In 1952, the University of Michigan physiologist Robert Gesell shocked his colleagues at the business meeting of the American Physiological Society by reading a prepared statement in which he claimed that some of the animal experimentation being carried out by scientists was inhumane. He especially attacked the National Society for Medical Research (NSMR), an organization that had been founded to defend animal experimentation. This incident was part of a broader struggle taking place at the time between scientists and animal welfare advocates with respect to what restrictions, if any, should be placed on animal research. A particularly controversial issue was whether or not pound animals should be made available to laboratories for research. Two of the prominent players in this controversy were the NSMR and the Animal Welfare Institute, founded and run by Gesell’s daughter, Christine Stevens. This article focuses on the interaction between these two organizations within the broader context of the debate over animal experimentation in the mid-twentieth century.
Parascandola, J. (2007). Physiology, propaganda, and pound animals: Medical research and animal welfare in mid-twentieth century america. Journal of the history of medicine and allied sciences, 62(3), 277-315.