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Which Shall Live — 

Men or Animals? 

Reprinted from Hygeia, October, 192: 

Copyright, 1923 
American Medical Association, 
535 N. Dearborn St., Chicago 



F the United States were threatened 
with invasion by a foreign power, 
even if we knew that the invasion 
would be only temporary and that 
only a few thousand of our citizens 
would be killed, the whole country 
would be aroused in an effort to prevent that 
invasion. If necessary, millions of men would 
be drafted and trained to meet the invaders 
and billions of dollars would be expended to 
protect those few thousand people from the 
death that must otherwise overtake them. In 
such a case, every real man and every real 
woman in the country would be doing some- 
thing to insure the defeat of that invading 
army. Yet such an army is like a box of tin 
soldiers compared with armies that threaten 
us all the tiine, but which cause scarcely an 
extra beat of the nation's pulse. I refer to the 
armies of disease. The army of bubonic 
plague alone, if permitted to effect a foothold 
on our shores, might at any time ravage our 
cities as it once ravaged the cities of Europe 
and Asia, leaving scarcely enough living to 
bury the dead. We read in DeFoe's "History 
of the Plague" in London in 1665 of "people 
in the rage of their distemper or in the tor- 

ment of their swellings, which were indeed 
intolerable, running out of their own govern- 
ment, raving and distracted, and often times 
laying violent hands upon themselves, throw- 
ing themselves out of windows, shooting them- 
selves, mothers murdering their own children 
in their lunacy." Indeed, we do not have to 
go back so far to realize what the plague can 
do. In 1905 in India alone there were 
1,040,429 deaths from this one disease. 

The Conquest of Bubonic Plague 

In this country no layman loses any sleep 
on account of bubonic plague. Is that because 
it does not exist? Not at all. It comes to our 
waters, even effects a landing sometimes. But 
we have a small garrison of vigilant medical 
men on our coasts watching day and night 
for that enemy, ready to give him instant 
combat if he comes. We sleep in peace 
because we trust that garrison. Thirty years 
ago we did not know what caused this terrible 
plague, but in 1894 the germ (Bacillus pestis 
hiihonitae) was discovered. Even then it was 
not known how the disease was carried or 
what caused it to spread so rapidly — and 
before it could be combated successfully, that 
must be known. A series of experiments on 
living animals, chiefly rats, guinea-pigs and 
monkeys, yielded the desired information and 
through these experiments we have been 
delivered from this terrible scourge. It was 
known that rats were subject to plague; conse- 

quently attempts were made to find out how 
it was transmitted from one rat to another. 
The idea that it might be carried by parasites 
occurred to several investigators. Accordingly, 
healthy rats were placed in cages close to 
diseased rats; they remained perfectly well 
until a few fleas were introduced. Then, 
almost immediately, the hitherto healthy rats 
were stricken with j^lague. Cages containing 
healthy monkeys were suspended over cages 
occupied by diseased and flea-infested rats. 
At regular intervals the monkeys were lowered 
nearer to the stricken rodents. The monkeys 
were all right until they were brought within 
jumping distance of a flea, when they at 
once contracted the plague. These and other 
experiments left no doubt that rat fleas were 
the carriers among animals, and since rat fleas 
also feed on man when their natural prey is 
not available, it was an easy matter to show 
that the plague is spread by means of rat 
fleas. This led to a definite program for 
checking the spread of the disease, by relent- 
less warfare on fleas and the rats that carried 
them. The rats were trapped, their breeding 
places destroyed, and diseased rats from 
infested ports were prevented from entering 
the country. For example, when it was found 
that rats frequently come ashore along the 
cables stretched between the ships and the 
wharves, metal cones similar to those used to 
prevent rodents from climbing into corn cribs 
were placed on the cables. The fact that 

I wish to emphasize is that it is due to experi- 
ments on living mammals that this black 
death is no longer a terror to us. 

Experimental Study of Health and Disease 

Until the middle of the last century very 
little had been done in the way of experi- 
mental study of physiology and pathology. 
Physicians depended almost entirely on bed- 
side observations. Some of these physicians 
were wonderful men, and often their obser- 
vations were remarkably shrewd. But the 
human body is a complex machine, the organs 
are so interdependent, that in the presence of 
any given set of symptoms and signs of dis- 
ease, it was almost impossible to be sure just 
what caused them, and, consequently, what 
was best to do for the patient. When the 
experimental method was adopted disease 
could be observed systematically, conditions 
could be controlled, and the phenomena that 
resulted could be studied intelligently because 
the experimenter knew exactly what had pro- 
duced them. In such experiments mammals 
are the animals chiefly used, because in most 
respects they most nearly resemble man, him- 
self a mammal. Practically all the domestic 
mammals have been used, horses, cattle, sheep, 
goats, swine, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea- 
pigs, and rats and mice; monkeys are 
also used. And all have made wonderful 
contributions to medicine or surgery or both. 

Types of Experiments on Animals 


There are several classes of experiments. 
Some are in the field of pure research, not 
having for their object any immediate benefit 
to man or animals. Experiments of this nature 
were carried on some years ago in work on 
bubonic plague among rodents in California. 
It was discovered that ground squirrels have a 
disease similar to plague and yet distinctly 
different. By a long series of experiments it 
was found that monkeys are susceptible to 
this disease, and it was predicted that eventu- 
ally cases would be found in man. As a 
result of this work a bacteriologist in Cincin- 
nati was able to identify the disease in per- 
sons in his own vicinity. Another investigator 
found it among persons in Utah, and showed 
that it is carried from infected rabbits and 
ground squirrels by biting insects. It also was 
shown that the disease is widespread over 
the United States. With this knowledge of 
the means of transmission of the disease it 
is comparatively easy to prevent the infection 
of inan. 


Another class of experiments is carried on 
by surgeons to develop dexterity before they 
attempt operations on man. Such experiinents 
are usually carried out on dogs. The animals 
are invariably under complete anesthesia and 
usually they are killed by added ether at the 
end of the experiment. 


Recently I attended the clinic of a throat 
specialist in the east. I saw child after child 
wheeled into the amphitheatre and relieved, 
usually in a few moments, of foreign bodies 
that they had sucked into the windpipe and that 

Does this dog look unhappy? Ten years ago 
Buster had an operation performed on the stomach; 
the results have been of aid in the study of digestion. 
Buster has not suffered thereby, and she has saved 
much suffering to others. She is receiving a visit 
from the author. 

a few years ago would in many cases have 
caused death, either directly or as the result of 
a dangerous operation. So dextrous is this man 
that his little patients do not need any anes- 
thetic. After his work was done I had a talk 
with him, and he told me that the technic of 

these operations had been worked out with 
great care on dogs that were always under an 
anesthetic. He also told me that by the use 
of two dogs he had trained fifty other men to 
do similar work. 


In the Civil War if a man was shot through 
the bowels, he was doomed to death; the sur- 

This is Whitey, about eight months after the com- 
plete removal of the parathyroid glands. These 
glands are quite often partly and accidentally removed 
during operations on the thyroid gland in man, with 
alarming and sometimes fatal results. Following com- 
plete removal of the parathyroid glands, carnivorous 
animals, including man, die within from four to six 
days. As a result of experimental work on this dog 
and other animals, three effective curative measures 
have been developed, which indefinitely preserve the 
life of such animals in normal health. Two persons 
are known to have been saved and several others have 
been rendered free from symptoms as a result of this 


geons hardly dared to open the abdomen and 
if they did they didn't know how to join 
the ends of the bowel so that it would not 
leak. Of course the slightest leak meant infec- 
tion and death. Then caine along an experi- 
menter who etherized about thirty dogs, shot 
them through the bowels, and practiced join- 

These children at the Anna Durand Hospital, Chi- 
cago, have been saved from death from diphtheria by 
the use of antitoxin. The boy in the center has a 
squint as the result of his sickness. 

ing bowel ends until he could make a perfect 
joint. It is safe to say that in the World War 
the lives of thousands of men were saved as a 
result of that series of experiments. 

Lockjaw, tetanus, chiefly a disease of war, 
that threatened to take frightful toll of soldiers 
wounded on the tetanus-infected battlefields of 


Europe, did little damage during the late war 
because of antitetanus serum made from the 
blood of immunized horses. Every wounded 
man received an injection of this serum at the 
earliest possible moment, and usually the 
length of time that had intervened determined 

The homes of this boy and girl have to thank 
research workers and animals for the lives saved by 
antitoxin for diphtheria. Without antitoxin, devel- 
oped by experimental work on animals, such children 
would have had slim chances of recovery. 

whether the man would live or whether he 
would die a most distressing and horrible 

The antityphoid vaccine, also worked out on 
mammals and tested on mammals, has prac- 
tically abolished typhoid fever in soldiers' 
camps. It is estimated by the Surgeon 


General's office that during the World War it 
saved the lives of 60,000 men in the American 
army alone. 

Benefits of Experimentation to Man 

These are only a very few examples from 
the long list of benefits that have accrued 

On the roof garden of the Home for Destitute 
Crippled Children, Chicago. Suppose one of these 
victims of infantile paralysis were your child? Would 
you hesitate to sacrifice under ether one or more ani- 
mals if through the knowledge gained the disease 
could have been prevented, or your child could have 
recovered without being crippled? 

to humanity through the use of living mam- 
mals for experimental purposes. I must men- 
tion only one more — the recent discovery of 
a specific treatment for diabetes. Less than 
two years ago I invited a little girl to go for 


a bird walk with me that I might give her 
the pleasure of stroking and feeding a wild 
bird in its nest. I was particularly eager that 
she should enjoy that day, because both she 
and I knew that she had not many days to 
live. She was doomed to die of diabetes 
within six months; as a matter of fact she died 

Pacific and Atlantic 

Not man alone, but animals also have benefited by 
experimental luork. The best example of this is the 
conquest of hydrophobia. 

in less than three months from the date of our 
walk, I remember thinking that I would give 
anything I possessed if I could by some 
miracle restore that child to health. Today, 
less than two years later, that miracle could 
be performed, because Dr. F. G. Banting of 
the University of Toronto, by a brilliant series 


of experiments on dogs, has completed investi- 
gations begun on rabbits by Claude Bernard 
seventy-five years ago. The story of this 
wonderful discovery is long, but here are the 
outstanding facts. It was found that when the 
pancreas of a dog is removed, the animal 
at once develops acute diabetes and usually 
dies of that disease within three or four 
weeks. Under the microscope the pancreas is 
seen to be studded with countless little bodies, 
known as the islands of Langerhans, after the 
German scientist who discovered them. It was 
found that these islands secrete a substance 
quite different from that secreted by the rest 
of the pancreas, and that it is the absence 
of this substance, not the absence of the 
pancreas itself, that causes diabetes. A method 
was devised for obtaining an extract from 
these islands of Langerhans, and it was found 
that when this extract was injected into a 
dog whose pancreas has been removed it did 
not die, but got well and continued to be well 
as long as it was given injections of this 
extract. After these injections had been proved 
to be safe by repeated experiments on dogs, 
they were tried on human patients with start- 
lingly beneficial results. Even when the dis- 
ease is of long standing, when the patient has 
reached the very last stage and is in the coma 
that immediately precedes death, injections of 
this extract, now known to the world as 
insulin, will bring him out of the coma, snatch 
him from the very jaws of death, and restore 
him to health. 


The False Stand of the Antivivisectionists 

We have seen that all these great advances 
in medicine and surgery have been made as 
the result of experiments on living mammals, 
and you will agree, I believe, that in all proba- 
bility further advances in these fields must be 
brought about by the same means. This is the 
opinion of practically all eminent physicians 
and surgeons and veterinarians, and of all the 
great scientists and educators in other fields — 
in short, it is the opinion of all persons who 
have vast responsibilities for the health of 
men and of animals. The only persons who 
are opposed to these reasonable experiments 
are the antivivisectionists, who have no such 
responsibilities. Would any sane person think 
of going to the antivivisectionists for help if 
there were an epidemic of smallpox or diph- 
theria, or if there were an outbreak of hog 
cholera or of blackleg in cattle? We don't go 
to them because they know nothing about such 
matters. Yet they boldly contradict all com- 
petent authorities and tell us that experiments 
on animals are useless, that they have never 
accomplished anything. The antivivisection 
societies are composed largely of well disposed 
but woefully misinformed persons. And those 
who are responsible for the misinformation 
are the leaders of the antivivisectionists. I 
have been studying these leaders for some 
years, and I may say, without any danger of 
my statements being disproved, that among 
them may be found many of the most danger- 


ous of the criminal insane to be found in this 
country today — and I have recently visited 
some of our largest penitentiaries and asylums. 
I have found some of these leaders of the 
antivivisection movement to be guilty of false- 
hood, slander, libel, perjury, forgery, and 
attempted bribery. Under false pretenses they 
obtain money from weakminded and unthink- 
ing people and, with this money, they wilfully 
and perennially attempt not only to prevent 
the advance of medicine and surgery, but 
also to break down the bulwarks of preventive 
medicine by teaching contempt of vaccination 
and of the use of antitoxins. 

Few of the criminals in our jails are 
responsible for the deaths of more than a 
small number of persons; few of them have 
attempted widespread destruction of life. But 
it is the opinion of eminent physicians that 
through the pernicious teachings of the anti- 
vivisection leaders we shall in a few years 
have epidemics that will destroy the lives of 
many thousands of children. Unless we wish 
for a return of the plagues and pestilences that 
once devastated wide areas on this world 
before the introduction of modern methods, 
we should use every means in our power to 
discourage these dangerous fanatics. I believe 
that it is the duty of all good citizens who 
belong to antivivisection societies to send in 
their resignations at once, and to stand with 
our government, our great physicians, sur- 
geons, veterinarians, agriculturalists, educators. 


and divines in approving and supporting 
properly conducted animal experimentation 
and sane humane education generally. 

After the presentation of this paper by Mr. Baynes 
before the American Society of Mammalogists, at its 
fifth annual meeting, May 15 to 17, 1923, in the 
Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, the Society 
unanimously passed these resolutions: 

Whereas, It is a fact known to all thinking people 
that most of the great advances in medicine and sur- 
gery have been made as a result of experiments on 
living animals, especially mammals, and 

Whereas, It is the belief of our eminent physicians, 
surgeons, and veterinarians, and all others having 
great responsibility for the health of human beings 
and of animals, that future advances in these fields 
will be made chiefly as the result of similar experi- 
ments, and 

Whereas, It is known that these experiments almost 
invariably are conducted humanely and with a mini- 
mum of discomfort to the animals used, and 

Whereas, There is an organized movement being 
carried on by certain misinformed and misguided 
individuals who seek to prevent or seriously interfere 
with such experiments, be it 

Resolved, that we, members of the American Society 
of Mammalogists, in annual convention assembled in 
the city of Philadelphia, on the sixteenth day of May, 
1923, are of opinion that, in the best interests of real 
humanity, animal experimentation, including vivisec- 
tion, as practiced in our laboratories today, should 
continue unhampered. 

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