Although Magendie is rightly considered the true initiator of experimentation upon living beings, the practice of vivisection is as old as science itself.

Galien, the physician of Marcus Aurelius (in the second century of the Christian era), dissected living animals, and yet he is regarded as having merited his name (Galenus, "gentle") from the mildness of his character. Five centuries before him, under the Ptolemies, Egyptian experimenters had operated upon condemned persons. So, then, vivisection is not, as usually thought, a diabolical invention of modern science.



In all ages the necessity has been recognized of operating upon animals that are nearest allied to man, such as the monkey, the hog, and the dog, and who share with the king of creation the privilege of eating a little of everything. Claude Bernard, however, had another way of looking at things. It is true that he especially made researches into the general laws of physiology, the secret of the vital functions, and the operation of the various organic systems that constitute living matter, but his immediate object was not to furnish weapons for the art of curing. He left to physicians and surgeons the care of drawing conclusions from his great work in biology, and of acting experimentally upon animals allied to man in order to found a rational system of therapeutics. So he preferred to operate upon beings placed low in the animal scale--the frog especially, an animal that has rendered him greater service than even man himself could have done. Cold-blooded animals offer, moreover, the advantage of being less impressionable than others, and the experiments to which they are submitted present more accurate conclusions, since it is not necessary to take so much account of the victim's restlessness. And then it is necessary in many cases to choose subjects that possess endurance.

The unfortunate frog, so aptly named "the Job of physiology," becomes resigned to living under most dreadful conditions, and when, through sheer exhaustion, he has succumbed, his twitching limbs may still he used as an object of experimentation for twenty-four hours. Thanks are due to nature for giving so extraordinary a vitality to the tissues of a modest batrachian! We owe to it the famous experiment of Galvani that led Volta to the discovery of the pile and what followed it, the astonishing conquests of electricity and those more marvelous ones still that are now in their dawn. Science is much indebted to the frog, and may the homage that we pay him help to alleviate the sufferings that have been imposed upon this brave animal!



The simple fact that we have just enunciated pleads loudly enough for the cause of vivisection to make it useless to defend it. No one, however, has risen to ask for an absolute proscription of it, but it is only desired that the abuse of an abominable practice shall be curbed. Does the abuse exist? That is the question, and it may be answered in the affirmative. Yes, we do sometimes impose useless sufferings upon animals. It is a culpable folly, a beastly cruelty, to constantly repeat barbarous experiments with the object of exhibiting a well known physical fact, a hundred times verified and always the same, when it would only be necessary to enunciate it. But this is not the place to expatiate upon the subject. After proclaiming the utility of vivisection, we give it as our opinion that the practice of it should be confined within narrow limits. It is not too much to ask that it be confined to the privacy of laboratories, with the exclusion of visitors, and to require from students a diploma guaranteeing their knowledge and giving a programme of researches to be made.

It is useless to seek in the living what a study of the corpse reveals in all its details.



And now, after these preliminary remarks, we present herewith a series of cuts representing the various apparatus used in the practice of vivisection, which are taken from a recent work by Claude Bernard. Fig. 1 shows the mode of muzzling a dog with a strong cord placed behind an iron bit. Fig. 2 shows a method of tying a dog. Fig. 3 is a vessel in which hares or cats are placed in order to anaesthetize them. Fig. 4 shows the mode of fixing an animal on its side, and Fig. 5 the mode of fixing him on his back. Fig. 6 shows a dog fixed upon the vivisecting table, and Fig. 7 a hare secured to the same. Fig. 8 exhibits the general arrangement of a vivisecting table, properly so called. Fig. 9 shows (1) an anaesthetizing muzzle applied to a dog, and (2) the extremity of the apparatus in section. Fig. 10 shows how the muzzle is applied for anaesthetizing, and gives the details of construction of the chloroform box. Fig. 11 exhibits the arrangement of the apparatus used for holding the animal's jaws open upon the vivisecting table.--L'Illustration.