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Darwin Correspondence Project

Vivisection: BAAS committee report

Report British Assoc. Edinburgh 1871 p. 144

I No experiment which can be performed under the influence of an anasthetic ought to be done without it.

II No painful experiment is justifiable for the mere purpose of illustrating a law or fact already demonstrated; in other words, experimentation without the employment of anasthetics is not a fitting exhibition for teaching purposes.

III Whenever, for the investigation of new truth, it is necessary to make a painful experiment, every effort should be made to ensure success, in order that the suffering inflicted may not be wasted. For this reason, no painful experiment ought to be performed by an unskilled person with insufficient instruments & assistants, or in places not suitable to the purpose, that is to say, any where except in physiological & pathological laboratories, under proper regulations.

IV In the scientific preparation for veterinary practice, operations ought not to be performed upon living animals for the mere purposes of obtaining greater operative dexterity. 

About this article

The manuscript of the draft petition is in Cambridge University Library, DAR 139.17: 18.

This transcription has been taken from 'Darwin and vivisection', F. Burkhardt et al. eds The correspondence of Charles Darwin, volume 23 (1875), Appendix VI, pp. 585.  The volumes of the Correspondence are available from Cambridge University Press.