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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/361

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THE ETHICS OF VIVISECTION.

pose is knowledge. I see no other interpretation to put upon his words, and thus he places himself entirely at one with the rest of the anti-vivisectionists. These writers select out of foreign works all the horrible pictures they can find, and most unfairly ignore all those important experiments made by the aid of the most trifling operations under chloroform, and which have proved to be of inestimable benefit to animals and men. Lord Coleridge, although protesting against the charge of antagonism to science, unwittingly shows how profoundly he misunderstands the methods of scientific men, and consequently falls into the same error as his more ignorant friends. However little sympathy he may have with science, one would have thought that Whewell, Mill, Jevons, and others had clearly demonstrated that the methods of science can only be reached by accurate observation and well-devised experiment. I am afraid, therefore, that scientists will scarcely consider that man to be among their allies who believes their method is "to perform a hundred thousand experiments in the hope that some new fact may turn up." But this is only an example of the misleading nature of the statements and expressions of the anti-vivisectionists. This very term implies that their opponents are vivisectionists; much in the same way as, if a certain sect of vegetarians were to style themselves anti-sheep killers, all the rest of the world would be sheep-killers, and this opprobrious word would be employed toward any lady who was seen eating a mutton-chop. The two cases are exactly analogous, for among the thousands of medical and scientific men who see the advantages of making experiments on animals there are scarcely twenty who would be willing to undertake operations of so disagreeable a nature. Just as the sheep-killers are those only who would protest against any laws being made to prevent them eating animal food, so in like manner the "vivisectionists" are those who maintain that legislation should not prevent a few physiologists performing the experiments which they judge necessary. What is asked by the vivisectionists is, that the whole power of the law should not be brought to bear upon a handful of accomplished men who are engaged in the service of science and humanity. They do not object to laws being made to prohibit incompetent persons from experimenting.

The difference between a dozen anti-vivisectionists and a dozen scientific men can not possibly turn upon a moral question such as dislike of cruelty; and, therefore, if the one can look upon an animal injured and bleeding with serenity and the other not, it would be owing, as the former party assert, to usage or habit. Let this be admitted, the converse is also true, and it may be safely conjectured that much of the opposition to experimentation is due to the unpleasant picture which the subject presents to the imagination. The difference between sensitiveness and compassion, or active benevolence, was long ago pointed out by Coleridge; but for this difference, Howard would be justly called the most hard-hearted of men. A lady shrinks with