Cammell on Vivisection
Charles Richard Cammell
Perhaps the most disgusting and sordid part of all the vile business of Vivisection is the public attitude towards it. What is the public answer to our denunciations of the monstrous crimes of our laboratories ? It is always this: “You cannot stop Vivisection because it is the means by which so many cures are found for human illness.”
I am sick and tired of telling people that Vivisection is of no use to them, and of proving to them that it is of no use to them; that Claude Bernard himself, the High Priest of Experimental Science, died with the cry of despair on his lips, “Nos mains sont toujours vides !”; that the hands of the Vivisector will always be empty; that the noise of his vaunted discoveries dies down, and that nothing solid, nothing real, remains to him — nothing but the massed agony of millions of terrified and tortured creatures, mad with pain and fear. By such means as the Vivisectors no good thing can ever come to Humanity. By a mysterious and fundamental law, at once physical and metaphysical — a most Divine law — Good cannot be born of Evil. God is just. His mercy is but for the merciful. No nation that tolerates the practice of Vivisection deserves that any good should come to it; nor will any good come to it. Peace will not remain with it; it does not deserve Peace; it deserves War, and it will get War, with all its scientific horrors, which are prepared in those very laboratories where the faithful dumb friends of man are so ruthlessly repaid by him for their fidelity.
Yes, I am weary of showing people how useless a thing Vivisection is to them. I do not care a straw if it is of use to them or not. A man or woman who is such a craven and such a wretch as to wish to save his life — to remain at best for a few more short years in this world of care — by permitting and encouraging the unspeakable abominations of Vivisection, is better dead. We do not want a world full of sickly brutes and cowards who have been kept alive by crimes. We want a world of decent people, who look life and death in the face, and who would scorn “to save thenselves a twinge of pain” ( as Robert Browning put it ) by causing incalculable suffering to defenceless creatures. What sort of people is the world made up of. if this is the one reason why Vivisection is tolerated; that it serves to keep cravens alive, when Nature would have them dead ?
In the Holy Crusade against Vivisection not so much would I put before people the utter uselessness of that monstrous practice; rather would I put them to shame by reason of their contemptable and cruel cowardice in for one moment entertaining the idea of wishing to save their own mortal bodies by countenancing such immoralities as those committed in the name of Experimental Science. I am loth to believe that the world is utterly shameless. I hesitate to believe that the majority of people in this or any other country, are as callous of cruelty, or as cowardly as they appear to be from the attitude they adopt towards Vivisection. Either would I deem that they are still ignorant of the depth of its horrors; rather would I believe that if they once really knew of what is going on under the false pretence of the public welfare, they would repudiate it — would denounce and renounce Vivisection for ever. We must arouse their sense of shame. We want a world of decent people, not a world of cravens who look to the sadist in the Laboratory to keep their bodies alive by any means, however exacrable, when the time has come for their souls to move onward.
Early 20th Century.