In H.G. Wells and Animals, A Troubling Legacy, I struggled to reconcile the seemingly pro-animal themes of Wells’ famous stories with his own defense of vivisection later in life. In Wells’ 1928 essay Popular Feeling and the Advancement of Science. Anti-Vivisection, transcribed here, he details his own personal views on vivisection.
H.G. Wells’ 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau is remembered as a powerful attack on vivisection, yet he himself would come to defend the practice later in life. How can we resolve the paradox between the strong pro-animal themes of Wells’ famous stories, and his own callousness toward animals harmed in the name of science?
Whether she silently took part in skinning and dissecting a companion animal—something that would cause her immense psychological pain—or stood against the practice and further alienated herself from the other students, she was facing trauma either way.
The biomedical research community has already agreed in principle that scientific use of animals should be subject to rigorous scientific review… If the practices and regulations… were changed or amended so that scientific use of animals were to be conducted in an improved and strict manner regarding the welfare of animals, we believe that animal advocates would agree not to interfere with such research or specifically object to it through targeted campaigns.