Vivisection Experiments.

– in the House of Commons on 10th May 1922.

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Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

I beg to move, That leave be given to introduce a Bill to prevent the application of public money to vivisection experiments. This is a Bill which I claim is a practical attempt at economy, and its object is to prevent the spending of public money on vivisection experiments. There is nothing in the Bill to prevent vivisection experiments being continued at the hands of any learned societies or others who provide the money, but in these times I do not think it is right that public money should be granted for this purpose, especially as it must come in part from persons who have scruples against vivisection. The sum of money, I believe, is substantial, though I have not been been able to get the actual figures. Before the War the amount of money spent on medical research was round about £60,000 a year. It is now over £120,000, of which a considerable sum, I understand, is spent on these experiments. I believe the figures are round about £30,000 or £40,000. I think that is money which could well be saved at the present time, and I hope I shall have the support of the House in introducing this very simple and very short Bill. There is talk of more money being demanded for these experiments, and the salaries which are being paid to the researchers, all of whom, of course, are not employed in vivisection, though a good many are, come alone to £38,000 a year. That is a very substantial amount, and I believe it could be saved without any harm to the body politic. It will not prevent a single vivisection experiment which is necessary because the learned societies who think it is necessary will undoubtedly be able to supply the funds to enable the experiments to be carried on.


I do not know whether it is a breach of the traditions of the House, but I do not know that there is much harm in mentioning the fact that my hon. and gallant Friend told me before I came into the House that he would not like me to be here at a quarter to four o'clock. He usually likes a large audience when he is speaking and I thought there was something suspicious in the suggestion so I inquired and discovered that he was going to attempt to introduce this Bill. In a sense I am very glad that he has introduced it. I am always so impressed with his almost unchallengeable wisdom upon every other subject that I am glad to discover that he is human after all and sometimes he is wrong upon public questions of this sort. It is comforting for the ordinary Member who sometimes makes mistakes in public policy to know that my hon. and gallant Friend, like Homer, occasionally nods too. This is a really flank attack upon experimental research. I should have expected a frontal attack judging from my hon. and gallant Friend's usual methods. It would have been more frank and candid if he had introduced a Bill abolishing all experimental research of this kind. I dislike the word vivisection and prefer experimental research. My hon. and gallant Friend gave as his principal reason that there conscientious objectors to experimental research and therefore they should not be taxed for experimental research of that sort. I did not discover that he brought in a Bill to prevent any public money being wasted upon the Navy or the Army because there are conscientious objectors who will be taxed for, as they say, killing other people. The position is quite the same. If he would like to be consistent he ought also to have included in his Bill that no public money should be spent upon the Army or upon the Navy. He did not discuss the merits of experimental research. There are two or three reasons which I should like to give why public money of all monies should be spent upon experimental research. Vivisection, as it is called, has been the means of advancing medical research within the last 30 or 40 years to an extraordinary degree. There is, for instance, the surgery of the brain. You cannot experiment upon the human brain. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] I did hear of an Englishman who suggested that a surgical operation should be made upon a Scotsman's head under certain conditions, but although the suggestion has been made the experiment has never been carried out and therefore no Scotsman has ever got a glimmer of a sense of humour. But since research experiments have been made in the matter of the brain, some people suggest that Scotsmen have acquired a sense of humour. I do not know whether it is due to those experiments or not. Experiments upon animals have been the cause of a big progress in research of the brain, and that was of great use in the late War and saved thousands of lives. It is therefore a cause for which public money should be spent and spent much more liberally than it is at the present time. Take the case of diphtheria. How many lives have been saved by the knowledge gained by experiments in connection with anti-toxin? Surely that is an object for the spending of public money. One of the most recent advances in medical science has been due to experimental research in connection with the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Without these experiments progress could not have been made, and in cases of shock after wounds in the War thousands of lives were saved. In another department, with which this House always shows sympathy, namely, obstetrics and women in labour, a series of experiments has saved more lives of women and children in one of the biggest crises of their lives than any other thing I know.


I am just giving these three examples as having been of great benefit to this country, to the world, and to humanity.


I cannot conceive any object on which public money could be better spent than in the promotion of experimental research. Therefore, I object to this Bill being introduced.

Question put, "That leave be given to bring in the Bill to prevent the application of public money to vivisection experiments."

The House divided: Ayes, 102; Noes, 170.

Division No. 101.]AYES.[4.5 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamHalls, WalterRichardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Agg-Gardner, Sir James TynteHancock, John GeorgeRoberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.Hartshorn, VernonRobinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)
Banton, GeorgeHayday, ArthurRose, Frank H.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)Shaw, Thomas (Preston)
Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)Sitch, Charles H.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel FrankSmith, W. R. (Wellingborough)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)Hirst, G. H.Spencer, George A.
Bethell, Sir John HenryHodge, Rt. Hon. JohnStanton, Charles Butt
Betterton, Henry B.Holmes, J. StanleySueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Bramsdon, Sir ThomasHope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.
Breese, Major Charles E.Howard, Major S. G.Sutton, John Edward
Briggs, HaroldJohn, William (Rhondda, West)Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)
Bromfield, WilliamJohnstone, JosephThomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)Kenyon, BarnetThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Cape, ThomasKiley, James DanielThorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Carr, W. TheodoreLambert, Rt. Hon. GeorgeTownshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Lawson, John JamesWalsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Curzon, Captain ViscountLindsay, William ArthurWalton, J. (York, W. R. Don Valley)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughtan)Lunn, WilliamWatts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)McMicking, Major GilbertWedgwood, Colonel Joslah C.
Dockrell, Sir MauriceMacquisten, F. A.White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)MacVeagh, JeremiahWignall, James
Finney, SamuelMills, John EdmundWilliams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Foot, IsaacMorris, RichardWilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)
Frece, Sir Walter deMurray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)Wilson, James (Dudley)
Gilbert, James DanielMyers, ThomasWindsor, Viscount
Glyn, Major RalphNewman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)Wintringham, Margaret
Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)Palmer, Major Godfrey MarkWise, Frederick
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas HenryYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)Raffan, Peter Wilson
Hacking, Captain Douglas H.Ratcliffe, Henry ButlerTELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy and Major C. Lowther.
Hallas, EldredRichardson, Lt.-Col. Sir p. (Chertsey)
Amery, Leopold C. M. S.Brassey, H. L. C.Cope. Major William
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel MartinBrown, Major D. C.Craig, Capt. C. C. (Antrim, South)
Armstrong, Henry BruceBrown, James (Ayr and Bute)Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry
Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.Bruton, Sir JamesCroft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert HenryBuchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.Davidson, J. C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)
Baird, Sir John LawrenceBuckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyBull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesDavies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Cairns, JohnDavison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)
Barnston, Major HarryCarter, R. A. D. (Man., Withington)Dean, Commander P. T.
Barton, Sir William (Oldham)Casey, T. W.Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry
Beauchamp, Sir EdwardCautley, Henry StrotherDoyle, N. Grattan
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (HitchlnlDu Pre, Colonel William Baring
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Lady wood)Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)
Bigland, AlfredClay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. SpenderElliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)
Bird, Sir William B. M. (Chichester)Clough, Sir RobertErskine, James Malcolm Monteith
Blair, Sir ReginaldCohen, Major J. BrunelEyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsFalle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray
Farquharson, Major A. C.Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)Remer, J. R.
Fell, Sir ArthurKennedy, ThomasRemnant, Sir James
Flannery. Sir James FortescueLane-Fox, G. R.Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Ford, Patrick JohnstonLewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)Rodger, A. K.
Forrest, WalterLister, Sir R. AshtonRoundell, Colonel R. F.
Fraser, Major Sir KeithLloyd, George ButlerRoyce, William Stapleton
Galbraith, SamuelLocker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Gange, E. StanleyLowe, Sir Francis WilliamSamuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood)
Gardner, ErnestM'Connell, Thomas EdwardSanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur
Gee, Captain RobertMcLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Gillis, WilliamMaclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)Seager, Sir William
Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir JohnMcNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)Sharman-Crawford, Robert G.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Malone, C. L. (Leyton, E.)Shaw, William T. (Forfar)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir HamarMalone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S)Smith, Sir Maicolm (Orkney)
Greig, Colonel Sir James WilliamMarriott, John Arthur RansomeSprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.Matthews, DavidSteel, Major S. Strang
Gwynne, Rupert S.Middlebrook, Sir WilliamStephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Hallwood, AugustineMildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.Stewart, Gershom
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Moles, ThomasSturrock, J. Leng
Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l.W.D'by)Molson, Major John ElsdaleTaylor, J.
Hambro, Angus ValdemarMond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred MoritzTerrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryMoreing, Captain Algernon H.Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.Tickler, Thomas George
Haslam, LewisMosley, OswaldTownley, Maximilian G.
Hills. Major John WallerMurchison, C. K.Tryon, Major George Clement
Hinds, JohnMurray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox)Turton, Edmund Russborough
Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.Murray, John (Leeds, West)Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardNail, Major JosephWatson, Captain John Bertrand
Hopkins, John W. W.Neal, ArthurWeston, Colonel John Wakefield
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)White, Col. G. D. (Southport)
Home, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)Nield, Sir HerbertWilley, Lieut.-Colonel F. V.
Hudson, R. M.Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)O'Connor, Thomas P.Wilson. Field-Marshal Sir Henry
Hurd, Percy A.Oman, Sir Charles William C.Winterton, Earl
Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.Ormsby-Gore, Hon. WilliamWood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.Pilditch, Sir PhilipWood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertPownall, Lieut.-Colonel AsshetonYate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Jephcott, A. R.Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)
Jesson, C.Raeburn, Sir William H.
Jodrell, Neville PaulRandies, Sir John ScurrahTELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Rees, Capt. J. Tudor- (Barnstaple)Dr. Murray and Sir P. Magnus.

Question put, and agreed to.