawn to a letter in The Times of April 9, signed by Mr. Trist as secretary of the London Anti-Vivisection Society. In this letter it is stated that I have testified as to the fallacy of vivisection. 'My solitary utterance on the subject of vivisection is contained in an address delivered in Birmingham in October, 1898 (Lancet, November 5, 1898). Speaking of the suturing of intestine, I said that I had found operations on the intestines of dogs were useless as a means of fitting the surgeon for operations on the human bowel.' Sir Frederick Treves docs not deny—in fact, he admits—that so far as experiments on the intestines are concerned, as a preparation for human operations they are useless."

Last year I was not aware that I had a right of reply to criticisms made during the Second Beading debate on the Bill. My noble friend Lord Knutsford made, if he will permit me to say so, an extremely eloquent speech which, so far as my recollection goes, influenced your Lordships very much. But my noble friend fell into one or two errors. He made a mistake in stating one source of protection that dogs had and, in alluding to the certificates which are given, he mentioned one but left out the other. This is what my noble friend Lord Knutsford said:— May I tell you how dogs are protected to-day? Then he went on to say— … or 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. … 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 dog, and also why no other animal is available for any such experiment That is not so. That is a mistake. It is correct so far as horses, mules and asses are concerned, but it is not correct in regard to dogs.

In the case of a horse, a mule or an ass you have, when applying for a licence for any operation, to state that unless the licence is granted the object will be frustrated because no other animal is suitable. But in the case of a dog you have only to ask for the licence provided you intend to perform the operation without anæsthetics. If you intend to perform the operation with anæsthetics then you need not make any special request, because the experiment is going to be performed on a dog. I draw my noble friend's attention to this, because I shall ask him whether he would be prepared, presuming this Bill obtains a Second Beading, to introduce an Amendment into it giving effect to that which he says is already in existence. I will tell your Lordships why I ask him that. When I introduced my Bill in 1919 and it reached the Committee Stage, Sir Hamar Greenwood, who was then Under-Secretary for the Home Department, actually wanted to introduce an Amendment of this sort, *but the Chairman of the Standing Committee ruled that it was out of order. On the Report stage, however, the Government succeeded in moving the Amendment, and it was carried. That rendered my Bill of very little use in my opinion and, though I could have got a Third Reading that day, I preferred to think it over and when later on it came to the Third Reading the friends of my noble friend, who are behind him in this opposition, had got hold of Dr. Addison and would not receive or support the very Amendment that the Home Office moved. That is the reason why I ask him—he had better not be rash in giving an answer when he speaks—whether he would support any Amendment of this sort.

Then my noble friend said:— I have told the House about the two certificates, one allowing the animal to recover, and the other dispensing with anæsthetics. And he went on to say:— … if, after the recovery from the anæsthetics, the animal suffers from severe pain, or any pain likely to endure, it must be killed painlessly. That is true; but my noble friend did not read the other one— If an animal, after and by reason of any of the said experiments under the said Certificate 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"— only if the main result of the experiment has been attained— the animal shall forthwith be painlessly killed. These two certificates are, so far as I can ascertain, frequently used together, but they are absolutely contradictory. What they moan I cannot say. One says that the animal need not be killed unless the object of the experiment has been attained, and the other says that if the animal is suffering severe pain, or pain that is likely to endure, it must be killed. Those two things arc absolutely contradictory, and in forming an opinion I think it is necessary that both should be read, and not only one.

I would ask your Lordships, who is to be the judge of whether an animal is suffering severe pain or pain likely to endure? Two inspectors only are appointed under the Act. I have here the number of experiments. In 1923 dogs and cats experimented on without anæsthetics, 505; dogs and cats allowed to recover after serious operations, 256; total of cutting operations on animals, 10,055; inoculations, 124,723. With regard to inoculations, it is quite true that no pain, or practically no pain, results during the operation, but the after results must be, and are, extremely painful. I have told your Lordships the number of operations. There are two inspectors and two only. How can those two inspectors be present at all, or any number, of these operations? And if they are not present, who is to be the judge as to whether any dog is suffering pain, or severe pain likely to endure, except the operator?

Evidence was given before the Royal Commission by Dr. Pembrey, who held a licence to perform experiments, and who, in 1923, still held a licence. The Royal Commission, reporting upon Dr. Pembrey's evidence, stated:— The evidence of Dr. Pembrey calls for special remark Ho propounded to the Commission a theory of his own to the effect that pain from the physiological point of view is a protective mechanism, and is in that sense beneficent, and that therefore the modern idea of trying to abolish all pain is absolutely absurd. On the other hand. Dr. Pembrey stated that while he thought it right to inflict pain on animals he thought it not right to inflict unnecessary pain, and he claimed to be a judge of what was painful or not. That is my whole contention—that it is the operator who has the power of saying whether the animal is or is not suffering pain.

The Report of the Royal Commission on Dr. Pembrey's evidence goes on to state:— He stated that he had performed painful experiments upon animals both in Germany and in this country, because he regarded them as absolutely necessary. He mentioned such experiments as the transfusion of blood, performed in Germany, and the destruction of rats by sulphur dioxide performed in this country. Indeed, he deprecated the frequent employment of anesthetics alike on vivisection of animals, in surgery and in midwifery. He considered that their use was often liable to introduce complications to an experiment, and that it would be wiser to allow some operations for which anæsthetics are now required to be performed without anæsthetics. He explained that in his opinion if an animal is bound down on its back it often passes into a condition of hypnotism, and that in that condition anæsthetics could be dispensed with, and from such experiments made by him in Germany he held that animals so treated do not appear to feel pain even without an anæsthetics. This is the Royal Commission's comment on that evidence:— We think that Dr Pembrey's application of a theory of pain as a protective mechanism in the scheme of nature to the case of painful experiments on animals led him into a position which is untenable, and in our opinion absolutely reprehensible, and we dissent entirely from the view that hypnotism should be regarded as a substitute for an anæsthetics in animal experimentation. Before I sit down I should like to read a few short extracts from an article which I wrote to the Morning Post in 1919 upon what the Act of 1876 really does. What you have to consider is this. The only protection which a dog has is the Act of 1876. Home Secretaries may attach certain conditions, but that depends upon whom the Home Secretary is. Whether your Lordships agree with me or not, I feel sure that you would desire that the Act of Parliament itself should lay down what protection should or should not be afforded to animals. This is a portion of what I wrote in the Morning Post:— Clause 3, Section 2, of the Proviso section: 'Experiments may be performed without anæsthetics on such certificate being given as in this Act mentioned that insensibility cannot be procured without necessarily frustrating the object of such experiment'; and Section 3: '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 anæsthetics on such certificate being given as in this Act mentioned that the so killing 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.' Clause 5: 'Notwithstanding anything in this Act contained an experiment calculated to give pain shall not be performed without anæsthetics on a dog or cat except on such certificate being given as in this Act mentioned, stating, in addition to the statement hereinbefore required to be made in such certificate, that the object of the experiment will be necessarily frustrated unless it is performed on an animal similar in construction to a cat or dog and no other animal is available for experiment.' Licences granted at the present moment by the Home Office in cases where certificates A and B have been given provide as follows:— 'If an animal alter 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.' At the same time, this follows:— If an animal after and by reason of any of the said experiments is found to be suffering severe pain or pain which is likely to endure such animal shall forthwith he painlessly killed, whether the main result of the experiment has been attained or not. Those two paragraphs are absolutely contradictory.

I apologise to your Lordships for having been longer than I had intended, but it is impossible to deal with a subject of this kind very shortly. I would remind your Lordships of what a noble Lord, Lord Byron, once wrote:—

But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend, The first to welcome, foremost to defend, Whose honest heart is still his master's own, Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone, Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth, Denied in Heaven the soul he held on earth, While man, vain insect, hopes to be forgiven, And claims himself a sole exclusive Heaven, Ye who perchance behold this simple urn Pass on, it honours none you wish to mourn, To mark a friend's remains these stones arise. I never knew but one and here he lies. 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 the Bill be read 2a this day six months. The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I intended to move the rejection of this Bill, but I am told that I cannot do so; that since 1809 there has been no Motion in your Lordships' House to reject a Bill altogether. I am, therefore, driven to proposing that it be read a second time six months hence. It is a year ago almost to a day that this same Bill was brought forward. Such was the consensus of opinion in this House that the noble Lord who moved it then, and the noble Lord who seconded it, did not even go to a Division. Had they gone to a Division on that day I do not think they would have got more than three or four votes. If this Bill is brought forward year after year simply to show that the noble Lord is of the same opinion still, we might assure him that just as nobody doubts his sincerity for a moment, so none of us think for a moment that his mind is open to argument. If this Bill is to be brought in year after year in the same words, when of course we must use the same words to answer the arguments put forward in favour of it, it would save us a great deal of trouble if we could have a gramophone record made and set up so that we could enjoy the arguments for and against, which arc now stereotyped, in the privacy of the tea-room. It would certainly save the time of this House and also save us backwoodsmen being called up from our sylvan retreats.

As it would be a mere waste of time, I do not propose to repeat now all the arguments I used last year, but I will try to sum them up in a few words. They are cogent enough, I think, to induce your Lordships to reject this measure again, though I rather hope we may have a Division in order to see the amount of support such a Bill as this can possibly obtain in a House of educated gentlemen. Your Lordships will remember this. This is not a Bill to say whether experiments on animals should be allowed or not, though the whole of the speech of the noble Lord has been on that one point, and emphasising what pain may be given not only to dogs but to all animals. His whole speech has been on that one point—namely, whether vivisection should be allowed at all. But the whole of the discussion, to-night, is whether dogs should be exempted from that which applies to all other animals, and you have only had one argument from the noble Lord for exempting dogs, and that is a quotation from a poetical Lord, Lord Byron. That is the only argument we have had.

Let me tell you some of the arguments for including clogs. Your Lordships understand, I am sure, that if this Bill is passed no dog can ever be used for any experiment, not even for dealing with that awful scourge distemper, which has killed so many of our friends amongst the dogs. I say without fear of being contradicted by any educated man in the medical or surgical world, that dogs are necessary and that a great deal of the knowledge we have about the heart, the digestion, and the pressure of blood, has been entirely gained by experiments on dogs. The whole physiological process of a dog is more nearly allied to man than the physiological process of any other animal, except perhaps a monkey, and monkeys are not very easy to get. Therefore dogs are really necessary for investigations.

In a matter like this I do not ask you to take my word; I would not venture as a layman to speak upon a scientific matter. I am going to give you again the answer of the whole medical and surgical world on the question. When the matter was last before Parliament the Royal College of Physicians met in full meeting and protested against the Bill, saying that if it passed it would "greatly retard the progress of our knowledge with regard to the prevention and treatment of disease." Retard progress!—I wonder whether that is the attraction to the noble Lord. I wonder whether there is a sort of sub-conscious awakening of the primeval instinct of obstruction which he possessed perhaps in a former life. Should this Bill pass, those who know say that it will "retard progress," and I cannot but think that that is where the attraction really lies. But the protests do not stop there. The Royal College of Surgeons passed a similar resolution, but more strongly worded, and the Royal Society of Medicine, the oldest in England, in a similar resolution declared that if the Bill passed their researchers would have to go abroad to carry on their studies. And last year my noble friend Lord Mildmay of Flete, speaking as a lay member of the Medical Research Council of the Privy Council—and he was backed up by the noble and learned Lord. Lord Parmoor—gave your Lordships the considered and unanimous opinion of that Council. It was to this effect: It is the considered and unanimous judgment of the Medical Research Council that the proposal of the Dogs Protection Bill would place an insuperable and permanent barrier across some of the important paths of this work.

I miss to-day two voices who spoke against the Bill on the last occasion. One is that of the noble Earl, Lord Balfour, who is absent helping the underdog elsewhere, but who, as Chairman of the Medical Research Council, would have given their opinion. The other is that of the noble Marquess, the late Lord Curzon of Kedleston, whose death all England deplores and whose absence from this House we can hardly yet realise and it will be long before we can get used to it. The noble Marquess, speaking as the Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said he had been asked by the eminent scientific men connected with the University to protest against the Bill. And lastly, we have references to the Royal Commission which my noble friend had the hardihood to quote. He told us that the Royal Commission said that the argument for excluding any animal from vivisection was strongest in favour of dogs; and yet not only did they not exclude dogs, they actually included them; they actually recommended that dogs should be included among the animals submitted to vivisection, but should be safeguarded in the same way as mules, horses and asses. The actual Report which included dogs was signed by my noble friend Lord Lambourne. We are all reluctant to see a dog undergo experiments. There is no doubt about that. But we are compelled to do it because it is necessary for the advancement of knowledge, and those who have studied the matter, as did the Royal Commission, actually recommended that dogs should be included.

We have on the one side, therefore, my noble friend Lord Banbury, who is supported by a dead veterinary surgeon whom he quoted last year and who was not a medical man, and also by Sir Lambert Ormsby, who is dead, and who was President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The noble Lord complained that I wrote him a letter, throwing doubt on the authority he quoted. The reason why I could not trace Sir Lambert Ormsby's name is that my noble friend gave him an "H" and called him Hormsby, instead of Ormsby. I know that his name was Sir Lambert Ormsby, and I think he must be turning in his grave to-day. Imagine any man writing in 1922 that "all that can be found out by physiological experiment for application to human beings has long since been discovered"! Imagine any man daring to say that every scientific fact connected with life has been already discovered! Bless my soul! Insulin as an alleviation of diabetes has been discovered since that wretched man was buried, and he said "all has been discovered"! Why, every day science is advancing, discoveries are being made, and poor Sir Lambert Ormsby must, I should think, have died in a lunatic asylum.

Who shall decide if doctors disagree? is a conundrum that is sometimes put to us, but there is no difficulty in deciding when doctors are all agreed, as they are in this case. I must go back one moment to another quotation given by my noble friend, a quotation from Sir Frederick Treves. We who have to go about, for our sins, to these anti-vivisection meetings always hear this quotation from Sir Frederick Treves. Ho was a great personal friend of mine, and he took the opportunity of explaining that what he said when he stated that he had learnt nothing from animals was in reference to one special operation, and he wrote this letter which my noble friend must know of. It is in Sir Frederick Treves' own writing, and my noble friend must have heard it quoted often at meetings. I had the words ready because I knew that Sir Frederick Treves' remarks would be quoted, as they always are. He says:— No one can be more keenly aware than J am of the great benefits conferred upon suffering humanity by certain researches carried out by means of vivisection.

And yet my noble friend quoted Sir Frederick Treves as being against vivisection! It is not fair.

We have now heard the authorities—the dead veterinary surgeon, the dead Irishman who said that nothing could over be learnt from the study of animals, and my noble friend Lord Banbury. Those are the three. It seems almost unthinkable that the members of this House should venture to put their opinions against the whole medical and surgical world who have taken the trouble to meet specially to record their opinion against this Bill. They do not interfere with politics, but their opinion is worthy of respect in this House when they are speaking of a subject upon which they are the greatest authorities in the world.

I will not deal with the question of pain. I explained it last year. Perhaps I made a mistake regarding a part of the Act, just as I dare say I shall find, when I come to look at that which my noble friend has said, that he has made a number of mistakes. It is a complicated Act. But we are not dealing with the Act or trying to reform the Act. We are merely discussing whether dogs are to be excluded from the Act, and we have not yet heard any reason why they should be.

Let me pass on and ask your Lordships whether our decision of last year has been justified. We decided that we would not exclude dogs. Was that decision justified? Let me tell you. Insulin, which, as your Lordships know, is used as an alleviation for diabetes, has stood the test of time. There are many discoveries in the medical and surgical world which, when they come to be tested and tried, sometimes show some error and do not justify our hopes. But insulin has more than justified our hopes. Only a, few years ago the son of a very dear friend of mine was out hunting and broke his leg, and the doctor came and said to me: "I have had to pass sentence of death upon that boy because he has diabetes." Only a few years ago a boy or girl had no possible chance of recovering from diabetes. Now, through the use of insulin, diabetes is no longer a sentence of death to boys or girls, and no longer an intolerable burden to adults. And this result is solely due to experiments on dogs. That example alone—though I could give many more—is sufficient to condemn this Bill and should prevent its ever being brought again into this House

Then, again, we have made considerable progress during the year in the investigation of distemper, which I have described as the scourge which has killed so many of our best friends among dogs. I was surprised last year, and also rather amused, that my noble friend Lord Lambourne, in seconding the Motion for the Second Reading of this Bill, seeing that the argument concerning distemper was carrying considerable weight with many of your Lordships who had dogs, said that he was quite sure that it would be easy to amend the Bill so as not to exclude dogs from experiments made in the investigation of distemper, and he was quite sure that his noble friend Lord Banbury would agree. So, forsooth,

experiments on dogs are justifiable and to be allowed when it is hoped to cure dogs of distemper, but they are unjustifiable and to be absolutely forbidden when they are designed to prevent disease and suffering amongst women, children and men ! He would be a bold man who would dare to put such a proposition as that to a debating society in an elementary school—the proposition that you may experiment on a dog to cure distemper but you may not experiment upon a dog in the hope of saving human life.

If we have a chance of lessening suffering and benefiting mankind, it seems to me to be gross cruelty to refrain from gaining that knowledge. Surely we must agree that, whatever our walk in life, may be, our duty is to lessen suffering as much as we possibly can, but that duty of lessening suffering does not only apply to the pain which we may have to inflict ourselves or which is inflicted by others. Surely it applies equally, and indeed more strongly, to the pain and suffering which we may prevent, and which is far greater than the limited amount of suffering which we or others may cause. England would be the laughing stock of the world if she were to lose an opportunity, which the best of our medical researchers say is necessary, to lessen suffering. I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time this day six months.

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


My Lords, I venture to ask leave to address to you a very few words in support of the Second Beading of this Bill. Lord Knutsford has used extremely violent language towards those who have dared to oppose their opinions to his and has said that we should be ashamed to speak to an educated assembly, such as I hope your Lordships are, on such a subject as this. I am not ashamed, and there are many others who are not ashamed, to address your Lordships in the hope of gaining sympathy for a cause which we shall always believe in as long as we live. I am an old man, and I cannot hope, in the ordinary course of nature, that I shall be allowed to fight the battle of my old friend, the dog, on many more occasions, but I do hope to see the time when this protection will be afforded to dogs. I confess that my enthusiasm for many things wanes as I grow older, but there are two things for which my enthusiasm grows day by day and hour by hour. One is the hope to sec proper punishment—by which, of course, I mean corporal punishment—for offences against young children, and the second is protection for the dog against experiments on the living body.

It is to my mind an iniquity, and a blot on the fame of England, that experiments on the living body of the dog should be carried out, I would almost say daily, in the name and under the protection of doing good for science. I admit that some few of these experiments have been successful, but the majority of them have been totally unsuccessful and useless. We are accused by the noble Viscount, Lord Knutsford, and by everyone who differs from us, of wishing to hinder the progress of science—with wishing to impede the progress of the greatest profession in the world, the profession of surgery. In that profession I have many great friends, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for kindness received, but I would like to remind your Lordships—and of this there is no contradiction—that the same objections that are brought forward to-day by the noble Viscount in the strongest language at his command, which is saying a good deal, have been invariably held forth, for the public to digest, by the leaders of that profession and others as well. They have always told us, at the time when any Act has been passed to mitigate the suffering of dogs and other animals through operations, that the profession would be injured and its progress would be stopped, that they would be left behind in the race for fame, and that English surgeons would have to leave the field because they were unable to obtain all the rights over animals that were obtained by surgeons in other countries. I ask your Lordships if there is any sign of our surgeons being second in the field, or of their progress having been obstructed, and yet several Acts have been passed, which have been opposed invariably by the surgical profession, but which have obtained some mitigation of the sufferings of animals under experiments upon their living bodies.

We always hear from our opponents, and amongst others I may include the noble Viscount, Lord Knutsford, that they are great lovers of dogs. I will rot dispute it. I believe many of them are, but I cannot help thinking that their idea of loving a dog is to look upon it as a highly-skilled bit of mechanism for retrieving game or performing tricks. They do not look upon the, dog as a friend and companion, and in the same way as the real lovers of dogs do. I hope I am not maligning the noble Lord or accusing him of not being educated if I ask whether the Rontgen rays, or chloroform, were discovered by experiments on the living animal. They are great discoveries, but they were not discovered through operations on living animals. I am not attempting to enter into the professional side of operations because, as Lord Knutsford remarked, the subject has been brought before you several times and I fancy that your Lordships are as well acquainted with the facts as I am. I confess, however, that I do think the House of Commons at the present time is looking upon this Bill, or a Bill like it, with very much more favour than it has done for some years past, and I should only regret when this Bill passes, which it will do some day, that it should not have found favour in your Lordships' House. I am not in the least ashamed of bringing it forward from year to year. However ridiculous it may seem to Lord Knutsford, and those who think with him, I am quite indifferent to their ridicule if I can save one friend of my boyhood, and I believe the boyhood of the noble Viscount, from these experiments.


My Lords, obviously there is very little fresh to say on the subject matter of this Bill after so full a debate of its provisions as we had a year ago. I have always the greatest respect for my noble friend Lord Banbury, and for the motives that influence him, but I must confess to a feeling of astonishment that he should have ventured once more to bring forward this Bill, in view of what happened last year, and in view of his action on that occasion, which has already been referred to. Your Lordships will remember that a very full opportunity of stating their case was afforded to him and to my noble friend Lord Lambourne. They were listened to by a full and representative House. Their representations were gravely heard, but so heavy was the weight of authoritative and considered opinion against the Bill that my noble friend did not dare to divide. And it does seem to me that he is almost treating your Lordships' House with scant respect when he asks you to give your time once more to the consideration of his Bill.

Not that I fail to recognise the gravity of the issue, but I do resent the implied imputation flung by the promoters of the Bill against those of us who cannot agree with him, that we are lacking in humanity. To an even greater extent than Lord Lambourne himself, I believe, I owe my enjoyment in life to the hound and to sporting dogs generally. I have not looked upon them, in a phrase which has been used, as a piece of intricate mechanism. Their faithful and trusting companionship has meant everything to me all my life; and, if I thought for one moment that there was substance in the charge that those engaged in research were guilty of cruelty, I should be up in arms at once in defence of the dog. But, after conscientious investigation, I indignantly resent methods of controversy which, outside this House, have been based on unfounded assertion and mere abuse. This is an age of gestures, and my noble friend made a most impressive gesture in pleading the cause of the dog, but we all know that, when legislation is in question, we have to come down to bedrock facts. Last year the noble Lord told us—and I think he has repeated it to-day—that dogs were unnecessary for research purposes. Frankly, I prefer to take the opinion of great medical authorities on this subject, and let me say that, notwithstanding that here and there an opinion among those gentlemen has been found in a contrary sense, nine out of ten, I am bold enough to say, of medical authorities throughout the country are opposed to this Bill.

I call to mind how, a year ago, the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Haldane, speaking on behalf of the Government, stated that the Government could not approve of the provisions of a Bill "which would put an end to some of the most essential research that has taken place." The noble Lord, Lord Parmoor, spoke in the same sense, and what was said by the late Lord Curzon has also been described. There is therefore no reason for me to speak at considerable length. But now that Lord Curzon, unfortunately, is no longer with us, and the noble Earl, Lord Balfour, the Chairman of the Medical Research Council, is absent in Palestine, I am the only member of that Council in this House at the present time, and there lies upon me the duty of conveying to your Lordships the strong opinion of that important body, containing as it does ten of the highest authorities in the world of medical science, and entrusted by the Government with the superintendence and encouragement of medical research throughout the country, with the assistance of a considerable grant from the Government. It was only last Friday that I had the honour of presiding over a meeting of the Medical Research Council, and I was asked and authorised to make known to your Lordships how strong and unalterable was their opposition to this Kill, as a measure likely seriously to impede the progress of medical science, and greatly to retard the successful treatment of disease.

May I allude very shortly to some of the points which the supporters of the Bill have tried to make? I believe it was last year that the noble Lord, Lord Lambourne, said that very little real benefit had resulted from experiments on dogs in connection with rickets, and he added that sunlight was equally important for the cure and eradication of rickets. How childish to talk of continuous sunlight for the dense populations of the smoky cities of England! How can a Manchester child be always living in the sun? It is common know ledge that we owe to experiments on dogs the all-important discovery that rickets is a dietetic disease which is easily controllable by diet, irrespective of sunlight. These experiments on dogs have been quite painless, merely feeding experiments, and to experiments on dogs is due the fact that rickets is now a completely preventable disease. Whereas until a short time ago one in three of the children in our great cities was weakened, if not crippled, by rickets, it was reported to us last Friday at the Medical Research Council that the disease has been so overcome that it is difficult in London at the present time to find a single case for a student to observe. What an inestimable boon! And let it be remembered that hundreds of children owe their health, if not their lives, to feeding experiments on puppies. Are you going to call a halt to all such progress?

I am not going to enlarge on the subject of insulin, after what has already been said, and after what I said last year. True to their policy, the advocates of this Bill have sought to belittle the value of insulin, and they have said that insulin is not a cure for diabetes. Insulin is a cure for diabetes exactly in the same sense that food is a cure for hunger, and, just as food averts death by starvation, so has insulin rescued vast numbers from death by diabetes. As has already been said, to dogs is due this discovery.

But it is in the interests of dogs themselves that I oppose this Bill. I spoke last year of the very great efforts that are being made by the Medical Research Council at their farm at Mill Hill, with the assistance of the Field Distemper Fund, with the object of for ever banishing the scourge of distemper. I am not going to repeat myself. How appalling are the ravages of distemper at present, entailing immense suffering, and often a miserably painful death. What percentage of dog life is every year victimised in this way? And what dog-lover has not watched with acute pain the look of reproachful misery in the eyes of a dying puppy, as paralysis gradually creeps over him, and has not bewailed his powerlessness to help? Are our efforts to alleviate this suffering to be arrested, as they will be arrested, if this Bill passes?

The noble Viscount, Lord Knutsford, alluded to a suggestion which had been made by the noble Lord, Lord Lambourne, last year, in which he said that experiments might be allowed on dogs for the sake of alleviating distemper, and Lord Knutsford very rightly poured ridicule on that suggestion when, if such experiments were calculated to mitigate disease and suffering in man, then the individual who conducted them rendered himself liable to heavy penalties. With all respect to my noble friend, could there be a more ridiculous and more indefensible suggestion than that? It is due, as it seems to me, to its author's lack of close acquaintance with his case. He is apparently unaware of the interdependence, of medical research upon human and animal diseases. You cannot keep the two branches of research in watertight compartments. We of the Medical Research Council have undertaken this distemper work at our farm at Mill Hill because the malignant agent in the case of distemper is a filter-passing organism of infinitely small proportions, closely akin to the malignant agent in the case of influenza.

There are some protagonists of this Bill who suggest that little progress has been made with these distemper investigations; but let me assure your Lordships that the work is continually going forward with good promise. You do not hear much of it because these great research workers—and they are the greatest in the world at their job—are resolutely determined not to allow each step in their advance to be made the subject of a Press stunt. Distemper investigations must take time in view of the necessity of breeding at the farm in fly-proof kennels a third generation of puppies for experimental purposes which shall be completely immune from any possible contact with distemper in the outside world. Infinite care has been taken. In passing, may I explain that these dogs are looked after by kennel-maids? Every kennel-maid has to change her clothing on going in and out of the kennels. Let me say with confidence that filter-passing organisms, as a tribe, are being hunted from various directions with a remarkable promise of success. I cannot say more. Real success in one direction is very likely to mean a flood of light in many directions, not only upon the causes of distemper, foot-.and-mouth disease, and swine fever, but upon such human diseases as smallpox, chickenpox, whooping cough, rabies, not to speak of rheumatic fever and scarlet fever. That being so, your Lordships will understand what I mean by the "interdependence" of research work upon human and animal diseases.

I have one thing more to say. My experience on the Medical Research Council and as a member of the board of the Middlesex Hospital, has convinced me that in no walk of life will you find finer, nobler, more admirable qualities than are to be found amongst those engaged in medical research work. Their character has been a real revelation to me. It would seem as though contact with suffering, so far from hardening them, had endowed them in an ever-increasing degree with the most wonderful sympathy for the sufferers, with a spirit of altruism and self-sacrifice which is beyond all praise. How otherwise can one account for the real beauty of character which is constantly revealed in them? I have been moved to make this comment by a letter which appeared in The Times on Saturday last from a supporter of the Bill, a well-known man, who is, perhaps re pensible for the drafting of this Bill.




I accept that from my noble friend This well-known man, a protagonist in support of the Bill, made one of his periodical appeals to prejudice, professing to write in the name of morality and ethics. As they cannot defend themselves, I am irresistibly impelled by that letter to record my admiration of the personal character of those scientific men whom I have come to know on the Medical Research Council. I know how unselfishly they work, with a single eye to the increase of knowledge, and with the one object of diminishing pain and suffering and making life fuller and better for all. I know what senseless blasphemy it is—I cannot put it at less than that—to describe men of that kind, who are doing such beautiful, skilful and strenuous work with the utmost consideration for the animals which they use in their painless experiments, as "pedling in entrails with bloodstained fingers," and guilty of "dreadful doings." That is pretty language, and I hope that by this time the writer of that letter, having seen his words in print, is ashamed of them.

I do not speak as a scientific man, but merely as a layman, and from a layman's point of view. I know something of the character of the men who are doing this work, and the spirit in which they are doing it. Such men as the writer of that letter have no right to pose as champions of mercy. It is the physiologists who are doing the merciful work. They are steadily reducing pain and suffering in men, women, children and animals and already most wonderfully have they reduced it. There are those who, like the writer of this letter, are trying to stop this merciful work, and, in so trying, they do not scruple to malign the men and women who are engaged in it. I beg your Lordships not to lend yourselves to those purposes, not to retard for years, and perhaps indefinitely, the progress of medical science.


My Lords, there is much in this debate about which one might say something, but I will confine myself to a few words only. I would like to sum up, if I may to some extent, the question as to what is the opinion of the medical profession. The protagonists of this Bill always open their remarks by mentioning several medical names, and create by that means an impression that there is something like a respectable minority of the medical profession in favour of their proposal. If we consider controversy in general, I think we must admit that absolute unanimity is a thing which is very difficult to secure. When once a question has become a matter of controversy one hardly ever gets completely away from it. For example, it is widely believed at present, on grounds that most of us consider very good, that the earth is round. For all that, men are to be found, even in our own times, who are prepared to maintain the contrary, and it would by no means be true to say that those men were fools or men of no capacity. In some cases they have been men of great ability. President Kruger, for instance, was of opinion that the earth is flat. He was a very astute man and was on the side of the minority. One cannot, in controversies of this kind, regard the fact that a few names can be cited as carrying any real weight, or as really detracting from the substantial unanimity of the medical profession. We can only regard those opinions as psychological curiosities. It is very hard to explain them and men ought to know-better, no doubt.

It might be urged that the gentlemen whose names have been cited are an enlightened minority who are organising a new movement and that eventually everyone will come round to see as they do. The medical profession is a large profession and a great variety of different kinds of men are to be found in it. It is only a small minority of the profession that ever attempts to do anything that can be called research work. To begin with most of them are much too busy. If you think of your country practitioner you will know very well that he is not occupied with research but with very different matters—the daily routine of his profession. The people who carry out research are, as I say, a small minority. They are connected with academic institutions or with hospitals, as a rule.

I have had an opportunity since last year of going over the names which the noble Lord then brought forward as being on his side. So far as I have been able to learn, and I have had the advantage of consulting many eminent men in the physiological and medical worlds, not one of those men has ever made a discovery of any kind. Are they the men to lay down what means are necessary for the purposes of research? Surely we should ask the people who have done it to tell us that, and not the people who have never done it. I think, for that reason, no serious attention should be paid to these names. It may be easy enough to reel them off, and if one has never heard of them before one perhaps receives the announcement of the names with a certain respect, but I can assure your Lordships, after going over them, that that attitude meets with no confirmation whatever.

I should like to answer one or two points which were made by Lord Lambourne. He mentioned the opposition made to the previous restriction of vivisection, and said that research had gone on all the same. No doubt it has. But surely none of us will seriously contend that official regulation and restriction of our work is not an intolerable nuisance? Take the Income Tax. We all continue to live and to spend our incomes in spite of the fact that we have to fill up endless forms, and to consider endless vexatious problems in filling up Income Tax papers. It may be borne with, although it is a grievous burden. It is just the same as that with all the restrictions and forms and regulations and fussinesses, if I may use an uncoventional term, which those engaged on animal experiment have to put up with. They groan under them, but they get on to a certain extent, all the more because nothing has yet been done sufficiently drastic absolutely to put an end to all progress. Lord Lambourne asked two questions—whether X-rays were discovered by vivisection, and whether chloroform was discovered by vivisection or experiment on animals? I make my noble friend a present of the case of X-rays. No one ever said that there was no other means of discovery than by experiment on living animals. I may say, by the way, that I should imagine that the first bones that were seen by X-rays were those of a living animal—namely, those of the discoverer himself. So far, it was an experiment on an animal. However, I do not press that.

The case of chloroform is more to my purpose. Let me say a word as to how the use of chloroform was introduced. It was made in the first instance purely as a chemical product, and without any view to medical applications, by the celebrated French chemist, M. Dumas. The notion of using it as an anæsthetics originated with Sir James Simpson. He wished to find something better than other for that purpose, and looked over fill the chemical substances of a likely kind that he could find, such as the volatile compounds of the hydro-carbons, and among them chloroform was brought to his notice. He used to spend the evenings, I have been told, inhaling these various substances himself, and very often he sank under the table in a profound stupor, and waited until he came round again and then tried the next substance. Your Lordships see that in that case the experiment was made on a living animal—namely, Sir James Simpson, who falls under that term used in its biological sense. I have detained your Lordships longer than I had intended, and in conclusion I will associate myself with the words spoken by my noble friend Lord Mildmay. I beg earnestly that your Lordships will not put this great obstacle in the way of medical research.


My Lords, I cannot speak upon this subject with the authority of the noble Viscount, Lord Knutsford. That authority has been gained by a life that has been unstintingly devoted to the noblest of all causes. I cannot speak with the special knowledge possessed by Lord Rayleigh, who has just sat down. There are few, if any, members of your Lordships' House who could do so. I only desire to say a few words upon this Bill from the point of view that I think must be held by many of you—the point of view of a man unlearned and unlettered in special scientific knowledge who is keenly anxious to consider whether or not existing laws need, in the interest of humanity and fair dealing, to be modified or swept away.

Approaching the subject from that point of view, the first thing that I feel bound to ask is this. Last year your Lordships, after a much more full and elaborate discussion than that we have had this afternoon, rejected this Bill without a Division. I should have thought that it would have been incumbent upon the the noble Lord who asked you again to consider the same arguments within twelve months to lay before you some new ground, to bring before you some new matter, to justify in some manner the appropriation of your Lordships' time in the hearing of what, in many cases, has been nothing but a vain repetition of old and stale extracts from papers. Has anything of the kind been done? I have listened anxiously. There was not one single new argument. There was not a single new fact placed before you for consideration. Not only that, but what I should at least have expected was this. Last year there were two special matters that were mentioned which I cannot help thinking must have made a great impression upon you, as indeed they did upon me. The one was the fact that one of the most insidious and most deadly of the diseases which afflict mankind, the disease of diabetes, had been held at bay as the result of experiments made on dogs. It would have been possible for the noble Lord to have come down and said: The whole of that was a profound mistake; no such thing resulted from experiments on dogs; it is not accurate. But he has not ventured to contradict it. Nor has he ventured to contradict that another disease, equally formidable to little children, the disease of rickets, has been cured by the same means.

If that is so, what does this Bill mean? It means that while you leave at large the right of man to make experiments upon living animals you are to exclude from the area of those experiments a particular animal, the use of which has been found to be the means of making one of the most beneficent discoveries of recent times. The truth is that the real appeal of these Bills is an appeal to people, who object to vivisection altogether. Unless you can succeed along those lines you cannot succeed at all. When that is put forward, I should think-that your Lordships would hesitate a very long time before you attempted to limit the area of investigation into the means by which it may be possible for us to extend the wide boundaries of our great empire of learning, to check the progress of disease, and even to stay the swift and stealthy foot of death. That is the real meaning of experiments by means of vivisection. How you can enlarge, strengthen and render more secure human life—that is what is struck at by all Bills that attempt to stop these experiments, and, in a lesser way, by the Bill which the noble Lord introduced this afternoon. I hope sincerely that your Lordships will reject it so emphatically that we shall not be troubled with it again.


My Lords, I only rise for the purpose of saying one word with regard to the view of the Home Office upon this Bill. I cordially agree with the noble and learned Lord who has

Resolved in the negative and Motion disagreed to accordingly.

just spoken that not one new argument has been brought forward to-day. The argument has been the same, the speakers have almost been the same, as on the last occasion; and the attitude of the Home Office is the same, too. It is this. They have had the fullest opportunity of reading and digesting the voluminous evidence which has been brought forward on this matter, and they have also had the experience of carrying out the safeguards, which I have before me under seven different heads, but with which it is unnecessary to trouble your Lordships at this moment. I merely say that the Home Office is as opposed to this Bill now as it was last year.

On Question, Whether the word "now" shall stand part of the Motion?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 8; Not-Contents, 77.

Minister, E. Banbury of Southam, L. [Teller.] Lambourne, L. [Teller.]
Leigh, L.
Bertie of Thame, V. Hatherton, L. Tenterden, L.
Hood, V.
Cave, V. (L. Chancellor.) Cecil of Chelwood, V. Marshall of Chipstead, L.
Chelmsford, V. Mildmay of Flete, L. [Teller.]
Salisbury, M. (L. Privy Seal.) Churchill, V. Monteagle, L. (M. Sligo.)
FitzAlan of Derwent, V. Muir Mackenzie, L.
Haldane, V. Muskerry, L.
Argyll, D. Knuteford, V. Newton, L.
Sutherland, D. Novar, V. Olivier, L.
Wellington, D. Younger of Leckie, V. Oriel, L. (F. Massereene.)
Playfair, L.
Bath, M. Annaly, L. Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)
Lansdowne, M. Arnold, L.
Lincolnshire, M. (L. Great Chamberlain.) Balfour of Burleigh, L. Raglan, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Rayleigh, L.
Biddulph, L. Riddell, L.
Beauchamp, E. Buckmaster, L. Saltoun, L.
Birkenhead, E. Carson, L. Sandhurst, L.
Bradford, E. Cottesloe, L. Shandon, L.
Clarendon, E. Darling, L. Shuttleworth, L.
Eldon, E. Desborough, L. Sinclair, L.
Fortescue, E. Fairfax of Cameron, L. Somers, L.
Iveagh, E. Gage, L. (V. Gage.) Southborough, L.
Lovelace, E. Gisborough, L. Stanmore, L.
Lucan, E. Glenarthur, L. Stewart of Garlies, L.(E. Galloway.)
Malmesbury, E. Hardinge of Penshurst, L.
Midleton, E. Hemphill, L. Stuart of Wortley, L.
Onslow, E. Hunsdon of Hunsdon, L. Sydenham, L.
Sandwich, E. Kylsant, L. Templemore, L.
Stanhope, E. Lamington, L. [Teller.] Thomson, L.
Strafford, E. Wargrave, L.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.