But most moralists allow that our duty to increase happiness and diminish misery is not limited to the human race, but must be extended to all beings that feel pleasure and pain. Surely it must be quite clear that we are bound to consider the happiness of animals, even in cases where the happiness of human beings is not affected. It is generally admitted to be our duty to put out of its misery, as the phrase is, a wounded insect that is suffering great pain and has no hope of recovery.
Yet such an action affects no human beings, except the person who has to perform the disagreeable duty and who, by performing it, inflicts pain on himself. Any one who inflicts unnecessary pain on animals deserves punishment, whether by so doing he causes pain to human beings or not. In the case of animals, as in the case of men, it is only justifiable to inflict pain in order to obtain some greater good, which more than compensates for the evil of the pain. This is the justification always urged by the defenders of vivisection.
It is argued that surgical experiments upon living animals will lead to such medical discoveries as will alleviate human suffering. Therefore, as human beings are of greater account and more susceptible to pain than the lower animals, pain may be inflicted on frogs and dogs in order that new means may be discovered of curing the diseases of men. Whether this argument is entirely convincing or not, it is noticeable that in the controversy no defender of vivisection ventures to assert that the pain of the lower animals is not an evil in itself. It is assumed to be an evil whenever attempts are made to justify it by the demonstration of the great results that are to be expected from vivisection. In the East, kindness to animals becomes a sixth sense because of religious sanctions. In several eastern religions, injury to animals is taboo, particularly in the Jain religion. Hence animals are treated well and with kindness.
In view of this, there is less need in the East to promote societies like the famous Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals so common in the West.