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Fallacies about Animal Research (vivisection)

by Dr. Charles Bell Taylor, M.D.

Fellow Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, Fellow of the Medical Society, London, and late President Paris Medical Society.

Note: vivisection = experiments on live animals & humans. These usually involve making "animal models" of disease, which do not naturally have the real disease, but which have artificially created symptoms that are similar to those of the disease.

Advances in Human Medicine:

"We are assured that great discoveries have been made by vivisectors [animal researchers], but this statement is not in accordance with facts ...

It is not true that Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood by vivisection. Harvey's discovery was entirely due to his observation of the fact that the valves of the veins in the dead human body permitted the blood to flow only in one direction; vivisection had nothing to do with it. It is not true that Hunter was led to the adoption of of his treatment for aneurism by experiments on animals. Hunter was led to the adoption of his treatment solely by observation of the fact that the artery in close vicinity to the aneurism was frequently too diseased to bear a ligature, hence he thought it wise to place it further off. Vivisection had nothing whatsoever to do with it...

There is not a word of truth in the oft-repeated assertion that Galvani discovered the properties of electricity by vivisection [that is, research on live animals]. Galvani's discovery was due to accident and careful observation of the effects of electricity on a dead frog; vivisection had nothing to do with it...

It is not true that Sir James Simpson discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform by experiments on dogs: Simpson experimented upon himself. Chloroform is so fatal to dogs that if he had tried it first on these animals he would never have tried it on man.

It is not true that Lister was led to the adoption of his antiseptic treatment of wounds by vivisection. Antiseptics were used in the treatment of wounds long before his time, and his experiments were made upon the wounds, bruises and putrefying sores of patients in the hospitals of Edinburgh, Glasgow and London.

It is not true that the great advances in medicine and surgery are due to experiments on animals; they are due to the discovery of anaesthetics and to the use of antiseptics; vivisection had nothing whatever to do with it.

It is not true that we owe our knowledge of drugs to experiments on animals. The effect of drugs upon animals is so entirely different from their effect upon man that no safe conclusions can be drawn from such investigations.

It is not true that Von Graefe discovered a cure for glaucoma by vivisection; his discovery was entirely the result of clinical observation of hospital patients. Vivisection had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

And it is not true, notwithstanding assertions to the contrary, that Ferrier has succeeded in localising the functions of the brain by experiments on monkeys. Ferrier himself says: "Experiments on animals, even on apes, often lead to conclusions seriously at variance with the well-established facts of clinical and pathological observation." ...

It is not true that Pasteur has discovered a cure for rabies (hydrophobia). Pasteur does not cure rabies; as the late Professor Peter has remarked, "he gives it", and it is a fact that the deaths from rabies have increased both in France and in England ever since he adopted his supremely ridiculous system of inoculating people with it.

It is not true that Pasteur has discovered a cure for anthrax. Pasteur does not cure anthrax, he gives it, and his system has been condemned by the English, the German, and the Hungarian Scientific Commissions who have sat to consider it, while the loss to France is counted by millions ever since his system was adopted in that country.

It is not true that Koch has discovered a cure for tuberculosis (consumption); on the contrary his inoculations have led to death from initial fever, and the infection of the whole system of patients who merely suffered from localised disease...

We are assured that it is impossible for science to advance unless experiments are made upon animals, but this statement is not true."

Dr. Charles Bell Taylor, M.D., 1895.


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The above article is from the book, "1000 Doctors (& many more) Against Vivisection", (Ed. Hans Ruesch), CIVIS, Switzerland, 1989. 288 pages.

Note - You can download this entire book for free right here: "1000 Doctors (& many more) Against Vivisection" (download the full book in PDF for free)

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Recommended Organisations:

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