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Legislation Regarding Vivisection

Nature volume 13, pages 342343 | Download Citation



IN our observations last week upon the Report of the Vivisection Commission, we remarked that some might be inclined to think that in the legislative measures recommended Science has made too great concessions to popular feeling, and a more careful perusal of this bulky volume tends to convince us of the correctness of this opinion. One of the most astonishing things referred to in the whole report is the small number of persons for whose restraint the new law is to be passed. Judging from some of the statements made by opponents of vivisection, one would think the vivisectors in this country must be counted by hundreds; but the Commissioners inform us that, on the contrary, not more than fifteen to twenty at the utmost are systematically engaged in the performance of experiments on living animals. They add, however, that experiments are, there is little doubt, occasionally performed by private persons, of whose number they can form no accurate computation. As there might be many such, and their experiments taken collectively might give good grounds for the belief that vivisection is extensively carried on in this country, we have tried to gain some information on this point from the statements of various witnesses. The Society for the Protection of Animals liable to Vivisection has published a pamphlet containing such extracts from the Report of the Commission as tend to justify the position taken up by the Society, leaving the advocates of vivisection, as it tells us in a prefatory note, to give publicity to such parts of the evidence as favour their views. We have selected the witnesses quoted by this Society as giving evidence upon the extension and abuses of vivisection, in order that we might not run the risk of being misled by partial statements and of under-estimating the extent to which the practice prevails in this country.

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