“To the Graduates of the Twenty-Third Commencement of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania:”

Note: This was taken from my rough book draft, so please excuse any typos.

“Having accidentally, a few days ago, been led to take up and read the address delivered before you by Professor Keen, on the occasion of your graduation, I feel a strong desire to state to you some of the facts on the other side, and to show you how illusory I, as well as those connected with me in the Anti-Vivisection agitation, consider his claim to a long list of benefits derived, within the last twenty-five years, from experiments upon animals.

I am not, it is true, a student or graduate of medicine; but the fact that I am, in the first place, one of your own sex, interested as you are in the advancement of true science, and in the progress of the human race; that, secondly, I was one of the first originators of the American Society for the Restriction of Vivisection )the only such Association in existence in the United States): and that, thirdly, for years I have given this subject of experimentation upon animals careful and serious student, reading without reserve both sides of the question, will, I hope, entitle what I now say to respectful consideration at your hands. (3)”

“I think his expression, “to pain or even slay” a few animals, decidedly an inverted climax, and would substitute for it “to say or even to torture, “since we do not object to the slaying of animals, when by doing so we can derive undoubted benefit for mankind; but it is the torture, or as the Doctor terms it, the “pain,’ against which we protest, considering it a far greater evil than death, and in fact involving death, as a general thing since we have scarcely ever hear of an animal which was made the subject of sever experimentation and then allowed to recover and live. (4)”

“For Dr. Keen’s expression of a “few” animals, I should like to substitute “millions.” (4)”

“Dr. Keen speaks at length of the value of experimenting upon animals to ascertain the effect of drugs and poisons, which surprises me, since in no respect are erroneous deductions more likely to be made than in these experiments. It is true that the action of these substances upon men and the lower animals may sometimes be analogous, but no matter what experiments were made in the hydrochlorate of cocaine upon the animals mentioned by Dr. Keen, they were absolutely inconclusive as regard man until the crucial experiment was made upon the latter. (6)”


“Dr. Alfred Swayne Taylor, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Lecturer on Medical Jurisprudence, in his examination before the English Royal Commission to investigate the subject of vivisection, was asked the question, “Do you imagine that experiments are likely to do much good for that purpose” (.i.e. , of obtaining an antidote for snake bites)? He replied, “No, I do not. I have read them all with great care. Ammonia has been recommended by Dr. Halford, in Australia, but this has proved utterly inefficient when the experiments have been fairly performed and in truth, if you consider for a moment the mode of death from poison, you will see how difficulty it is for any antidote by injection to operate. (11)”

“But Dr. Keen says, as if resolved to meet every difficulty that may arise, “We may reject carbolic acid and the spray.” Reject carbolic acid and the spray ! ! ! Then we reject what many high authorities consider the essence of Listerism. Lawson Tait concludes by saying that Sir Joseph Lister as done much good by careful attention to details, but for a knowledge of the fact that this carefully attention to details, was so vitally necessary to success we are not indebted to experiments on animals. (17)”

“I do not ask you to urge the total abolition of experiments on animals, if you are satisfied that they are sometimes of benefit to mankind, but that, wherever you may be settled, you will agitate the subject unceasingly until you have obtained a law that will render impossible such scenes as may to-day be witnessed in the laboratories of nearly every part of the civilized work – scenes so atrociously cruel that they would disgrace a Sodom or Gomorrah – a law that will, in short, put a stop to the abuses of Vivisection…. Dr. Henry J. Bigelow, of Boston, and Dr. Leffingwell, both of whom I have quotes, unite in believing that vivisectional experiments should be restricted to those that can be performed entirely without pain, by the through administration of anesthetics and the killing of the animal operated on, before the return of consciousness. (24)”

Caroline Earle White – Early American Animal Rights Advocate

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