Brown Dog affair



The Brown Dog affair was a political controversy about vivisection that raged in Britain from 1903 until 1910. It involved the infiltration of
University of London The University of London (UoL; abbreviated as Lond or more rarely Londin in post-nominals) is a federal public research university located in London, England, United Kingdom. The university was established by royal charter in 1836 as a degree ...
medical lectures by Swedish feminists, battles between medical students and the police, police protection for the statue of a dog, a libel trial at the
Royal Courts of Justice The Royal Courts of Justice, commonly called the Law Courts, is a court building in Westminster which houses the High Court and Court of Appeal of England and Wales. The High Court also sits on circuit and in other major cities. Designed by Ge ...
, and the establishment of a Royal Commission to investigate the use of animals in experiments. The affair became a that divided the country. The controversy was triggered by allegations that, in February 1903, William Bayliss of the Department of Physiology at
University College London , mottoeng = Let all come who by merit deserve the most reward , established = , type = Public research university , endowment = £143 million (2020) , budget = ...
performed an illegal vivisection, before an audience of 60 medical students, on a brown terrier dog—adequately anaesthetized, according to Bayliss and his team; conscious and struggling, according to the Swedish activists. The procedure was condemned as cruel and unlawful by the National Anti-Vivisection Society. Outraged by the assault on his reputation, Bayliss, whose research on dogs led to the discovery of hormones, sued for libel and won. Anti-vivisectionists commissioned a bronze statue of the dog as a memorial, unveiled on the Latchmere Recreation Ground in Battersea in 1906, but medical students were angered by its provocative plaque—"Men and women of England, how long shall these Things be?"—leading to frequent vandalism of the memorial and the need for a 24-hour police guard against the so-called anti-doggers. On 10 December 1907, hundreds of medical students marched through central London waving effigies of the brown dog on sticks, clashing with suffragettes, trade unionists and 300 police officers, one of a series of battles known as the Brown Dog riots. In March 1910, tired of the controversy, Battersea Council sent four workers accompanied by 120 police officers to remove the statue under cover of darkness, after which it was reportedly melted down by the council's blacksmith, despite a 20,000-strong petition in its favour. A new statue of the brown dog, commissioned by anti-vivisection groups, was erected in
Battersea Park Battersea Park is a 200-acre (83-hectare) green space at Battersea in the London Borough of Wandsworth in London. It is situated on the south bank of the River Thames opposite Chelsea and was opened in 1858. The park occupies marshland recla ...
in 1985. On 6 September 2021, the 115th anniversary of when the original statue was unveiled, a new campaign was launched by author Paula S. Owen to recast the original statue.


Cruelty to Animals Act 1876

There was significant opposition to vivisection in England, in both houses of Parliament, during the reign of
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and 216 days was longer than that of any previo ...
(1837–1901); the Queen herself strongly opposed it. The term ''vivisection'' referred to the dissection of living animals, with and without
anaesthesia Anesthesia is a state of controlled, temporary loss of sensation or awareness that is induced for medical or veterinary purposes. It may include some or all of analgesia (relief from or prevention of pain), paralysis (muscle relaxation), a ...
, often in front of audiences of medical students. In 1878 there were under 300 experiments on animals in the UK, a figure that had risen to 19,084 in 1903 when the brown dog was vivisected (according to the inscription on the second Brown Dog statue), and to five million by 1970. Physiologists in the 19th century were frequently criticized for their work. The prominent French physiologist
Claude Bernard Claude Bernard (; 12 July 1813 – 10 February 1878) was a French physiologist. Historian I. Bernard Cohen of Harvard University called Bernard "one of the greatest of all men of science". He originated the term '' milieu intérieur'', and the ...
appears to have shared the distaste of his critics, who included his wife, referring to "the science of life" as a "superb and dazzlingly lighted hall which may be reached only by passing through a long and ghastly kitchen". In 1875 Irish feminist Frances Power Cobbe founded the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) in London and in 1898 the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV). The former sought to restrict vivisection and the latter to abolish it. The opposition led the British government, in July 1875, to set up the first Royal Commission on the "Practice of Subjecting Live Animals to Experiments for Scientific Purposes". After hearing that researchers did not use anaesthesia regularly—one scientist, Emmanuel Klein told the commission he had "no regard at all" for the suffering of the animals—the commission recommended a series of measures, including a ban on experiments on dogs, cats, horses, donkeys and mules. The General Medical Council and '' British Medical Journal'' objected, so additional protection was introduced instead. The result was the
Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 The Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 ( 39 & 40 Vict. c. 77.) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which set limits on the practice of, and instituted a licensing system for animal experimentation, amending the Cruelty to Animals Act 1 ...
, criticized by NAVS as "infamous but well-named". The act stipulated that researchers could not be prosecuted for cruelty, but that the animal must be anaesthetized, unless the anaesthesia would interfere with the point of the experiment. Each animal could be used only once, although several procedures regarded as part of the same experiment were permitted. The animal had to be killed when the study was over, unless doing so would frustrate the object of the experiment. Prosecutions could take place only with the approval of the
home secretary The secretary of state for the Home Department, otherwise known as the home secretary, is a senior minister of the Crown in the Government of the United Kingdom. The home secretary leads the Home Office, and is responsible for all national s ...
. At the time of the Brown Dog affair this was
Aretas Akers-Douglas Aretas Akers-Douglas may refer to: * Aretas Akers-Douglas, 1st Viscount Chilston (1851–1926), British Conservative politician * Aretas Akers-Douglas, 2nd Viscount Chilston Aretas Akers-Douglas, 2nd Viscount Chilston, (17 February 1876 – 25 ...
, who was unsympathetic to the anti-vivisectionist cause.

Ernest Starling and William Bayliss

In the early 20th century, Ernest Starling, professor of physiology at University College London, and his brother-in-law William Bayliss, were using vivisection on dogs to determine whether the
nervous system In biology, the nervous system is the highly complex part of an animal that coordinates its actions and sensory information by transmitting signals to and from different parts of its body. The nervous system detects environmental changes ...
pancreatic The pancreas is an organ of the digestive system and endocrine system of vertebrates. In humans, it is located in the abdomen behind the stomach and functions as a gland. The pancreas is a mixed or heterocrine gland, i.e. it has both an endocr ...
secretions, as postulated by Ivan Pavlov. Bayliss had held a licence to practice vivisection since 1890 and had taught physiology since 1900. According to Starling's biographer John Henderson, Starling and Bayliss were "compulsive experimenters", and Starling's lab was the busiest in London. The men knew that the pancreas produces digestive juices in response to increased acidity in the duodenum and
jejunum The jejunum is the second part of the small intestine in humans and most higher vertebrates, including mammals, reptiles, and birds. Its lining is specialised for the absorption by enterocytes of small nutrient molecules which have been previou ...
, because of the arrival of chyme there. By severing the duodenal and jejunal nerves in anaesthetized dogs, while leaving the blood vessels intact, then introducing acid into the duodenum and jejunum, they discovered that the process is not mediated by a nervous response, but by a new type of chemical reflex. They named the chemical messenger secretin, because it is secreted by the intestinal lining into the bloodstream, stimulating the pancreas on circulation. In 1905 Starling coined the term '' hormone''—from the Greek ''hormao'' meaning "I arouse" or "I excite"—to describe chemicals such as secretin that are capable, in extremely small quantities, of stimulating organs from a distance. Bayliss and Starling had also used vivisection on anaesthetized dogs to discover
peristalsis Peristalsis ( , ) is a radially symmetrical contraction and relaxation of muscles that propagate in a wave down a tube, in an anterograde direction. Peristalsis is progression of coordinated contraction of involuntary circular muscles, whic ...
in 1899. They went on to discover a variety of other important physiological phenomena and principles, many of which were based on their experimental work involving animal vivisection.

Lizzy Lind af Hageby and Leisa Schartau

Starling and Bayliss's lectures had been infiltrated by two Swedish feminists and anti-vivisection activists,
Lizzy Lind af Hageby Emilie Augusta Louise "Lizzy" Lind af Hageby (20 September 1878 – 26 December 1963) was a Swedish-British feminist and animal rights advocate who became a prominent anti- vivisection activist in England in the early 20th century. Born t ...
and Leisa Schartau. The women had known each other since childhood and came from distinguished families; Lind af Hageby, who had attended
Cheltenham Ladies College Cheltenham Ladies' College is an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. Consistently ranked as one of the top all-girls' schools nationally, the school was established in 1853 to pr ...
, was the granddaughter of a
chamberlain Chamberlain may refer to: Profession *Chamberlain (office), the officer in charge of managing the household of a sovereign or other noble figure People *Chamberlain (surname) **Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855–1927), German-British philosop ...
to the king of Sweden."Her Career Arranged by a Little Brown Dog". ''The Oregon Daily Journal''. 7 March 1909, 31. In 1900 the women visited the Pasteur Institute in Paris, a centre of animal experimentation, and were shocked by the rooms full of caged animals given diseases by the researchers. When they returned home, they founded the Anti-Vivisection Society of Sweden, and to gain medical training to help their campaigning, they enrolled in 1902 at the
London School of Medicine for Women The London School of Medicine for Women (LSMW) established in 1874 was the first medical school in Britain to train women as doctors. The patrons, vice-presidents, and members of the committee that supported and helped found the London School of Me ...
, a vivisection-free college that had visiting arrangements with other colleges. They attended 100 lectures and demonstrations at King's and University College, including 50 experiments on live animals, of which 20 were what Mason called "full-scale vivisection". Their diary, at first called ''Eye-Witnesses'', was later published as ''The Shambles of Science: Extracts from the Diary of Two Students of Physiology'' (1903); ''shambles'' was a name for a slaughterhouse. The women were present when the brown dog was vivisected, and wrote a chapter about it entitled "Fun", referring to the laughter they said they heard in the lecture room during the procedure. The following year, a revised edition was published without that chapter; the authors wrote: "The story of the thrice vivisected brown dog as told by its vivisectors to the Lord Chief Justice and a special jury, and as it is found in the verbatim report of the trial, proved the true nature of vivisection far better than the chapter 'Fun' which can now be dispensed with."

The brown dog

Vivisection of the dog

According to Starling, the brown dog was "a small brown mongrel allied to a terrier with short roughish hair, about 14–15 lb . 6 kgin weight". He was first used in a vivisection in December 1902 by Starling, who cut open his abdomen and ligated the
pancreatic duct The pancreatic duct, or duct of Wirsung (also, the major pancreatic duct due to the existence of an accessory pancreatic duct), is a duct joining the pancreas to the common bile duct. This supplies it with pancreatic juice from the exocrine pancr ...
. For the next two months he lived in a cage, until Starling and Bayliss used him again for two procedures on 2 February 1903, the day the Swedish women were present. Outside the lecture room before the students arrived, according to testimony Starling and others gave in court, Starling cut the dog open again to inspect the results of the previous surgery, which took about 45 minutes, after which he clamped the wound with forceps and handed the dog over to Bayliss. Bayliss cut a new opening in the dog's neck to expose the lingual nerves of the
salivary gland The salivary glands in mammals are exocrine glands that produce saliva through a system of ducts. Humans have three paired major salivary glands ( parotid, submandibular, and sublingual), as well as hundreds of minor salivary glands. Salivary ...
s, to which he attached electrodes. The aim was to stimulate the nerves with electricity to demonstrate that salivary pressure was independent of blood pressure. The dog was then carried to the lecture theatre, stretched on his back on an operating board, with his legs tied to the board, his head clamped and his mouth muzzled. According to Bayliss, the dog had been given a morphine injection earlier in the day, then was anaesthetized during the procedure with six fluid ounces of alcohol, chloroform and ether (ACE), delivered from an ante-room to a tube in his trachea, via a pipe hidden behind the bench on which the men were working. The Swedish students disputed that the dog had been adequately anaesthetized. They said the dog had appeared conscious during the procedure, had tried to lift himself off the board, and that there was no smell of anaesthesia or the usual hissing sound of the apparatus. Other students said the dog had not struggled, but had merely twitched. In front of around 60 students, Bayliss stimulated the nerves with electricity for half an hour, but was unable to demonstrate his point. The dog was then handed to a student, Henry Dale, a future Nobel laureate, who removed the dog's pancreas, then killed him with a knife through the heart. This became a point of embarrassment during the libel trial, when Bayliss's laboratory assistant, Charles Scuttle, testified that the dog had been killed with chloroform or the ACE mixture. After Scuttle's testimony, Dale told the court that he had, in fact, used a knife.

Women's diary

On 14 April 1903 Lind af Hageby and Schartau showed their unpublished 200-page diary, published later that year as ''The Shambles of Science'', to the barrister Stephen Coleridge, secretary of the National Anti-Vivisection Society. Coleridge was the son of John Duke Coleridge, former Lord Chief Justice of England, and great-grandson of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. His attention was drawn to the account of the brown dog. The 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act forbade the use of an animal in more than one experiment, yet it appeared that the brown dog had been used by Starling to perform surgery on the pancreas, used again by him when he opened the dog to inspect the results of the previous surgery, and used for a third time by Bayliss to study the salivary glands. The diary said of the procedures on the brown dog:
Today's lecture will include a repetition of a demonstration which failed last time. A large dog, stretched on its back on an operation board, is carried into the lecture-room by the demonstrator and the laboratory attendant. Its legs are fixed to the board, its head is firmly held in the usual manner, and it is tightly muzzled. There is a large incision in the side of the neck, exposing the gland. The animal exhibits all signs of intense suffering; in his struggles, he again and again lifts his body from the board, and makes powerful attempts to get free.
The allegations of repeated use and inadequate anaesthesia represented '' prima facie'' violations of the Cruelty to Animals Act. In addition the diary said the dog had been killed by Henry Dale, an unlicensed research student, and that the students had laughed during the procedure; there were "jokes and laughter everywhere" in the lecture hall, it said.

Coleridge's speech

According to Mason, Coleridge decided there was no point in relying on a prosecution under the act, which he regarded as deliberately obstructive. Instead he gave an angry speech about the dog on 1 May 1903 to the annual meeting of the National Anti-Vivisection Society at
St James's Hall St. James's Hall was a concert hall in London that opened on 25 March 1858, designed by architect and artist Owen Jones, who had decorated the interior of the Crystal Palace. It was situated between the Quadrant in Regent Street and Piccadilly, ...
in Piccadilly, attended by 2,000–3,000 people. Mason writes that support and apologies for absence were sent by
Jerome K. Jerome Jerome Klapka Jerome (2 May 1859 – 14 June 1927) was an English writer and humourist, best known for the comic travelogue ''Three Men in a Boat'' (1889). Other works include the essay collections '' Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow'' (1886) an ...
, Thomas Hardy and Rudyard Kipling. Coleridge accused the scientists of torture: "If this is not torture, let Mr. Bayliss and his friends ... tell us in Heaven's name what torture is." Details of the speech were published the next day by the radical '' Daily News'' (founded in 1846 by
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian e ...
), and questions were raised in the House of Commons, particularly by Sir Frederick Banbury, a Conservative MP and sponsor of a bill aimed at ending vivisection demonstrations. Banbury asked the Home Secretary to state "under what certificate the operation on a brown dog was performed at University College Hospital on Feb. 2 last; and, whether, seeing that a second operation was performed upon this animal before the wounds caused by the first operation had healed, he proposes to take any action in the matter." Bayliss demanded a public apology from Coleridge, and when by 12 May it had failed to materialize he issued a writ for libel. Ernest Starling decided not to sue; '' The Lancet'', no friend of Coleridge, wrote that "it may be contended that Dr. Starling and Mr. Bayliss committed a technical infringement of the Act under which they performed their experiments." Coleridge tried to persuade the women not to publish their diary before the trial began, but they went ahead anyway, and it was published by Ernest Bell of Covent Garden in July 1903.

''Bayliss v. Coleridge''


The trial opened at the Old Bailey on 11 November 1903 before Lord Alverstone, the Lord Chief Justice, and lasted four days, closing on 18 November. There were queues 30 yards long outside the courthouse. Bayliss's barrister, Rufus Isaacs, called Starling as his first witness. Starling admitted that he had broken the law by using the dog twice, but said that he had done so to avoid sacrificing two dogs. Bayliss testified that the dog had been given one-and-a-half grains of morphia earlier in the day, then six ounces of alcohol, chloroform and ether, delivered from an ante room to a tube connected to the dog's trachea. The tubes were fragile, he said, and had the dog been struggling they would have broken. A veterinarian, Alfred Sewell, said the system Bayliss was using was unlikely to be adequate, but other witnesses, including Frederick Hobday of the Royal Veterinary College, disagreed; there was even a claim that Bayliss had used too much anaesthesia, which is why the dog had failed to respond to the electrical stimulation. According to Bayliss, the dog had been suffering from
chorea Chorea (or choreia, occasionally) is an abnormal involuntary movement disorder, one of a group of neurological disorders called dyskinesias. The term ''chorea'' is derived from the grc, χορεία ("dance"; see choreia), as the quick movem ...
, a disease that causes involuntary spasm, and that any movement reported by Lind af Hageby and Schartau had not been purposive. Four students, three women and a man, testified that the dog had seemed unconscious. Coleridge's barrister, John Lawson Walton, called Lind af Hageby and Schartau. They repeated they had been the first students to arrive and had been left alone with the dog for about two minutes. They had observed scars from the previous operations and an incision in the neck where two tubes had been placed. They had not smelled the anaesthetic and had not seen any apparatus delivering it. They said, Mason wrote, that the dog had arched his back and jerked his legs in what they regarded as an effort to escape. When the experiment began the dog continued to "upheave its abdomen" and tremble, they said, movements they regarded as "violent and purposeful". Bayliss's lawyer criticized Coleridge for having accepted the women's statements without seeking corroboration, and for speaking about the issue publicly without first approaching Bayliss, despite knowing that doing so could lead to litigation. Coleridge replied that he had not sought verification because he knew the claims would be denied, and that he continued to regard the women's statement as true. ''The Times'' wrote of his testimony: "The Defendant, when placed in the witness box, did as much damage to his own case as the time at his disposal for the purpose would allow."


Lord Alverstone told the jury that the case was an important one of national interest. He called ''The Shambles of Science'' "hysterical" and advised the jury not to be swayed by arguments about the validity of vivisection. After retiring for 25 minutes on 18 November 1903, the jury unanimously found that Bayliss had been defamed, to the applause of physicians in the public gallery. Bayliss was awarded £2,000 with £3,000 costs; Coleridge gave him a cheque the next day. The ''Daily News'' asked for donations to cover Coleridge's costs and raised £5,700 within four months. Bayliss donated his damages to UCL for use in research; according to Mason, Bayliss ignored the ''Daily Mail''s suggestion that he call it the "Stephen Coleridge Vivisection Fund". Gratzer wrote in 2004 that the fund may still have been in use then to buy animals. ''The Times'' declared itself satisfied with the verdict, although it criticized the rowdy behaviour of medical students during the trial, accusing them of "medical hooliganism". The ''Sun'', ''Star'' and ''Daily News'' backed Coleridge, calling the decision a miscarriage of justice. Ernest Bell, publisher of ''The Shambles of Science'', apologized to Bayliss on 25 November, and pledged to withdraw the diary and pass its remaining copies to Bayliss's solicitors.. The
Animal Defence and Anti-Vivisection Society The Animal Defence and Anti-Vivisection Society (ADAVS) was an animal rights advocacy organisation, co-founded in England, in 1903, by the animal rights advocates Lizzy Lind af Hageby, a Swedish-British feminist, and the English peeress Nina Do ...
, founded by Lind af Hageby in 1903, republished the book, printing a fifth edition by 1913. The chapter "Fun" was replaced by one called "The Vivisections of the Brown Dog", describing the experiment and the trial. The novelist Thomas Hardy kept a copy of the book on a table for visitors; he told a correspondent that he had "not really ''read'' t but everybody who comes into this room, where it lies on my table, dips into it, etc, and, I hope, profits something". According to historian Hilda Kean, the Research Defence Society, a lobby group founded in 1908 to counteract the antivivisectionist campaign, discussed how to have the revised editions withdrawn because of the book's impact. In December 1903 Mark Twain, who opposed vivisection, published a short story, '' A Dog's Tale'', in ''Harper's'', written from the point of view of a dog whose puppy is experimented on and killed. Given the timing and Twain's views, the story may have been inspired by the libel trial, according to Mark Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin. Coleridge ordered 3,000 copies of ''A Dog's Tale'', which were specially printed for him by ''Harper's''.

Second Royal Commission on Vivisection

On 17 September 1906, the government appointed the Second Royal Commission on Vivisection, which heard evidence from scientists and anti-vivisection groups; Ernest Starling addressed the commission for three days in December 1906. After much delay (two of its ten members died and several fell ill), the commission reported its findings in March 1912. Its 139-page report recommended an increase in the number of full-time inspectors from two to four, and restrictions on the use of
curare Curare ( /kʊˈrɑːri/ or /kjʊˈrɑːri/; ''koo-rah-ree'' or ''kyoo-rah-ree'') is a common name for various alkaloid arrow poisons originating from plant extracts. Used as a paralyzing agent by indigenous peoples in Central and South ...
, a poison used to immobilize animals during experiments. The Commission decided that animals should be adequately anaesthetized, and euthanized if the pain was likely to continue, and experiments should not be performed "as an illustration of lectures" in medical schools and similar. All the restrictions could be lifted if they would "frustrate the object of the experiment". There was also a tightening of the definition and practice of pithing. The Commission recommended the maintenance of more detailed records and the establishment of a committee to advise the Secretary of State on matters related to the Cruelty to Animals Act. The latter became the Animal Procedures Committee under the
Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, sometimes referred to as ASPA, is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (1986 c. 14) passed in 1986, which regulates the use of animals used for research in the UK. The Act ...

Brown Dog memorial

After the trial Anna Louisa Woodward, founder of the World League Against Vivisection, raised £120 for a public memorial and commissioned a bronze statue of the dog from sculptor Joseph Whitehead. The statue sat on top of a granite memorial stone, 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m) tall, that housed a drinking fountain for human beings and a lower trough for dogs and horses. It also carried an inscription ''(right)'', described by ''The New York Times'' in 1910 as the "hysterical language customary of anti-vivisectionists" and "a slander on the whole medical profession". The group turned to the borough of Battersea for a location for the memorial. Lansbury wrote that the area was a hotbed of radicalism—proletarian, socialist, full of belching smoke and slums, and closely associated with the anti-vivisection movement. The National Anti-Vivisection and Battersea General Hospital—opened in 1896, on the corner of Albert Bridge Road and Prince of Wales Drive, and closed in 1972—refused until 1935 to perform vivisection or employ doctors who engaged in it, and was known locally as the "antiviv" or the "old anti". The chairman of the Battersea Dogs Home,
William Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland William John Arthur Charles James Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland, (28 December 1857 – 26 April 1943), known as William Cavendish-Bentinck until 1879, was a British landowner, courtier, and Conservative politician. He notably ser ...
, rejected a request in 1907 that its lost dogs be sold to vivisectors as "not only horrible, but absurd". Battersea council agreed to provide space for the statue on its Latchmere Recreation Ground, part of the council's new Latchmere Estate, which offered terraced homes to rent for seven and sixpence a week. The statue was unveiled on 15 September 1906 in front of a large crowd, with speakers that included George Bernard Shaw, the Irish feminist
Charlotte Despard Charlotte Despard (née French; 15 June 1844 – 10 November 1939) was an Anglo-Irish suffragist, socialist, pacifist, Sinn Féin activist, and novelist. She was a founding member of the Women's Freedom League, Women's Peace Crusade, and the ...
, the mayor of Battersea, James H. Brown (secretary of the Battersea Trades and Labour Council), and the Reverend Charles Noel.


November–December 1907

Medical students at London's teaching hospitals were enraged by the plaque. The first year of the statue's existence was a quiet one, while University College explored whether they could take legal action over it, but from November 1907 the students turned Battersea into the scene of frequent disruption. The first action was on 20 November, when undergraduate William Howard Lister led a group of medical students across the Thames to Battersea to attack the statue with a crowbar and sledgehammer. One of them, Duncan Jones, hit the statue with a hammer, denting it, at which point all ten were arrested by just two police officers."Medical students fined". ''The Times''. 22 November 1907, 13. According to Mason, a local doctor told the ''South Western Star'' that this signalled the "utter degeneration" of junior doctors: "I can remember the time when it was more than 10 policemen could do to take one student. The Anglo-Saxon race is played out." The students were fined £5 by the magistrate, Paul Taylor, at South-West London Police Court in Battersea and warned they would be jailed next time. This triggered another protest two days later, when medical students from UCL, King's, Guy's, and the West Middlesex hospitals marched along the Strand toward King's College, waving miniature brown dogs on sticks and a life-sized effigy of the magistrate, and singing, "Let's hang Paul Taylor on a sour apple tree / As we go marching on." ''The Times'' reported that they tried to burn the effigy but, unable to light it, threw it in the Thames instead. Women's suffrage meetings were invaded, although the students knew that not all suffragettes were anti-vivisectionists. A meeting organized by Millicent Fawcett on 5 December 1907 at the Paddington Baths Hall in Bayswater was left with chairs and tables smashed and one steward with a torn ear. Two fireworks were let off, and Fawcett's speech was drowned out by students singing "
John Brown's Body "John Brown's Body" (originally known as "John Brown's Song") is a United States marching song about the abolitionist John Brown. The song was popular in the Union during the American Civil War. The tune arose out of the folk hymn tradition o ...
", after which they marched down Queen's Road led by someone with bagpipes. The ''Daily Express'' reported the meeting as "Medical Students' Gallant Fight with Women".

10 December 1907

The rioting reached its height five days later, on Tuesday, 10 December, when 100 medical students tried to pull the memorial down. The previous protests had been spontaneous, but this one was organized to coincide with the annual Oxford–Cambridge rugby match at Queen's Club, West Kensington. The protesters hoped (in vain, as it turned out) that some of the thousands of Oxbridge students would swell their numbers. The intention was that, after toppling the statue and throwing it in the Thames, 2,000–3,000 students would meet at 11:30 pm in Trafalgar Square. Street vendors sold handkerchiefs stamped with the date of the protest and the words, "Brown Dog's inscription is a lie, and the statuette an insult to the London University." In the afternoon protesters headed for the statue, but were driven off by locals. The students proceeded down Battersea Park Road instead, intending to attack the Anti-Vivisection Hospital, but were again forced back. When one student fell from the top of a
tram A tram (called a streetcar or trolley in North America) is a rail vehicle that travels on tramway tracks on public urban streets; some include segments on segregated right-of-way. The tramlines or networks operated as public transport are ...
, the workers shouted that it was "the brown dog's revenge" and refused to take him to hospital. The ''British Medical Journal'' responded that, given that it was the Anti-Vivisection Hospital, the crowd's actions may have been "prompted by benevolence". A second group of students headed for central London, waving effigies of the brown dog, joined by a police escort and, briefly, a busker with bagpipes. As the marchers reached Trafalgar Square, they were 400 strong, facing 200–300 police officers, 15 of them on horseback. The students gathered around
Nelson's Column Nelson's Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built to commemorate Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson's decisive victory at the Battle of Trafalgar over the combined French and Spanish navies, during whic ...
, where the ringleaders climbed onto its base to make speeches. While students fought with police on the ground, mounted police charged the crowd, scattering them into smaller groups and arresting the stragglers, including one undergraduate, Alexander Bowley, who was arrested for "barking like a dog". The fighting continued for hours before the police gained control. At Bow Street magistrate's court the next day, ten students were bound over to keep the peace; several were fined 40 shillings, or £3 if they had fought with police.

Strange relationships

Rioting broke out elsewhere over the following days and months, as medical and veterinary students united. Whenever Lizzy Lind af Hageby spoke, students would shout her down. When she arranged a meeting of the Ealing and Acton Anti-Vivisection Society at Acton Central Hall on 11 December 1906, over 100 students disrupted it, throwing chairs and stink bombs, particularly when she objected to a student blowing her a kiss. The ''Daily Chronicle'' reported: "The rest of Miss Lind-af-Hageby's indignation was lost in a beautiful 'eggy' atmosphere that was now rolling heavily across the hall. 'Change your socks!' shouted one of the students." Furniture was smashed and clothing torn. For Susan McHugh of the University of New England, the political coalition of trade unionists, socialists, Marxists, liberals and suffragettes that rallied to the statue's defence reflected the brown dog's mongrel status. The riots saw them descend on Battersea to fight the medical students, even though, she writes, the suffragettes were not a group toward whom male workers felt any warmth. But the "Brown Terrier Dog Done to Death" by the male scientific establishment united them all. Lizzy Lind af-Hageby and Charlotte Despard saw the affair as a battle between feminism and
machismo Machismo (; ; ; ) is the sense of being " manly" and self-reliant, a concept associated with "a strong sense of masculine pride: an exaggerated masculinity". Machismo is a term originating in the early 1930s and 1940s best defined as hav ...
. According to
Coral Lansbury Coral Magnolia Lansbury (14 October 1929 – 3 April 1991) was an Australian-born feminist writer and academic. Working in the United States from 1969 until her death, she became Distinguished Professor of English and Dean of Graduate Studies at ...
, the fight for women's suffrage became closely linked with the anti-vivisection movement, and the iconography of vivisection struck a chord with women. Three of the four vice-presidents of the National Anti-Vivisection Hospital were women. Lansbury argues that the Brown Dog affair became a matter of opposing symbols: the vivisected dog on the operating board blurred into images of suffragettes force-fed in
Brixton Prison HM Prison Brixton is a local men's prison, located in Brixton area of the London Borough of Lambeth, in inner-South London. The prison is operated by His Majesty's Prison Service. History The prison was originally built in 1820 and opened a ...
, or women strapped down for childbirth or forced to have their ovaries and uteruses removed as a cure for " mania". The "vivisected animal stood for vivisected woman". Both sides saw themselves as heirs to the future. Hilda Kean writes that the Swedish activists were young and female, anti-establishment and progressive, and viewed the scientists as remnants of a previous age. Their access to higher education had made the case possible, creating what feminist scholar Susan Hamilton called a "new form of witnessing". Against this, Lansbury writes, the students saw themselves and their teachers as the "New Priesthood" and the women and trade unionists as representatives of superstition and sentimentality.

"Exit the 'Brown Dog'"

Questions were asked in the House of Commons about the cost of policing the statue, which required six constables a day at a cost of £700 a year. In February 1908 Sir Philip Magnus, MP for the London University constituency, asked the Home Secretary, Herbert Gladstone, "whether his attention has been called to the special expense of police protection of a public monument at Battersea that bears a controversial inscription". Gladstone replied that six constables were needed daily to protect the statue, and that the overall cost of extra policing had been equivalent to employing 27 inspectors, 55 sergeants, and 1,083 constables for a day. London's police commissioner wrote to Battersea Council to ask that they contribute to the cost. Councillor John Archer, later Mayor of Battersea and the first black mayor in London, told the ''Daily Mail'' that he was amazed by the request, considering Battersea was already paying £22,000 a year in police rates. The Canine Defence League wondered whether, if Battersea were to organize raids on laboratories, the laboratories would be asked to pay the policing costs themselves. Other councillors suggested the statue be encased in a steel cage and surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Suggestions were made through the letters pages of the ''Times'' and elsewhere that it be moved, perhaps to the grounds of the Anti-Vivisection Hospital. The ''British Medical Journal'' wrote in March 1910:
May we suggest that the most appropriate resting place for the rejected work of art is the Home for Lost Dogs at Battersea, where it could be "done to death", as the inscription says, with a hammer in the presence of Miss Woodword, the Rev. Lionel S. Lewis, and other friends; if their feelings were too much for them, doubtless an anaesthetic could be administered.
Battersea Council grew tired of the controversy. A new Conservative council was elected in November 1909 amid talk of removing the statue. There were protests in support of it, and the 500-strong Brown Dog memorial defence committee was established. Twenty thousand people signed a petition, and 1,500 attended a rally in February 1910 addressed by Lind af Hageby, Charlotte Despard and Liberal MP George Greenwood. There were more demonstrations in central London and speeches in Hyde Park, with supporters wearing masks of dogs. The protests were to no avail. The statue was quietly removed before dawn on 10 March 1910 by four council workmen, accompanied by 120 police officers. Nine days later, 3,000 anti-vivisectionists gathered in Trafalgar Square to demand its return, but it was clear by then that Battersea Council had turned its back on the affair. The statue was at first hidden in the borough surveyor's bicycle shed, according to a letter his daughter wrote in 1956 to the ''British Medical Journal'', then reportedly destroyed by a council blacksmith, who melted it down. Anti-vivisectionists filed a High Court petition demanding its return, but the case was dismissed in January 1911.

New memorial

On 12 December 1985, over 75 years after the statue's removal, a new memorial to the brown dog was unveiled by actress Geraldine James in Battersea Park behind the Pump House. Created by sculptor Nicola Hicks and commissioned by the National Anti-Vivisection Society and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, the new bronze dog is mounted on a Portland stone plinth and based on Hicks's own terrier, Brock. Peter Mason described it as "a coquettish contrast to its down-to-earth predecessor". The ''British Medical Journal'' (Clinical Research Edition) published an editorial in March 1986, "A new antivivisectionist libellous statue at Battersea", criticizing Battersea Council and the Greater London Council for allowing it. Echoing the fate of the previous memorial, the new dog was moved into storage in 1992 by Battersea Park's owners, the Conservative Borough of Wandsworth, they said as part of a park renovation scheme. Anti-vivisectionists campaigned for its return, suspicious of the explanation. It was reinstated in the park's Woodland Walk in 1994, near the Old English Garden, a more secluded spot than before. The new statue was criticized in 2003 by historian Hilda Kean. She saw the old Brown Dog as a radical statement, upright and defiant: "The dog has changed from a public image of defiance to a pet". For Kean, the new Brown Dog, located near the Old English Garden as "heritage", is too safe; unlike its controversial ancestor, she argues, it makes no one uncomfortable. On 6 September 2021, the 115th anniversary of when the original statue was unveiled, a new campaign was launched by author Paula S. Owen to recast the original statue. Owen is author of ''Little Brown Dog'', a novel that is based on the true story.

See also

Animal welfare in the United Kingdom Animal welfare in the United Kingdom relates to the treatment of animals in fields such as agriculture, hunting, medical testing and the domestic ownership of animals. It is distinct from animal conservation. Laws The Animal Welfare Act 2006 ...
* List of public art in Wandsworth * Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act 1822 *
Cruelty to Animals Act 1835 The Cruelty to Animals Act 1835 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (5 & 6 Will. 4, c. 59), intended to protect animals, and in particular cattle, from mistreatment. Its long title is An Act to Consolidate and Amend the Several ...
Cruelty to Animals Act 1849 The Cruelty to Animals Act 1849The citation of this Act by this short title was authorised by the Short Titles Act 1896, section 1 and the first schedule. Due to the repeal of those provisions it is now authorised by section 19(2) of the Interpre ...
Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 The Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 ( 39 & 40 Vict. c. 77.) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which set limits on the practice of, and instituted a licensing system for animal experimentation, amending the Cruelty to Animals Act 1 ...
* Wild Animals in Captivity Protection Act 1900 *
Protection of Animals Act 1911 The Protection of Animals Act 1911 (c. 27) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It received royal assent on 18 August 1911. The act consolidated several previous pieces of legislation, among others repealing the Cruelty to Animals ...
* Protection of Animals Act 1934 *
Abandonment of Animals Act 1960 The Abandonment of Animals Act 1960 (8 & 9 Eliz. II c. 43) was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom. It received Royal Assent on 2 June 1960. The Act made it a criminal offense to abandon an animal, or permit it to be abandoned, "in circum ...
Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, sometimes referred to as ASPA, is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (1986 c. 14) passed in 1986, which regulates the use of animals used for research in the UK. The Act ...
Animal Welfare Act 2006 The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (c 45) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Overview It is the first signing of pet law since the Protection of Animals Act 1911, which it largely replaced. It also superseded and consolidated more tha ...
Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 (asp 11) is an Act of the Scottish Parliament. It received Royal Assent on 11 July 2006. The act consolidated, repealed and replaced many other pieces of legislation, such as the Protection of An ...
RSPCA The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is a charity operating in England and Wales that promotes animal welfare. The RSPCA is funded primarily by voluntary donations. Founded in 1824, it is the oldest and largest a ...
List of individual dogs This is a list of individual famous actual dogs; for famous dogs from fiction, see List of fictional dogs. Actors Advertising * Axelrod, Basset Hound, appeared in commercials and print ads for Flying "A" Service Station advertisements in ...




Works cited

Books * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Journal articles * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Royal Commissions * *

Further reading

*Bayliss, Leonard (Spring 1957). "The 'Brown Dog' Affair". ''Potential'' (UCL magazine). 11–22. * * * * *Coult, Tony (1988)
"The Strange Affair of the Brown Dog"
(radio play based on Peter Mason's ''The Brown Dog Affair''). * Coleridge, Stephen (1916)
''Vivisection, a heartless science''
London: John Lane. *Elston, Mary Ann (1987). "Women and Anti-vivisection in Victorian England, 1870–1900", in Nicolaas Rupke (ed.). ''Vivisection in Historical Perspective''. London: Routledge. * Gålmark, Lisa (1996). ''Shambles of Science: Lizzy Lind af Hageby and Leisa Schartau, Anti-vivisektionister 1903–1913/14''. Stockholm: Stockholm University. * * *Harte, Negley; North, John (1991). ''The World of UCL, 1828–1990''. London: Routledge (image of the restaged experiment on the brown dog, 127). *Le Fanu, James (23 November 2003)
"In Sickness and in Health: Vivisection's Undoing"
''The Daily Telegraph''. *McIntosh, Anthony (1 April 2021)
"The Great British Art Tour: The Little Dog that Caused Violent Riots"
''The Guardian''.

Statue locations

*Location o
the new Brown Dog, Old English Garden, Battersea Park
on Wikimapia () *Location o
the old Brown Dog (now empty), Latchmere Recreation Ground
on Wikimapia () {{featured article 1900s in England 1903 in British law 1903 in case law 1903 in England 1903 in London 1907 in London 1907 riots Animal cruelty incidents Animal rights Animals in politics Animal testing in the United Kingdom Animal welfare and rights in the United Kingdom Anti-vivisection movement Buildings and structures in Battersea Dogs in the United Kingdom Dog monuments English defamation case law History of animal testing Individual dogs Outdoor sculptures in London Political controversies in the United Kingdom Political history of England Public art in London Riots in London