1) “7. That the evil charged against vivisection consists chiefly in the pain inflicted on the animal.
I maintain, on the contrary, that it consists chiefly in the effect produced on the operator.” (Anthology 353).
Carroll’s commentary on the seventh fallacy of vivisection greatly moved me. I felt as if he were saying, Even if we set aside the rights of an animal for moment, is not the resulting precarious state of our inherent morality and soul enough cause for concern? He brilliantly appeals to one of humanity’s most basic instincts: self-preservation. In this case, the self-preservation of one’s soul.
2) “Is the anatomist, who can contemplate unmoved the agonies he is inflicting for no higher purpose than to gratify a scientific curiosity, or to illustrate some well-established truth, a being higher or lower, in the scale of humanity, than the ignorant boor whose very soul would sicken at the horrid sight?” (Anthology 358).
Carroll’s rhetorical question (which answers itself) vividly illustrates that education does not always correspond with morality. As a liberal arts kid, I hope my education does augment my morality and sympathy for suffering. Even if reading heart wrenching immigration tales and first hand accounts of minority subjugation hasn’t forced me to contemplate my own ethical compass, I know that this class will.
3) “[A]nd when the man of science, looking forth over a world which will then own no other sway than his, shall exult in the thought that he as made of this fair green earth, if not a heaven for man, at least a hell for animals” (AA 360).
The emotional power of these lines cannot be overstated. Carroll’s final juxtaposition between heaven and hell strongly reminded me of a quote by Lucifer in Milton’s Paradise Lost: “Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.” Is humanity so consumed with asserting its dominance, with “reigning,” that we’ve created a hell for other creatures? It’s incredibly disheartening to think that we can’t coexist on “this fair green earth” without subjugating another for our own benefit.
4) “Animal suffering, once dismissed as an unavoidable certainty, inspired public sympathy” (Anthology 370).
I’m grateful that animal suffering shifted from a disregarded subject to a public travesty. I think sympathizing with the pain of animals represents an essential component to the development and preservation of our morality. In caring for other creatures, we can expand the realm of our benevolence and confirm the inherent decency of our souls. Additionally, animal sympathy has become a medium of connection for many people who’ve bonded over their extraordinary love for animals. If you need assurance of this fact (though I’m sure we don’t), try listening to this tale of a police officer and his dog without tearing up at least a little:
5) “If medical students had identified the [antivivisectionism] movement with women, people were now beginning to see it as a working-class issue” (Anthology 849).
This passage from Lansbury’s account of “Women, Workers, and Vivisection in Edwardian England” serves as evidence for Carroll’s claim that the most educated among us are not always the ones with the greatest morality. In Edwardian England, the women and working class, not the educated students, recognized and opposed the brutality of vivisection.