The “Long and Ghastly Kitchen” of Animal Testing

With the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) people began extrapolating upon the idea of evolutionary kinship. They went beyond the biological sense to see a moral sense, recognized through simple logical deduction. There is biological continuum and so too a moral continuum. Half a century on it was still part of intellectual debate. J. Howard Moore, at the turn of the 20th century, explored the theme in The Universal Kinship (1906), a book on animals that suffered crimes of exploitation despite an ethical relationship:

Man has not a spark of so-called “divinity” about him. In important respects he is the most highly evolved of animals; but in origin, disposition, and form he is no more “divine” than the dog who laps his sores… Man is simply one portion of the immense enterprise. He is as veritably an animal as the insect that drinks its fill from his veins, the ox he goads, or the wild-fox that flees before his bellowings. Man is not a god, nor in any imminent danger of becoming one. He is not a celestial star-babe dropped down among mundane matters for a time and endowed with wing possibilities and the anatomy of a deity… Man was not made in the image of the hypothetical creator of heaven and earth, but in the image of the ape. Man is not a fallen god, but a promoted reptile. The beings around him are not conveniences but cousins…[1]J. Howard Moore, The Universal Kinship (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1906), 4, 100-101, 107.

In 1910, novelist Thomas Hardy acknowledges much the same thing in a letter to the Humanitarian League:

Few people seem to perceive fully as yet that the most far-reaching consequence of the establishment of the common origin of all species is ethical; that it logically involved a readjustment of altruistic morals by enlarging, as a necessity of rightness, the application of what has been called ‘The Golden Rule’ from the area of mere mankind to that of the whole animal kingdom. Possibly Darwin himself did not quite perceive it.[2]Quoted in F. E. Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy 1840-1928 (Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2007), 359; and The Times, May 3, 1910.

Evolution, for thinkers speculating on its moral impact, proved a kinship with other beings that therefore came with kinship obligations. “Evolution took that conceit out of us,” writes George Bernard Shaw, that belief of ourselves at the peak of creation, it

provides the humanitarian with a scientific basis, because it establishes the fundamental equality of all living things. It makes the killing of an animal murder in exactly the same sense as the killing of a man is murder.[3]Jon Wynne-Tyson Ed., The Extended Circle: A Commonplace Book of Animal Rights (New York: Paragon House, 1989), 329.

No humane person should go torturing them at will, not the least scientists that understand evolution, not the least in science labs. The problem was that this new apprehension of a universal kinship seemed not to have much of an impact on behavior towards nonhuman animals.

Torture Trumps Evolutionary Kinship

Before Darwin’s time, during the Enlightenment, scientists were slicing up animals alive and torturing them to death. They acted with impunity, though not without the ire of critics. Samuel Johnson proclaim them to to be a “race of wretches, whose lives are only carried by varieties of cruelty; whose favourite amusement is to nail dogs to tables and open them alive.”[4]Samuel Johnson, Idler, No. 17 (August 1758). A hundred years and many thousands of tortured dogs later, they were still doing it. The most notorious exponents, men of the most chilling callousness and disregard, were Francois Magendie (1783– 1855), of an earlier era, and his pupil Claude Bernard (1813–1878).

Having worked with Bernard, George Hoggan (1837–1891), a physician who would go on to become an anti-vivisectionist, described what he saw:

In that laboratory we sacrificed daily from one to three dogs, besides rabbits and other animals, and after four months’ experience, I am of opinion not one of these experiments was justified or necessary. The idea of the good of humanity was simply out of the question, and would have been laughed at, the great aim being to keep up with, or get ahead of one’s contemporaries in science, even at the price of an incalculable amount of torture needlessly and iniquitously inflicted on the poor animals…. Were the feelings of experimental physiologists not blunted, they could not long continue the practice of vivisection. They are always ready to repudiate any implied want of tender feeling, but I must say they seldom show much pity; on the contrary, in practice they frequently show the reverse. Hundreds of times I have seen when an animal writhed in pain, and thereby deranged the tissues, during a deliberate dissection; instead of being soothed, it would receive a slap and an angry order to be quiet and behave itself. At other times, when an animal had endured great pain for hours without struggling or giving more than an occasional low whine, instead of letting the poor mangled wretch loose to crawl painfully about the place in reserve for another day’s torture.[5]Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 319-320.

Hoggan also gave evidence at a royal commission into vivisection on the practices of one of Bernard’s pupils, Paul Bert, another physician immune to extreme suffering:

a dog was first rendered helpless and incapable of any movement, even of breathing, which function was performed by a machine blowing through a hole in its windpipe. All this time, however, ‘its intelligence its sensitiveness, and its will remained intact ; a condition accompanied by the most atrocious sufferings that the imagination of man can conceive’ vide Claude Bernard in Revue des Deux Mondes, 1 September, 1864, pp. 173, 182, 183, etc.) In this condition the side of the face, the side of the neck, the side of the fore-leg, the interior of the belly and the hip, were dissected out in order to lay bear respectively the sciatic, the splanchnics, the median, the pneumo-gastric and sympathetic, and the infra-orbital nerves. These were excited by electricity for ten consecutive hours, during which time the animal must have suffered unutterable torment unrelieved even by a cry. The crowning discovery made, to which the experimenter calls special attention, being, that at times, when thus tortured, it urinated! The inquisitors then left for their homes, leaving the tortured victim alone with the clanking engine working upon it, till death came in the silence of the night, and set the sufferer free.[6]Richard Ryder, Victims of Science: The Use of Animals in Research (London: National Anti-Vivisection Society Limited, 1983), 124.

In Darwin’s time, even though evolution provide a dimension of ethical kinship based on science and not, for example, bizarre notions of reincarnation, scientists themselves ignored it and still cut animals up alive. The result was a clash between two opposing camps, those supporting universal kinship and those seeking scientific exploitation.

Darwin himself was sympathetic to nonhuman animals, acknowledging in the The Descent of Man (1871) that like humans they “feel pleasure and pain, happiness and misery” and those with social instincts have some measure of “a moral sense or conscience.”[7]Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (London: Penguin Classics, 2004), 89, 121. He protected animals from cruelty wherever he could, famously so in 1853 against a man who was cruel to carthorses. He inveighed against the “uncivilized” and cruel practice of catching animals in steel traps and the inhumane callousness of game-keepers.[8]Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 278-279. He wrote of the horrors of vivisection, of how

everyone has heard of the dog suffering under vivisection who licked the hand of the operator; this man, unless he had a heart of stone, must have felt remorse to the last hour of his life.[9]Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (London: Penguin Classics, 2004), 90.

Yet in 1871, he expresses support of vivisection if it advances science and is not conducted out of mere curiosity, even if the subject makes him “sick with horror.”[10]Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 279. While he is referring to the horror of live tortures, let us not forget that Darwin conducted experiments on pigeons some years earlier that involved killing them.

Darwin was strongly opposed to legislative control over animal experiments, arguing before the Royal Commission on Vivisection in 1875 that “I am fully convinced that physiology can progress only by the aid of experiments on living animals”[11]Report of the Royal Commission on the practice of subjecting live animals to experiments for scientific purposes; with the minutes of evidence and appendix (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office) 233-234,
http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=1&itemID=F1275&viewtype=image.
This was the view expressed on a number of occasions, using the same language, such as in a letter to The Times in 1881 and in a letter to one of his daughters, reiterating that “It is certain that physiology can progress only by experiments on living animals.”[12]See Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 279, and “Mr. Darwin on Vivisection,” The Times ( 18 April, 1881), http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=1&itemID=F1352&viewtype=text. He was adamantly against experiments without anesthetic, which “deserves detestation and abhorrence,” but if an animal were anesthetized, in Darwin’s view, there should be no holding back:

It is unintelligible to me how anybody could object to such experiments. I can understand a Hindoo, who would object to an animal being slaughtered for food, disapproving of such experiments, but it is absolutely unintelligible to me on what ground the objection is made in this country.[13]Report of the Royal Commission on the practice of subjecting live animals to experiments for scientific purposes; with the minutes of evidence and appendix (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office) 233-234, http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=1&itemID=F1275&viewtype=image.

In a country, that is, where animals were commonly eaten and exploited. While happy with the agitation of a commission to improve humane practices, he felt nothing should stand in the way of British scientific progress. Even if Darwin believed animals had an emotional life similar to humans and insisted “A difference in degree, however great, does not justify us in placing man in a distinct kingdom,”[14]Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (London: Penguin Classics, 2004), 173. he nevertheless did place man in a distinct kingdom above reproach if torturing animals to death.

His attitude brought the ire of anti-vivisection campaigners such as the formidable Frances Power Cobbe. Darwin and Cobbe were amiably acquainted with each other for several years until the antagonism between them began in 1875. Cobbe’s summary of Darwin’s perceived fall into error is biting:

Mr. Darwin eventually became the centre of an adoring clique of vivisectors who (as his Biography shows) plied him incessantly with encouragement to uphold their practice, till the deplorable spectacle was exhibited of a man who would not allow a fly to bite a pony’s neck, standing forth before all Europe (in his celebrated letter to Prof. Holmgren of Sweden) as the advocate of Vivisection.[15]Frances Power Cobbe, Life of Frances Cobbe. As Told by Herself (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1904), 490-491. The letter referred to is the one to The Times, April 18, 1881, http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?itemID=F1352&viewtype=text&pageseq=1.

In letters in The Times, Darwin bought into the common cliche of regarding anti-vivisectionists as overly sentimental, writing in 1876 that women “from the tenderness of their hearts and from their profound ignorance are the vehement opponents of all such experiments.”[16]The Times, June 23, 1876. See Darwin Correspondence Project, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/entry-10546. Cobbe, however, was far from ignorant and many men of high repute were also strongly against cutting animals up alive.[17]Rod Preece, Brute Souls, Happy Beasts, and Evolution: the Historical Status of Animals (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005), 348. The antagonism between Darwin and Cobbe was played out in The Times in 1881, with some reserve, but in private it seems Darwin was more mocking, such as with a repartee about a male anti-vivisectionist’s manner of writing as being like that of “a female Frances Cobbe”—much to the delight of T. H. Huxley for its double-for-one insult.[18]San Francisco Call, Volume 95, Number 159 (7 May 1904), 8, http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SFC19040507.2.92.

Not all scientists agreed with Darwin’s position, certainly not the one that had also discovered evolution by natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace (1832–1913). He saw vivisection as immoral and wished it were completely abolished. However, for the most part ethical attitudes did not fundamentally change, and—as you might easily guess, for the same old reasons. There were money, careers, and status to be had, habits and established worldviews to uphold. Such a trifle as logical consistency was not going to stand in the way.

No-one is more strongly convinced than I am of the vastness of the gulf between civilised man and brutes… Our reverence for the nobility of mankind will not be lessened by the knowledge that Man is, in substance and in structure, one of the brutes.”[19]Thomas Henry Huxley, Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature (London: Williams & Norgate, 1863), 110, 112.

The gulf is not there and yet was presumed there just the same. Of such an attitude from Darwin’s pal Huxley—fixed in mainstream culture from Darwin’s era down to today—Peter Singer remarks, even “If the foundations of an ideological position are knocked out from under it, new foundations will be found,” or be left dangling.[20]Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Ecco, 2002), 211. When it comes to exploiting nonhuman animals, even torturing them to death, using this strategy makes the rational and scientific resemble those experts who have been using the same strategy for centuries—the apologists for religion. For Singer, and it is his perennial theme, “The moral attitudes of the past are too deeply embedded in our thought and our practices to be upset by a mere change in our knowledge of ourselves and of other animals.”[21]Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Ecco, 2002), 212. Thus in Darwin’s era, it became a case of meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

It was a reversal of what one might expect from inheritors of reasoning and thinking of the Enlightenment. The inconsistency and clinging to old ways provoked much bitterness against scientists and their cause. It was a point not lost on Annie Armitt in her Man and His Relatives of 1885:

It is, indeed, the scientists themselves who have proved to us the close relationship existing between man and animals, and their probable development from the same origin. It is they who instruct us to cast aside the old theology which makes men different from the beasts of the field, inasmuch as he was created in ‘the image of god,’ and yet would arbitrarily keep for their own convenience, the line of division which such a belief marked out between man and animals.[22]Quoted in Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 280.

Some scholars insisted, as Preece consistently points out, that “those who proclaimed deep-seated Christian principles were much more likely to oppose inflicting pain and suffering on the animals than those who were drawn to a scientific Darwinism,”[23]Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 324. This is perhaps a tad generous, since even among “materialists” strong opposition to vivisection swelled in numbers.

Ironically, some of the religious opponents even began casting scientists in the light of past evildoers of the Christian church. What better examples of torturers to compare with diabolical scientists than Christian inquisitors!

The Modern Rack

Indeed, the rack was a common metaphor many opponents of vivisection used, religious and secular, with all of its connotations of persecution, injustice, and torture. Opponents called vivisection torture because that is exactly what it was, especially in a time when anesthetics were rarely used or considered as an option. The “atrocities of the Savage Science,” in author Wilkie Collins words, were seen as perpetrated by criminals and barbarians, whose actions were like those of medieval inquisitors and their science laboratories the sites of “torture in its most naked form—the rack, not indeed ‘without any of its intellectual reasons,’ as was said of the lash, but torture as surely as the boot and the thumbscrew were torture.”[24]Henry Salt, Seventy Years Among Savages (London: George Unwin & Allen, 1921), 146. In Frances Cobbe’s book The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection, parallels are teased out between the persecutors of the Inquisition and those of “this modern Inquisition, a sworn Tormentor of the new Question Chamber,” including arguments over the “necessity” of torture.[25]Frances Power Cobbe, The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection (London: Swan Sonnenachein, 1889), 25, 162.

But there was more to identifying science as a new inquisition than just analogies. For a start, let’s not forget that the attitudes of many scientists have derived from embedded convictions with a long religious history. The modern rack is indeed a successor of the medieval one. Writing on the scientific revolution, Carolyn Merchant argues that

the very essence of the experimental method arose out of techniques of human torture transferred onto nature. Such techniques are fundamental to the human domination of nature.[26]Carolyn Merchant, “The Scientific Revolution and the Death of Nature,” Isis, 97, No. 3 (September 2006), 532.

Science represented a new kind of dominion, not unlike its religious predecessor and contemporary, and many Christians supported vivisection with utmost conviction. Henry Salt conceived of science and religion as bipartisan—old boss and new boss in cahoots, since religious leaders were for the most part content with the notion of using animals as living tools.

Evolutionary science has demonstrated beyond question the kinship of all sentient life ; yet the scientist, in order to rake together a moral defence for his doings, condescends to take shelter under the same plea as the theologian, and having got rid of the old anthropocentric fallacy in the realm of science avails himself of that fallacy in the realm of ethics : a progressive in one branch of thought, he is still a medievalist in another.

Thus scientist and sacerdotalist between them would perpetuate the experimental tortures of the laboratory.[27]Henry Salt, Seventy Years Among Savages (London: George Unwin & Allen, 1921), 126-127.

There was for Salt a “meeting of priest and professor over the torture-trough of the helpless animal” in a society that accorded laws and protections to scientists regardless of actual necessity for animal torture, burdening them if at all with only minor legal hindrances.

In this we see a classic example of crony rationalism. “The verdict of Science in our day is given as freely for the use of the modern rack, as the verdict of Religion in a former day for the use of the ancient rack,” wrote a reviewer of Cobbe’s The Modern Rack,

And the generality of people no more think of questioning the verdict of Science in the nineteenth century, than in the thirteenth they would have thought of questioning the verdict of Religion. Then, as now, what seemed at stake was the salvation of mankind, and a race saved from disease is as potent a conception as a soul saved from hell.[28]The Spectator, August 17, 1889), 21, http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/17th-august-1889/21/miss-cobbes-modern-rack.

Accorded prestige and warrant, scientists bolstered by grandiose self-conceptions and ambitions ensured the idea of medical progress trumped ethics. Like religious leaders before them, according special dispensation and importance, it was easy to rationalize away the piffling matter of torture.

La leçon de Claude Bernard

La leçon de Claude Bernard

One such leader in this vein was Bernard, an expert in sacrificing ethics to ambition—a man capable of such abhorrent but officially sanctioned sadism that he drove his wife out of house and home to form an anti-vivisection society. Bernard demonstrated that special trait of crony rationalism, where sharp clarity and perception is used to mount a reasonableness that actually hides dubious justifications and false dichotomies.

He had experimented on animals using the paralyzing drug curare, in full admission that its effects were “accompanied by the most atrocious sufferings which the imagination of man can conceive.”[29]Frances Power Cobbe, The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection (London: Swan Sonnenachein, 1889), 22. For Bernard, the science of life was, as he wrote and is often quoted, a “superb and dazzlingly lighted hall which may be reached only by passing through a long and ghastly kitchen,” and the vivisector in that kitchen has to be

a man possessed and absorbed by a scientific idea. He does not hear the animals’ cries of pain. He is blind to the blood that flows. He sees nothing but his idea, and organisms which conceal from him the secrets he is resolved to discover.[30]Frances Power Cobbe, The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection (London: Swan Sonnenachein, 1889), 44.

More chilling is the account from Elie de Cyon of the true vivisector being necessarily excited at cutting animals open.

He who shrinks from cutting into a living animal, he who approaches a vivisection as a disagreeable necessity, may very likely be able to repeat one or two vivisections, but will never become an artist in Vivisection. He who cannot follow some fine nerve-thread, … with joyful alertness for hours at a time … And the sensation of the physiologist, when from a gruesome wound, full of blood and mangled tissue, he draws forth some delicate nerve branch, and calls back to life a function which was already extinguished—this sensation has much in common with that which inspires a sculptor…[31]Frances Power Cobbe, The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection (London: Swan Sonnenachein, 1889), 45.

After reading treatises by the likes of Bernard and Cyon, Frances Cobbe observed that it was common for researchers at the time to have a total disregard animal suffering. When anesthetics were mentioned, the focus was on incapacitating an animal, not alleviating suffering.[32]Frances Power Cobbe, The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection (London: Swan Sonnenachein, 1889), 111-114. Animals would suffer anywhere from days to months without anesthetic. Knowledge and evidence pointed to pain being inflicted, yet any moral imperative was swept aside with a kind of homage to blind progress.

Decades after Darwin, despite wider acceptance of evolution, scientists were still torturing animals to death. And critics were still protesting it. Shaw held particular enmity towards the “vivisector-scoundrel” and Hardy, who would later lament a “human race being still practically barbarian,”[33]The Times, March 5, 1927. referred to vivisection in a response to an inquiry in 1909, emphasizing that

The discovery of the law of evolution, which revealed that all organic creatures are of one family, shifted the centre of altruism from humanity to the whole conscious world collectively. Therefore the practice of vivisection which might have been defended while the belief ruled that men and animals are essentially different, has been left by that discovery without any logical argument in its favour…. and stands precisely in the same category as would stand its practice on men themselves.[34]Quoted in F. E. Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy 1840-1928 (Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2007), 357.

Without a scriptural backing that so eases the conscience, as it does for many of the religious, how then do secularists advocating evolution maintain apathy toward modern nonhuman exploitations and tortures? It is as if the effects of evolution have not sunken in. Even if we take Darwin’s idea of “difference in degree” and think of it in contrived hierarchical terms, you would still arrive at a moral “difference in degree” rather a complete moral cut-off point for any creature “below” humans. “If Darwinism had the moral impact and the moral implications that are customarily claimed for it,” writes Rod Preece, “one would be entitled to expect that in practical ethical matters the Darwinians would be more considerate of animal interests than those who clung to traditional Christianity.” The reality was quite different:

From a moral perspective Darwinism added nothing that had not been long proclaimed. From a practical perspective at least the more prominent of the Darwinians were far less sympathetic to animals in experimentation than some prominent Christians.[35]Rod Preece, “Christianity, Darwinism, and the Great Vivisection Debate,” Journal of the History of Ideas, 64: 3 (July 2003), 399-419.

Expectations were not fulfilled, even though a number of prominent intellectuals and artists saw that by logical extension a moral imperative was obvious. Few scientists seemed to pay it much heed. As Preece argues, the idea of a “post-Darwinian metamorphosis” often touted by writers on animal advocacy simply did happen.[36]Rod Preece, Brute Souls, Happy Beasts, and Evolution: the Historical Status of Animals (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005), 353. The animal ethics of any one person were apparently the same with or without the facts of evolution. From then to this day, there have been men in science conducting experiments on animals without a care for them. It was an attitude that has been passed down from teacher to student for generations.

The Establishment Welcomes Vivisection

Some scientists refused to conform and join the ranks of vivisection proponents. As noted before, Wallace was among those who decried torture for “damnable detestable curiosity”—as Darwin put it. That was one of the common complaints of the time: “horrible experiments to determine the most trivial facts recorded in the publications of scientific societies month by month, evidently carried on for the interest of the ‘research’ and the reputation it gives.”[37]Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 282. The view of vivisectors was that they were men without principles, out for “honors and gain.” A classic quote from a professor who had taught physiology, William James, reprinted in Albert Leffingwell’s An Ethical Problem, summarizes this view:

The medical and scientific men, who time and time again have raised their voices in opposition to all legal projects of regulation, know as well as anyone else does the unspeakable possibilities of callousness, wantonness, and meanness of human nature, and their unanimity is the best example I know of the power of club opinion to quell independence of mind. No well-organized sect or corporation of men can ever be trusted to be truthful or moral when under fire from the outside. In this case, the watchword is to deny every alleged fact stoutly ; to concede no point of principle, and to stand firmly on the right of the individual experimenter. His being ‘ scientific ’ must, in the eye of the law, be a sufficient guarantee that he can do no wrong.[38]Albert Leffingwell, An Ethical Problem Or, Sidelights upon Scientific Experimentation on Man and Animals (London: G. Bell & Sons, 1914), 200.

But in society at large, vivisection was science and science was respectable and part of the establishment. Vivisection had become central to medical science and was truly institutionalized by the end of the nineteenth century, as “a legitimizing factor for the professional and social ambitions of certain scientists.”[39]Nicolaas A. Rupke, ed., Vivisection in Historical Perspective (London: Routledge, 1990), 6. More than that, it “represented the priorities and aspirations of science; and scientists defended the practice, even if they had no direct contact with it.”[40]Nicolaas A. Rupke, ed., Vivisection in Historical Perspective (London: Routledge, 1990), 8. One need only look at the painting by the Tilt brothers called Baroness Burdett-Coutts’ Garden Party at Holly Lodge, Highgate, for the International Medical Congress, 1881, for an idea of the formidably social elites anti-vivisectionists were up against and what little chance they would have of success.

Baroness Burdett-Coutts' Garden Party at Holly Lodge

Two key parallels to note of that age and of what we still see today. First, people practicing science can be incredibly self-serving and will not be hampered by moral concerns, and second, they have science at the center of their worldview and apart from being conservative and preservative of their careers will not yield any ground to opposition. “Today, as much as a century ago,” writes Nicolaas Rupke in Vivisection in Historical Perspective, “scientific curiosity and professional ambition easily over-ride concern for animal welfare, if legal enforcement of the latter is not assured.”[41]Nicolaas A. Rupke, ed., Vivisection in Historical Perspective (London: Routledge, 1990), 8. Those who have worked in the animal testing industry will know the following from Richard Ryder is true of the animal tester, as true today as it was a century ago:

He does not dare question convention; to be successful he must conform. His natural feelings of compassion for the laboratory animals and also any feelings of squeamishness are quickly suppressed. After a few months or years, he can no longer feel them, he is hardened, habituated, de-sensitised and unlikely to repent.[42]Richard Ryder, Victims of Science: The Use of Animals in Research (National Anti-Vivisection Society Limited, 1983), 7.

Just as Bernard passed onto his students the necessity to dismiss moral concern and consistency, the mentality of animals as throwaway living tools is passed on today. The honest scientists, with all their rational faculties intact, will confirm this—though perhaps not as readily today as scientists of yesteryear. Here is an unguarded comment from one of them in the 70s, as quoted by Peter Singer: “the inclusion of animals in our ethical system is philosophically meaningless and operationally impossible.”[43]Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Ecco, 2002), 75. Others at the time also insisted that animals were morally irrelevant—in other words, they voiced opinions no different to Bernard despite being a century apart and in a time of greater advances in ethics and knowledge of animal suffering. Asks Singer,

How can people who are not sadists spend their working days driving monkeys into lifelong depression, heating dogs to death, or turning cats into drug addicts? How can they then remove their white coats, wash their hands, and go home to dinner with their families? How can tax payers allow their money to be used to support these experiments?[44]Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Ecco, 2002), 69.

How, indeed, can they face children who would be appalled if they only knew. Singer blames speciesism, but also recognizes that it goes beyond that to indoctrination and a system of interlocking rationalizations that require to you to conform to get ahead. Those who cannot stomach the killing and torture usually opt out—either before careers are established or leave following an epiphany after years of vivisecting. You are thus left with only those who can stomach it, who do not have the moral fortitude or ethical awareness of others, and who are happy to be rewarded on the back of animal suffering.

Scientists like this do not see themselves as sinister, and perhaps happily inhabit the world of unthinking power and delusion of the kind Steven Pinker fell for, with the “psychologically reassuring principle that it was standard practice.” In The Better Angles of Our Nature, Pinker tells us the worst thing he has even done in his life—up to the point of writing—which was torture a mouse to death, unwittingly, for over twelve hours.[45]Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking Adult, 2011), 455. It concerned an experiment where “Even if the procedure had gone perfectly, the rat would have spent twelve hours in constant anxiety.” Pinker, as a temporary assistant at the time, did not applied the rational skepticism for which he is known now, and nor did others in that environment—the kind Pinker refers to who “was known to show his anger by picking up the nearest unused rat and throwing it against a wall.” That was then, Pinker says, and times have change in animal testing since his youthful experience:

Any scientist will also confirm that attitudes among scientists themselves have changed. Recent surveys have shown that animal researchers, virtually without exception, believe that laboratory animals feel pain. Today a scientist who was indifferent to the welfare of laboratory animals would be treated by his or her peers with contempt.[46]Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking Adult, 2011), 456.

A sweeping statement and not the only one in the section on declining violence against animals in The Better Angles of Our Nature. Naturally he seeks to bolster with his book’s central thesis, but you can take it with a grain of cruelty-free salt.

Even if it might be tougher to abuse and neglect, it goes on regardless. Labs are moved to countries with lax laws, such as China, well out of the way of prying eyes. Since Pinker’s book was published numerous investigations have shown more useless experiments and more abuses in the animal testing laboratories of academia and elsewhere.[47]For example, http://www.hlntv.com/video/2014/10/03/outrage-over-planned-monkey-experiments; and http://licensedtokill.buav.org/ Perhaps those with the contempt Pinker speaks of were absent on the days abuses occurred or perhaps there are not as many concerned scientists as Pinker believes there to be. Which do you think?

If nothing else today, read this New York Times report from Jan. 20, 2015: U.S. Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit: Animal Welfare at Risk in Experiments for Meat Industry

Notes   [ + ]

1. J. Howard Moore, The Universal Kinship (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1906), 4, 100-101, 107.
2. Quoted in F. E. Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy 1840-1928 (Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2007), 359; and The Times, May 3, 1910.
3. Jon Wynne-Tyson Ed., The Extended Circle: A Commonplace Book of Animal Rights (New York: Paragon House, 1989), 329.
4. Samuel Johnson, Idler, No. 17 (August 1758).
5. Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 319-320.
6. Richard Ryder, Victims of Science: The Use of Animals in Research (London: National Anti-Vivisection Society Limited, 1983), 124.
7. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (London: Penguin Classics, 2004), 89, 121.
8. Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 278-279.
9. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (London: Penguin Classics, 2004), 90.
10. Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 279.
11. Report of the Royal Commission on the practice of subjecting live animals to experiments for scientific purposes; with the minutes of evidence and appendix (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office) 233-234,
http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=1&itemID=F1275&viewtype=image.
12. See Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 279, and “Mr. Darwin on Vivisection,” The Times ( 18 April, 1881), http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=1&itemID=F1352&viewtype=text.
13. Report of the Royal Commission on the practice of subjecting live animals to experiments for scientific purposes; with the minutes of evidence and appendix (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office) 233-234, http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=1&itemID=F1275&viewtype=image.
14. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (London: Penguin Classics, 2004), 173.
15. Frances Power Cobbe, Life of Frances Cobbe. As Told by Herself (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1904), 490-491. The letter referred to is the one to The Times, April 18, 1881, http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?itemID=F1352&viewtype=text&pageseq=1.
16. The Times, June 23, 1876. See Darwin Correspondence Project, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/entry-10546.
17. Rod Preece, Brute Souls, Happy Beasts, and Evolution: the Historical Status of Animals (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005), 348.
18. San Francisco Call, Volume 95, Number 159 (7 May 1904), 8, http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SFC19040507.2.92.
19. Thomas Henry Huxley, Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature (London: Williams & Norgate, 1863), 110, 112.
20. Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Ecco, 2002), 211.
21. Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Ecco, 2002), 212.
22. Quoted in Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 280.
23. Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 324.
24. Henry Salt, Seventy Years Among Savages (London: George Unwin & Allen, 1921), 146.
25. Frances Power Cobbe, The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection (London: Swan Sonnenachein, 1889), 25, 162.
26. Carolyn Merchant, “The Scientific Revolution and the Death of Nature,” Isis, 97, No. 3 (September 2006), 532.
27. Henry Salt, Seventy Years Among Savages (London: George Unwin & Allen, 1921), 126-127.
28. The Spectator, August 17, 1889), 21, http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/17th-august-1889/21/miss-cobbes-modern-rack.
29. Frances Power Cobbe, The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection (London: Swan Sonnenachein, 1889), 22.
30. Frances Power Cobbe, The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection (London: Swan Sonnenachein, 1889), 44.
31. Frances Power Cobbe, The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection (London: Swan Sonnenachein, 1889), 45.
32. Frances Power Cobbe, The Modern Rack: Papers on Vivisection (London: Swan Sonnenachein, 1889), 111-114.
33. The Times, March 5, 1927.
34. Quoted in F. E. Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy 1840-1928 (Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2007), 357.
35. Rod Preece, “Christianity, Darwinism, and the Great Vivisection Debate,” Journal of the History of Ideas, 64: 3 (July 2003), 399-419.
36. Rod Preece, Brute Souls, Happy Beasts, and Evolution: the Historical Status of Animals (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005), 353.
37. Rod Preece, Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 282.
38. Albert Leffingwell, An Ethical Problem Or, Sidelights upon Scientific Experimentation on Man and Animals (London: G. Bell & Sons, 1914), 200.
39. Nicolaas A. Rupke, ed., Vivisection in Historical Perspective (London: Routledge, 1990), 6.
40. Nicolaas A. Rupke, ed., Vivisection in Historical Perspective (London: Routledge, 1990), 8.
41. Nicolaas A. Rupke, ed., Vivisection in Historical Perspective (London: Routledge, 1990), 8.
42. Richard Ryder, Victims of Science: The Use of Animals in Research (National Anti-Vivisection Society Limited, 1983), 7.
43. Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Ecco, 2002), 75.
44. Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Ecco, 2002), 69.
45. Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking Adult, 2011), 455.
46. Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking Adult, 2011), 456.
47. For example, http://www.hlntv.com/video/2014/10/03/outrage-over-planned-monkey-experiments; and http://licensedtokill.buav.org/

Vegetarian/Vegan Starter PDFs

starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter
starter