Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Brown Dog Affair

The original statue, by Joseph Whitehead, was erected in 1906 in
Battersea's Latchmere Recreation Ground and presumed destroyed in 1910.

In 1903 a large brown dog was dissected while alive by Dr. William Bayliss  during a lecture to 60 medical students at the University of London in the UK. Two Swedish animal rights campaigners had infiltrated Bayliss’s lecture. They maintained that the dog had been conscious and struggling while the procedure was conducted without anesthetic which would have been illegal. The National Anti-Vivisection Society condemned Bayliss who was outraged by the assault on his reputation and sued for libel and won. The publicity surrounding the suit drew many to the anti-vivisectionist movement.

A bronze memorial to the brown terrier was erected in the London Borough of Battersea, at the Latchmere Recreation Ground. The monument bore the following inscription:

In Memory of the Brown Terrier Dog Done to Death in the Laboratories of University College in February 1903 after having endured Vivisections extending over more than two months and having been handed over from one Vivisector to another till Death came to his release. Also in memory of the 232 dogs vivisected in the same place during the year 1902.
Men and Women of England
How long shall these things be ?
Medical students considered the memorial provocative. On 10 December 1907 1,000 medical students marched through central London waving effigies of the brown dog on sticks, clashing with suffragettes, trade unionists and 400 police officers, one of a series of battles known as the Brown Dog riots. The Battersea Council ordered the statue removed and it was likely melted down.
The little dog was not forgotten. More than 70 years later, in 1985, a new statue by sculptor, Nicola Hicks, was erected in Battersea Park bearing the same inscription as the original.

Second Brown Dog statue, now in the Old English Garden, Battersea Park
© National Anti-Vivisection Society.

No comments: