Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/181

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VIVISECTION IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

that, coincidently with these meteorological disturbances, huge spots and other evidences of commotion have appeared in the sun. Here is a splendid field for investigation.


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VIVISECTION IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

By BURT G. WILDER, M.D.

"I know that physiology can not possibly progress except by means of experiments on living animals, and I feel the deepest conviction that he who retards the progress of physiology commits a crime against mankind."—Charles Darwin.[1]

THE objects of this article are—1. To enlarge the slender store of published facts respecting vivisection in the United States. 2. To discuss briefly certain general aspects of the question. 3. To examine the existing and proposed laws concerning it. 4. To consider Mr. Henry Bergh's fitness to initiate such legislation. 5. To express what seems to be the sentiment of most well-informed, humane persons regarding experimentation upon animals.

I. Aside from editorial articles and resolutions of medical societies, public discussion of vivisection in this, the State in which it is already somewhat limited by law, has been nearly confined to four gentlemen besides the present writer. Mr. Bergh's single contribution will be more conveniently considered later. Professor J. C. Dalton has contented himself hitherto with the general statement[2] that "the exhibition of pain in an experimental laboratory is an exceptional occurrence. As a rule, all the cutting operations are performed under the influence of ether. . . . This is because the infliction of pain is generally no part of the experimenter's object, and on every account it is preferable for him to avoid it." The foregoing refers directly only to laboratory investigations, and it may undoubtedly be inferred that, among the experiments before classes in the lecture-room, the painful constitute a still smaller minority.[3] What they have been is shown by Dr. A. J. Leffingwell[4] in quotations from the larger physiological treatises of Professors Dalton and Flint. Among the numerous illustrative operations mentioned as performed by these teachers in two of the largest medical schools in the coun-

  1. From a letter to Professor Holmgren, April, 1, 1881, published in "Nature," April 21, 1881, p. 583.
  2. "Experimentation upon Animals," etc., New York, 1875, p. 8.
  3. In a letter to the writer, dated January 11, 1883, Professor Austin Flint, Jr., says, "In my class demonstrations, I do not make experiments upon animals involving more pain than is caused, for example, by pithing to kill, or injecting an anæsthetic subcutaneously."
  4. "Does Vivisection pay?" "Scribner's Monthly," July, 1880, pp. 391-399.