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July 3, 1967

Ethics. Research, and Animal Welfare

JAMA. 1967;201(1):66. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130010092032

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To the Editor:—  Dr. Maurice B. Visscher in his fine essay on vivisection and medical ethics (199: 631, 1967) warns of the threat to experimental medicine and biology posed by government-bureau restraint. Certainly any reasonable man must agree with him. But does not the same argument apply to government-bureau restraint of medical practice? Dr. Visscher cites John Dewey's observation that opponents of animal experimentation demand what is in effect "class legislation, putting scientific men under peculiar surveillance and limitation." Does not this argument pertain also to legislation putting under such surveillance and limitation the practicing physician, who applies medical science to the care of the human individual? Are practicing physicians less to be trusted ethically than research scientists? My experience does not tell me so—and I do not intend by this remark offense to those in research.Experience does tell me that the great majority of people in medical research