Friday, September 30, 2016

The Brown Dog Affair

In a secluded spot near the Old English Garden, in London’s Battersea Park, is a small bronze statue of a terrier. The statue was erected in 1985, but the one that it replaced —the original statue— was the subject of much political and scientific contention, resulting in riots and demonstrations that raged for seven years and divided the entire nation.

The controversy began in December 1902, when an anonymous brown dog was subjected, over the course of several months, to repeated live surgeries in a laboratory of University College London. The dog was cut open, allegedly without anesthesia, and his pancreas removed, and for the next two months, confined to a cage where it howled and whined upsetting several staff of the college.
The final act was performed in February 1903 in a lecture room before a group of medical students. The dog was stretched on his back on the operating table, and was cut open to inspect the result of the first operation. The wound was then clamped shut with forceps and the animal handed over to another researcher who punctured a new wound in the neck of the animal. The exposed nerves on the neck were then stimulated with electricity in an attempt to prove that salivary pressure was independent of blood pressure. After half an hour of trying, the experiment was deemed a failure and abandoned. The terrier was then handed to a student who ended the miserable dog’s sufferings by driving a knife to his heart.

In attendance that day were two Swedish women and anti-vivisectionists who had enrolled themselves as students in order to document such incidents. The same year, the women published a book titled The Shambles of Science: Extracts from the Diary of Two Students of Physiology, where they exposed the researchers’ cruel methods.

The book came to the attention of Stephen Coleridge, secretary of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, who realized that two anti-cruelty laws had been broken in the animal’s handling — he had not been anesthetized, and he had been used in more than one experiment. When Coleridge publicly lashed out against the scientists, William Bayliss, one of the professors involved in the vivisection of the dog, sued Coleridge for libel.

1 comment:

  1. those savage cunts ought to be scalped