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process of disinfection before the work of sorting is commenced, or by inoculating the wool-sorters with Pasteur's cultivated virus.
Such, then, is the sort of experimental work which is being carried on in Great Britain to-day, and if we apply to it the tests which we laid down as distinctive of cruelty, we must, I think, unhesitatingly conclude that it is not cruel. There is no carelessness or indifference with regard to the amount of pain inflicted; still less is any pleasure derived from the actual infliction of pain, which is but a rare incident in the work of the practical physiologist in England; and when it is necessary to cause any, every precaution is taken to reduce it to a minimum. On the other hand, the importance of the results which are being worked out is very great, and the benefits likely to accrue both to mankind and to lower animals are considerable. When we consider the comparatively small amount of suffering which most of these experiments cause, and its resemblance to the common, every-day pains which most men and women have to suffer at one time or another, the pains, for instance, of a shortlived fever or a rapid consumption, one cannot help being astonished at the amount and strength of the abuse which is being hurled against those who patiently and unselfishly, regardless of obloquy and misrepresentation, carry on these investigations. In reply, then, to the objection against vivisection that it is cruel, I would submit that, at all events, as practised at present in this country, it is not cruel, since the amount of pain inflicted is abundantly justified by the benefits derived; and I further submit that it is wholly undeserving of the agitation for total abolition with which it is assailed.
(3) The last objection urged against vivisection is, that it is demoralising, both to those who practise it, and, through its being legalised, to the community at large.
As regards the moral degradation alleged to be exercised upon the physiologists themselves, it would be obviously no proof to say that vivisection must demoralise the experimenter because it is cruel; for the fact of its cruelty is the very point in dispute. To substantiate this objection, the opponents of vivisection would have to show that physiologists are conspicuously cruel in their ordinary life, apart from their professional pursuits. But this they have certainly not even attempted to do. I myself have known several men who have been in the habit of performing experiments, but I have entirely failed to detect any evidence of moral degradation in them. On the contrary, they have been men of high character and of wide sympathies.
As regards the demoralisation supposed to be exerted on the community at large by the fact that experiments on animals are legalised, thereby, as it is alleged, setting a conspicuous example of deliberate and lawful cruelty, I will again quote the able Editor of the Spectator. Mr. Hutton says that, because we legalise vivisection on account of its benefits to mankind, we deprive ourselves of any standingground from which to argue with a brutal wagoner or a cruel rat-catcher, who inflicts a vast amount of needless pain, and excuses himself on the ground that the end justifies the
Mr. Hutton appears to forget, however, that, as far as the wagoner is concerned, if he is not amenable to argument, he is at all events amenable to law. And, as regards the ratcatcher, I think it is quite time that an Act were passed to prevent, not only the professional rat-catcher, but the ginsetting lady to whom I before referred, from using needlessly cruel and barbarous methods of destroying animals. And I would go further, and say that the country parson and the squire should not be allowed, as they are at present, to inflict an unlimited amount of suffering for the sake of sport; for
it is our sportsmen, and not our physiologists, who set a public example of indifference to the amount of animal suffering they cause. To return to the wagoner. Both he and the licensed scientific experimenter are subject to stringent regulations with regard to the infliction of needless pain. There is this difference, however, that wagoners are constantly being punished for cruelty to their horses, whereas our physiologists loyally conform to the regulations under which they perform their experiments. I believe that no licensed scientific man has ever been prosecuted for infringing the stipulations of the Act of 1876.
So far, then, from the labours of physiologists being an encouragement and a stimulus to cruelty, "a new impulse to the selfishness of men in every other grade of life," as Mr. Hutton says they are, I maintain that scientific experimenters, in this country at least, show an example of considerateness and self-restraint in regard to the infliction of pain on animals which persons in other grades of life would do well to imitate. I would therefore suggest to anti-vivisectors that they should now turn their attention to other and less excusable forms of animal suffering, and that, instead of abusing physiologists and accusing them of setting an example of cruelty which demoralises society, they should hold them up as examples of men who, being obliged by the necessities of their vocation to inflict a certain amount of pain on lower animals, use every precaution and care to render this as small as possible.
I therefore entirely fail to see that the fact of thoroughly trained scientific men being allowed, under careful restrictions, to perform painful experiments on animals, can in any way tend to demoralise the public, any more than does the fact that surgeons are allowed to perform painful operations on human beings. On the other hand, I am of opinion that some of the more reckless of the agitators for the abolition
of vivisection have been lead, through excess of zeal for their cause, into using methods of promoting this which must be exceedingly demoralising to themselves. As an illustration of this, let me quote a passage from a leading article in the current number of the Zoophilist, the organ of the Antivivisection Societies. Mr. Sampson Gamgee, a well-known surgeon of Birmingham, has recently written a pamphlet, in which he sets forth some of the principal improvements in practical surgery for which we are mainly, if not wholly, indebted to experiments on animals. This is what, in consequence, the Zoophilist says of him :
"But to Mr. Gamgee the bloody rites of the physiological torture-chamber are a joy and a delight. Let weaker natures shrink and shudder at the cruelties they feel bound in stern self-denial to inflict. In his nostrils, the blood of the living sacrifice is sweet. And as his victim writhes in the slow agonies of the devouring flame, he clasps his hands in rapture, and greets the lurid glare with the Christian hymn, Lead, kindly Light!'"-Zoophilist, March, 1882, p. 213.
That anyone could stoop to publish such trash as this is a signal illustration of the demoralisation produced by excessive zeal in the anti-vivisectionist cause.
III. AMOUNT OF LIMITATION DESIRABLE.
Lastly, I wish to refer briefly to the question as to the limits within which experiments on animals are justifiable, and as to what restrictions, if any, should be placed on their performance.
Several such limits have been proposed. Some writers, such as Lord Coleridge and Miss Cobbe, advocate entire prohibition of all such experiments. Mr. Hutton, probably the best-informed and at the same time the most fair of the opponents of vivisection, would draw a line on a somewhat fanciful principle. He asks us to imagine ourselves in the power of a race of beings as much above us as we are above
cats and dogs. We ought, he says, to exact from lower animals only as much pain and sacrifice for our benefit as we should be willing to render to the higher race of beings for their advantage. This method of obtaining a limit, however, is far too subtle, and the limit arrived at would differ so greatly in different persons according as they possessed more or less of a martyr's spirit, that it is clearly inapplicable as a practical rule.
Of what may be called theoretical limits as to the amount of pain which it is justifiable to inflict upon animals, that proposed by Mr. Edmund Gurney is, perhaps, the most satisfactory. He lays it down that "a large amount of suffering in the future course of life on this planet being unavoidable, the amount is to be made as small as possible; therefore of any two alternative amounts, the lesser is to be chosen."-(Loc. Cit., p. 784.) On this principle he justifies painful experiments on animals, provided there is reasonable expectation that the solution of the problem in hand will lead to the alleviation, either in mankind or other animals, of more suffering than that actually caused by the experiment. On the other hand, he would condemn painful operations performed simply to see what will happen, and without any distinct problem to solve; also, all repetitions of painful experiments to demonstrate well-established facts, or to illustrate lectures, or for the purposes of instruction. In all these points I agree with Mr. Gurney, and also in his further position, that there are some kinds of pain of so intense a kind that they cannot be weighed against a much larger quantity of ordinary pain. For instance, it would be better for all the world to suffer from face-ache for a night than for one man to pass it roasting over a slow fire. Applying this to the subject of experiments on animals, there are some imaginable which would be so painful as not to be justified by any merely potential advantage-nor by anything,