Many of the medical men who have denounced the practice of vivisection as inhuman, fallacious and dangerous have been among the most distinguished in their profession. Rather than a minority, they ought to be called an élite. And in fact, opinions should not only be counted — they should also be weighed. The first great medical man who indicated that vivisection is not just inhuman and unscientific, but that it is unscientific because it is inhuman was Sir Charles Bell … At the time the aberration of vivisection began to take root in its modern form, he declared that it could only be practiced by callous individuals, who couldn't be expected to penetrate the mysteries of life.
The desire to protect animals derives inevitably from better acquaintance with them, from the realization that they are sensitive and intelligent creatures, affectionate and seeking affection, powerless in a cruel and incomprehensible world, exposed to all the whims of the master species. According to the animal haters, those who are fond of animals are sick people. To me it seems just the other way around, that the love for animals is something more, not something less. As a rule, those who protect animals have for them the same feeling as for all the other defenseless or abused creatures: the battered or abandoned children, the sick, the inmates of penal or mental institutions, who are so often maltreated without a way of redress. And those who are fond of animals don't love them for their "animality" but for their "humanity" — their "human" qualities. By which I mean the qualities humans display when at their best, not at their worst. Man's love for the animal is, at any rate, always inferior in intensity and completeness to the love the animal has for the human being that has won its love. The human being is the elder brother, who has countless different preoccupations, activities and interests. But to the animal that loves a human being, this being is everything. That applies not only to the generous, impetuous dog, but also to the more reserved species, with which it is more difficult to establish a relationship without personal effort and plenty of patience.
It is difficult to become familiar with animals without becoming fond of them, provided one doesn't wish to domineer them. I have never heard that love for animals has changed to hate, but many cases where the opposite happened. Many hunters, obliged to observe the animals while stalking them, in time grow increasingly reluctant to kill them, and finally wish to become wardens in the national parks, to help protect them. Very few vivisectors seem to be hampered by this natural evolution that leads to the love and respect of the animals through a deeper knowledge of them.
Man is a moral creature. The moral sense is so deeply rooted in human beings that no thief, no murderer has ever asked the abrogation of the penalties against theft and murder. All the laws that have ruled human organization in the past and rule them at present are based on the moral sense: on what is right and wrong. And no religion, no legislature has ever deemed it necessary to define right and wrong, because no one has any doubt as to the meaning of these terms. Only the worshippers of the pseudoscience of modern times regard morality and immorality, justice and injustice, good and evil, as anti-scientific concepts, since it is not possible to reproduce them in a laboratory. … The reasonings of the vivisectionists are unscientific because they don't take into account the intangible realities of life. The moral law is one such intangible reality: And it is the incomprehension of this reality that marks the inescapable failure of experimental science when applied to living beings, with its inevitable sequence of tragic errors.
The moral sense is at the root of pity. Pity means compassion — the capacity to resent someone else's suffering as if it were one's own. The absence of pity is a mark of obtuseness: incapacity of identifying oneself with those who are in pain or downtrodden. Worthy of pity are mainly mistreated or bereaved children, the old, the sick, all those that are helpless and abused. This includes the majority of animals. And we mustn't ask ourselves whether or not they are able to go to heaven, whether or not they are able to reason, or to speak, or to count, or to vote, but we must ask ourselves only one question: "Are they able to suffer?" And it is their misfortune that they are only too able to suffer.