|1000 DOCTORS (AND MANY MORE) AGAINST VIVISECTION
Edited by Hans Ruesch
First published 1989, Hans Ruesch Foundation
(PART 1 OF 4)
A large number of people helped create this testimonial; first of all, a Swiss dentist, the late Ludwig Fliegel from Zurich, who in the 1930s published in German many of the quotations that appear in this book and that he had gathered to a good extent from the journals of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, a society which has long since abandoned its erstwhile abolitionist stance no less than the prestigious RSCPA. The lists of German, Austrian and Hungarian doctors who signed their opposition to vivisection in the years between 1904 and 1908 are a facsimile reprint from Fliegel's book. It was published in Switzerland, but soon disappeared from view. Fliegel died mysteriously soon afterward, and his book remained unobtainable until our publishing house resurrected it in 1986. Most of its German quotations, which we now publish in the present collection, were translated into English by Dennis Stuart, whom we wish to thank for his excellent and selfless efforts.
The fact that not a single British publisher or A V society, many of whom dispose of conspicuous financial assets, ever undertook to publish such a book as this, and steadfastly ignored all the other works that evidence the scientific invalidity of vivisection, at the time when Britain's new Animals Act of 1986 - also known as "The Vivisectors' Charter" - was being pushed through Parliament, is indicative of how thoroughly the British protectionist societies have been taken over by the opposing interests after the death in 1932 of Walter Hadwen, M.D., BUAV’s last eminently competent and anti-vivisectionist President. (See biography.)
The word vivisection is being used throughout this work as a synonym of "animal experimentation".
Encyclopedia Americana (1974): "Vivisection - the term is now being used to apply to all experiments on living animals, whether or not cutting is done."
The large Merriam-Webster (1963): "Vivisection - Broadly, any form of animal experimentation, especially if considered to cause distress to the subject."
The Historical Aspect
The Medical Aspect
The Intimidatory Aspect
The Sociological Aspect
The Religious Aspect
The Psychopathic Aspect
The Mercenary Aspect
A CHRONOLOGY OF PROFESSIONAL VERDICTS
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN BRITAIN
“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creatures through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.” - HENRY BESTON - The Outermost House
It often happens that the universal belief of one age, a belief from which no one was free or could be free without an extraordinary effort of genius or courage, becomes to a subsequent age, so palpable an absurdity that the only difficulty is to imagine how such an idea could ever have appeared credible. - John Stuart Mill
By Hans Ruesch
About the compulsion of scientists to perpetuate errors.
How can one explain that for well over a century and a half a great many respected citizens, including reputable scientists and physicians, physiologists and medical researchers have irrefutably demonstrated the uselessness of animal experimentation as a means of acquiring medical knowledge, and the damage ensuing to human health from this misconception, and yet the majority of "people who count" in politics, public health, education, media, even in animal welfare, and consequently also public opinion, which is influenced by all these institutions, continue to cling to the belief that animal experiments can't be renounced? There is a variety of reasons for this phenomenon, which shall be examined from various viewpoints.
The Historical Aspect
History knows many cases where there was a difference between veritable or normal science, (systematic knowledge, logically interconnected facts, establishment of verifiable general laws), and spurious science believed to be true simply because it was endorsed by the powers-that-be, including the Church and the scientists of the time, and that we shall define as "official" science. Official science usually precedes normal science, sometimes by centuries. For example:
In the Second Century A.D., the Greco-Egyptian astronomer, geographer and mathematician, Claudius Ptolemaeus, had developed a theory about the universe that according to the knowledge of his epoch was considered masterly and irrefutable, conditioning the way of thinking of all mankind up to the Middle Ages, although it was wrong. It was wrong because it was built on Aristotle's misconception that the Earth is immobile, and the center of the universe.
Starting out from this false premise, Ptolemaeus had managed to present a brilliant explanation for the astral movements in the sky that even enabled the sailors to navigate.
His theory had the blessing of the Church because thanks to it she could present herself as the spiritual head and religious center of the universe, and not just of an infinitesimal fraction of it, such as the Earth; so when in the 16th Century another astronomer and physicist, Galileo Galilei, came to upset the accepted theory, true science collided with official science in a resounding clash, which Galilei could only lose, at first. He was arrested, his life was threatened, some have it that he was even tortured, at any rate he was forced to recant.
People who believe that today such a thing could happen only in Soviet Russia are grievously mistaken; it happens in our so-called free democracies all the time, in various fields, even if the punishment for dissidence is not the death penalty, but economic or other sanctions, which may equally threaten a dissident's existence.
Galilei's theory was not only opposed by the Church, but also by his peers, the "natural philosophers", as the scientists were called at the time. Like many of today's scientists, being revered and admired as sort of demigods by the low as well as the mighty, they would rather have died than admit they had been wrong all along and propagated a mistake. Exactly this happens with many of them today in the realm of animal experimentation. Human nature doesn't change. That is why new notions are only accepted with extreme slowness and reluctance, as one must usually wait not only for all the teachers to die, but also for their pupils to die.
Another case in point was Andreas Vesalius, a Belgian who taught anatomy in Padua, Italy. It was around the same time as Galilei that Vesalius, by dissecting cadavers of the hanged (a practice that had been strictly forbidden until then, ever since antiquity), revealed that many of Galen's descriptions of the human anatomy were wrong, because Galen had based them on the dissections of animals. Again science clashed with official science when Vesalius revealed the truth - he was accused of "heresy and folly," and had to flee, fearing for his life. For example, Galen had described the human hipbone as being flared, like that of the ox, and when Vesalius corrected him, his peers, the university teachers, unwilling to admit that they had perpetuated a millenarian error, explained that since Galen's day the human hipbone must have changed shape because of the habit of wearing pants instead of the toga! Although the truth was evident for all to see, the Galenic errors survived for another 200 years in the seats of learning, proving once more that no ignorance is so stubborn as the ignorance of the learned.
This is just one reason why it is so difficult to get the men in charge of education and the health system to admit that using animals as a parameter for learning something about human biology may well be another of the great blunders of official science. (It is in regards to the most intriguing knowledge of all, the origin of life and the universe, that humans are dominated by one or the other of two misconceptions, which dwarf, in size and substance, any Ptolomean error of the past.
Both schools of thought rest plainly on fiction, but the adherents of each belief cling with unshakable faith to one or the other as if it were Gospel truth or "solid gold". One is the Big Bang explanation of our planet earth, with its corollary of the theory of evolution. It is the result of a scientistic mentality that in its ignorance and shortsightedness refuses to admit that there are domains far too vast for the human intellect to encompass and comprehend; so in their arrogance they invent hair-brained theories that they present as irrefutable facts, although they have been disproven by their own standards.
The other explanation for our existence is, of course, the religious one - divine creation. Although just as fictitious as any of the newfangled scientistic theories, it probably comes closer to the truth, reminding us of Joubert saying that the poets, in their search for beauty, have discovered more truths than the scientists in their quest for knowledge. The theory of creation is fiction, but highly inspired fiction, filled with human and moral values totally lacking in scientistic theories, with the added advantage over its rival theory that it has never been scientifically disproven.)
The Medical Aspect
Few words need be wasted on this. An anthology of names and opinions of physicians and researchers who, explicitly or indirectly, have denied any scientific or medical validity to vivisection make up the largest part of this book; so the question can be defined, at least, controversial. But if one considers that all those who assign validity to the animal model system are people who derive a morbid satisfaction or a monetary gain from it, the question appears no longer controversial but understandable. Just a handful of examples:
Lawson Tait, the giant of modern surgery (see biography) said:
"The position of vivisection as a method of scientific research stands alone amongst the infinite variety of roads for the discovery of Nature's secrets as being open to strong prima facie objection. No one can urge the slightest ground of objection against the astronomer, the chemist, the electrician, or the geologist in their ways of working; and the great commendation of all other workers is the comparative certainty of their results. But, for the physiologist, working upon a living animal, there are two strong objections: that he is violating a strong and widespread public sentiment, and that he tabulates results of the most uncertain and often quite contradictory kind."
And in 1988, Prof. Robert S. Mendelsohn of Chicago University, in his last, syndicated Medical Newsletter, The People's Doctor, No. 4, Vol. 12:
"Despite the tendency of doctors to call modern medicine an 'inexact science', it is more accurate to say there is practically no science in modern medicine at all. Almost everything doctors do is based on a conjecture, a guess, a clinical impression, a whim, a hope, a wish, an opinion or a belief. In short, everything they do is based on anything but solid scientific evidence. Thus, medicine is not a science at all, but a belief system. Beliefs are held by every religion, including the Religion of Modern Medicine."
And the noxious effects of modern medicine, which Prof. Mendelsohn kept denouncing to mass audiences in books, articles, newsletters, conferences and on TV, were mostly attributable to what Prof. Croce defines "the false methodology" of animal research.
The Intimidatory Aspect
The uninformed critic might well ask how the deception of the usefulness of vivisection could be kept alive within the medical community itself, considering that there has always been a number of prominent dissenters among them.
Walter Hadwen, one of the most eminent British MDs in the first half of the century (see biography), explains this phenomenon in the preface of a book he wrote about one of those dissenting MDs, titled "The Difficulties of Dr. Deguerre". We quote parts of it, pointing out that the conditions Dr Hadwen describes are no less true today.
"No medical man during his student days is taught to think. He is expected to assimilate the thoughts of others and to bow to authority. Throughout the whole of his medical career he must accept the current medical fashions of the day or suffer the loss of prestige and place. No public appointments, no coveted preferments are open to the medical man who declines to parrot the popular shibboleths of his profession. His qualifications may be beyond reproach, he may in himself possess qualities that command respect, but unless prepared to think and act within the narrow circle of accepted dogmas, he must be prepared for a more or less isolated path.
"The public press of today is largely governed by the orthodox rulers in the medical profession. The ubiquitous 'Medical Correspondent', who draws his inspiration from the pages of current fashionable medical literature, is expected to supply only such copy as will gratify the tastes of the mysterious power that stands supreme behind the editorial chair. The views of the unorthodox are with rare exceptions refused. So rigid is the control which medical orthodoxy seeks to exercise over the public mind, that not a word upon health matters, however important and interesting, is ever allowed to be broadcast by wireless unless it is approved and sanctioned by the bureaucrats of the Health Ministry.
"Every now and then some new medical 'discovery' is proclaimed with clamorous voice. The public eye is arrested by commanding headlines in the leading organs of the public press. The simultaneousness of their appearance and the similarity of the announcements leave no doubt as to how the whole scheme has been engineered. It may be a new cancer germ discovery; a new serum, vaccine, or chemical inoculation; a new theory concerning some old-fashioned disease dressed up in a new garb; a new outcry against flies, fleas, lice, cockroaches, dogs, cats, parrots, rats or goats; but, upon reflection, it will always be found that these 'discoveries' are entirely devoid of originality.
"It is safe to say that among all these flaming pronouncements no real discovery has been made, no original medical idea has been promulgated, no permanent contribution to medical science has been furnished, no advancement in medicine achieved. The public press has been utilized for the propagation of little else than medical sensationalism, proved to be such in time, by clinical and statistical experience.
"Practically all the modern claims of medicine are based upon the theories of Jenner and Pasteur, who have been exalted almost to the position of deities, whose dicta it is held to be impious to question. Those theories, in spite of a strenuous and increasing struggle to fix them upon a scientific basis, remain without foundation."
Modern medicine's scientific basis may be missing, but its financial profits are healthy, and anybody who dares jeopardize them is in for trouble, or worse. Who is "the mysterious power that stands supreme behind the editorial desk" which Dr Hadwen hints at? The answers stand recorded in at least two books, Morris Bealle's THE DRUG STORY, first published in the '40s and reprinted thirty-six times and maybe more since then, although no American bookstore ever dared handled it, and the writer's NAKED EMPRESS, published and republished in the '80s.
The Sociological Aspect
From the sociological point of view, man is a herd-animal, highly imitative to boot, as his fads and fashions show. His gregarious and conventional nature influences accordingly his psychic attitude or character.
Contrary to their general conviction, human beings, with rare exceptions are not mentally free, they shy away from venturing into independent thought, from treading unexplored territory; most of all, they are afraid of spurning the dogmas that have molded them, and of distancing themselves, also intellectually, from the herd. They feel safer following a leader, some kind of father image, even without knowing his intimate nature, and not seriously worrying about where this leader might lead them. The moment individuals join a marching herd, every thought process ceases. In fact, they feel freer in following some unknown leader than in having no leader to follow and being obliged to do their own thinking.
The written laws that rule our society in a constitutional state are an integral part of the system that the people want They are quite happy with those laws, and they are right. But not always. As happens in the field of science, also in jurisdiction some laws become obsolete, retrograde, they lag by decades, sometimes centuries, behind reality, behind the wishes of the majority or the social and scientific changes and needs. In fact laws are changed constantly, old ones are superseded by new ones, but this often only happens under great pressure, which can take on the form of violence and lead even to bloodshed. Think of all the social unrest of our and past times, some leading to revolutions and civil wars.
Obviously, reforms are started by fierce individualists, by heretics, deserters from the herd, by fearless and therefore always small minorities. The advocates of an abolition of vivisection on medical grounds, of which a goodly number are listed in this work, today still represent a minority. But what does it signify? Wisdom is not found by counting noses. Most of what the whole world now admits to be true or takes for granted, and most great social reforms which have proved immensely beneficial were originally advocated by a small, derided minority - sometimes a minority of one.
The laws that exist in most so-called civilized countries still permit, at best by omission, any and every kind of cruelty to animals, if done under the pretext of medical research, or "science", But since medicine is, by its own admission, not an exact science, and a science that is not exact is no science at all, but an oxymoron (a combination of contradictions), the cruelty carried out on animals is not only unscientific but illegal. And yet, in many countries, regulations established by the so-called health authorities actually impose those unscientific, Illegal tests. How is it possible? It is rendered possible by a fact that the public blissfully ignores, namely that the same health authorities who imposes those regulations are in the employ of the drug industry* which prescribes those notoriously unreliable tests on animals for the very reason that they are unreliable: they provide the necessary alibi every time a new pharmacological disaster occurs. Very few people are aware of that. They reason: if there are regulations, they must be good, in the public interest, like the laws against theft and armed robbery.
* How Rockefeller’s Drug Trust financed the Board of Education in the beginning of this century in order to promote the consumption of products from its huge drug empire, is related in NAKED EMPRESS.
As at this point in our history vivisection is still being regarded as an integral part of the order of things by the great majority of the population, it is once more the dominating herd instinct of the human species that stands in the way, along with many other important obstacles, to any speedy reform.
The Religious Aspect
The conviction that man is a supremely rational being is one more delusion in which the majority please to bask, even though it is a human idiosyncracy to be more susceptible to demagoguery than logic, more fascinated by fiction than facts, trusting more the occult than the visible.
The soap operas on TV command more devoted mass audiences than the goings-on on the Senate floor, even though the lawmakers' antics will affect the citizens' lives more substantially than the capers of the screen characters ever will. More people carry lifelong memories of the fairytales heard in childhood than of the works of Marx and Einstein, which most of them haven't even read, no matter how deeply they have transformed the world's social and political structure. And in 1988 the press announced, pretending surprise, that the world's most powerful individual had been looking to the stars for guidance, to the point that the intrusions of the astronomer "began to interfere with the normal conduct of the presidency", as one of Ronald Reagan's former aides (Don Regan) revealed. However, there was nothing surprising in this. Rulers and conquerors through the ages have been afflicted by the very same magical dependency from Adolf Hitler all the way back to the Babylonians and Assyrians.
Some great men have used this human peculiarity for noble purposes, as have the prophets and founders of the great religions - Buddha, Moses, Jesus Mohammed. Many have exploited it to their own personal advantage.
Banking on magic rather than logic, Modern Medicine, organized by industry-beholden health authorities along strictly commercial lines, in collusion with the tax -squeezing governments, has managed to take over the role that formerly belonged to the Church. The licensed doctors are this new religion's ordained priests, in whose hands the diffident patients are requested to place their full purse and blind trust, asking no questions. This has been obtained by blending facts with fiction so skillfully that not only the lay public but also many of the participants themselves are often unable to discern between the two.