Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/139

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127
SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE.

pared with the demoralizing and degrading action of the law upon the noble profession of medicine. This law places the professors of medicine in the same position as the licensed publican, and for the same reason." And again, "it tempts weak men to weak practices; increases the number of experimentalists; makes experiments all but useless, and does not limit cruelty." There are, however, some restrictions to which Sir Benjamin has no objection.

 

Such laws are mainly advocated by the various "humane societies," and we turn to documents issued by several such societies to learn their positions on the question. The Thirtieth Annual Report of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, of New York, shows that the efforts of that society in 1895 were restricted to stopping and remedying maltreatment of horses and other domestic animals. Vivisection is not mentioned. A letter to its secretary asking the position of the society on this matter has brought no response. A pamphlet on Work Accomplished by the Toronto Humane Society during 1887-91 shows that this society has covered a wider field. It has labored against abuse of beasts of burden, cruelty in the transportation of live stock, overloading horse cars, improper horseshoeing, the use of the check-rein and burr-bit, killing insect-eating birds and robbing their nests, killing birds for women's hats, clipping horses and docking their tails, cutting dogs' ears and tails, trap-shooting of pigeons and other birds, matches for cock and dog fighting, bleeding live calves periodically, plucking live fowls, and dehorning cattle. This society also protects children. Here, again, is no mention of vivisection. If these aims are not sufficient for any humane society it might add efforts against the slaughter of seals and other animals for their furs, robbing eider ducks' nests of down, killing small game birds which yield insignificant food supplies, caponizing cockerels, gelding horses without anæsthetics, hunting solely for amusement, especially where the birds or animals are bred for the purpose, the prolonged process of killing food animals required by the Hebrew theology, deserting or "losing" cats by families changing their residences, and confining animals in menageries so that they sicken and die prematurely. These things, as well as those previously mentioned, have not, like vivisection, the purpose of increasing knowledge, but cater only to the appetite, the vanity, the amusement, or the over-exacting convenience of men and women. The American Humane Association is one society that has busied itself with vivisection. It has been taking a census of opinions from clergymen, authors and editors, educators, and physicians of over fifteen years' practice—more than two thousand in all—by sending out statements of four differing views from which a choice could be made. Its replies from clergymen and authors carry little weight, as presumably none of these gentlemen ever saw a vivisection ; and those from educators, excepting what teachers of biology there might be among them, are scarcely better. Only the physicians can be presumed to know what they were talking about, and of these there were for vivisection without restriction, 220; for vivisection when restricted to useful ends and under careful supervision, 513; for vivisection restricted and supervised by law, if it be without pain, 186; for the total prohibition of vivisection, 207; obscure or evasive, 24; total, 1,150. It thus appears that there is a wholesome difference of opinion on this subject among mature physicians, but that more of them favor vivisection as reputable men of science would voluntarily con-