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Annual Oration of 1908

Vivisection

Orator: Ray W. Greene, M.D.

Synopsis of Oration:

Dr. Greene starts out reminding his fellow members of the vast medical resources accessible to them in Worcester that are not available in most other regions. With that introduction he launches into his topic of vivisection.

He introduces the controversy that has surrounded vivisection for almost 50 years by listing the numerous "antiviv" organizations that have formed in the United Kingdom. Then Dr. Greene talks about the pro-vivisection movement supported by doctors and other scientists who gave evidence of vivisection's benefits for science and ultimately society itself. He continues to outline the conflict with more historical instances of the antiviv societies' attempts to pass restrictive legislation. Greene includes a large section of a prize-winning antiviv essay that proposes the movement's main case. He refutes these arguments with the evidence of the scientific community. The main component of the scientific side is that nowadays anesthetics are used in almost every vivisection performed. He quotes evidence to refute the claims that two prominent physicians, Bigelow and Tait, were antivivisectionists.

He then reaches the heart of the issue, whether enough benefits have emerged through vivisection to make it worth the suffering it may cause. Greene argues that it has, citing examples from his own and colleagues' practices where a drug tested on animals saved a patient's life. He even shows how animal research has helped saved animals' lives, as in the case of tetanus in horses. Finally, he asserts that "scarcely a fact has been established or confirmed from the earlier studies to the latest knowledge acquired&without making use of vivisection."

Dr. Greene's case reports and statistical data are strong evidence in favor of vivisection. He not only strongly supports the practice but suggests that it should increase in order to continue the rapid progress of medicine that has already occurred.


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