cover image The Dark Face of Science

The Dark Face of Science

John Vyvyan. Micah Publications, $8 (201pp) ISBN 978-0-916288-22-8

This is an impassioned study of the 20th century protest against vivisection by a prominent British activist who died in 1971. An accomplished stylist, Vyvyan ( In Pity and In Anger ) argues that theories of evolution, widely accepted by the turn of the century, supply ample basis for anti-vivisectionism; he appeals to ``our duty to the simpler members of our own family.'' But Vyvyan quickly parts company with the scientific community, which he indiscriminately indicts for its willingness to disregard ``charity'' in pursuit of learning, and profiles instead those who have championed his cause. Vivisection, the author maintains, is so volatile an issue that it elicits fervor from proponents and opponents alike: a statue, erected in Battersea, England, in 1906 to honor a dog allegedly illegally abused during a vivisectionist experiment, required a police guard to prevent medical students from defacing it from 1907 to 1910, when the monument was removed. Vyvyan's discussion concludes in 1962 with the first U.S. Congressional inquiry into the treatment of animals used in research. (May)