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  • Open Access
  • © 2017

Anti-Vivisection and the Profession of Medicine in Britain

A Social History

Palgrave Macmillan


  • Offers a refreshingly objective viewpoint on the morality of animal vivisection

  • Provides new insights into a much-studied field

  • Takes a medicine-based approach to the broader issue of animal ethics

  • Includes supplementary material:

Part of the book series: The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series (PMAES)

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxi
  2. Introduction

    • A. W. H. Bates
    Pages 1-12Open Access
  3. Vivisection, Virtue, and the Law in the Nineteenth Century

    • A. W. H. Bates
    Pages 13-41Open Access
  4. The National Anti-Vivisection Hospital, 1902–1935

    • A. W. H. Bates
    Pages 99-132Open Access
  5. Conclusion

    • A. W. H. Bates
    Pages 195-201Open Access
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 203-217

About this book

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.

This book explores the social history of the anti-vivisection movement in Britain from its nineteenth-century beginnings until the 1960s. It discusses the ethical principles that inspired the movement and the socio-political background that explains its rise and fall. Opposition to vivisection began when medical practitioners complained it was contrary to the compassionate ethos of their profession. Christian anti-cruelty organizations took up the cause out of concern that callousness among the professional classes would have a demoralizing effect on the rest of society. As the nineteenth century drew to a close, the influence of transcendentalism, Eastern religions and the spiritual revival led new age social reformers to champion a more holistic approach to science, and dismiss reliance on vivisection as a materialistic oversimplification. In response, scientists claimed it was necessary to remain objective and unemotional in order to perform the experiments necessary for medical progress.


  • Open Access
  • animal ethics
  • social history
  • anti-cruelty
  • animal experimentation
  • medical science
  • moral integrity
  • professional morality
  • utilitarianism
  • theological distinction
  • smear campaign
  • reputation

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Cellular Pathology, University College London, London, UK

    A.W.H. Bates

About the author

A.W.H. Bates is a Coroner’s Pathologist, Honorary Senior Lecturer at University College London, and Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, UK. His other books include Emblematic Monsters (2005) and The Anatomy of Robert Knox (2010).

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)