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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/705

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VIVISECTION.

would collapse, leaving nothing but a few isolated facts of human experience.

As far as we can see, what has been will be. The physiology of the future, if not hampered by any ignorant restraint, will, out of the death of animals, continue to press further and further into the mystery of—and year by year bring the physician, and not the physician only, but every one, power to prolong, to strengthen, and to purify—the life of man. By no other way can man hope to gain this end. He is thereby justified for the death he causes and the pain he gives.

We have yet to consider this question in its other aspect; we have to examine not only the effects of vivisection as far as animals are concerned, but also its influence on man himself. Little, however, need be said. Necessary vivisection, we have shown, cannot be called cruel. The question of the necessity of any particular case can only be judged by the investigator himself. I content myself with asserting that any attempt to draw up, for the guidance of others, a general definition of necessary and unnecessary vivisection, must prove utterly futile. Only he who is making an inquiry knows his own needs. If he experiments recklessly and needlessly, he becomes cruel, and, being cruel, will thereby be the worse. But, if he experiments carefully and needfully, never causing pain where it could be avoided, never sacrificing a life without having in view some object, to attain which there seemed no other way, remembering that whoever "tortures" either dead or living nature carelessly will get no true response, there is no reason why his moral nature should suffer even ever so little tarnish. On the contrary, experience teaches us that earnest physiologists, who have killed animals in the single hope of gaining new truths or of making old ones plain, have grown more gentle and more careful the longer they worked and the more experiments they made.

The effects of vivisection on the moral nature of man may fairly be tested by experience. There are in this country several physiologists—myself among the number—who have for several years performed experiments on living animals. We have done repeatedly the things which a distinguished lady has seen fit to say "are best spoken of as nameless." I can confidently appeal to all who know us, whether they have seen any deterioration in our moral nature, as the result of our work; whether we are to-day less careful of giving pain than we were when we began to experiment; whether they can trace in us any lessening of that sympathy with dumb animals, which all men should feel even in the very thickest of the struggle for existence.—Macmillan's Magazine.