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The Brown Dog Riots

The Brown Dog affair was a political controversy about vivisection that raged in England from 1903 until 1910.

In February 1903 a typical event took place in the teaching rooms of University College London in front of students. A live brown dog laid on a table was operated upon in order to find out how certain procedures would affect it. This process was called vivisection and was completely legal at this time. However opinions on vivisection had been growing more negative over the years. The work of anti-vivisectionists protesting about the practise garnered a lot of support and in 1906 a statue was designed to memorialise the dog. After the erection of the statue a series of riots, organised by medical and veterinary students, began to occur.

10 December 1907 saw the worst night of the Brown Dog riots in London, when 1,000 medical students clashed with 400 police officers over the existence of the memorial.

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Quote of the week

“I am opposed to the laying down of rules or conditions to be observed in the construction of bridges lest the progress of improvement tomorrow might be embarrassed or shackled by recording or registering as law the prejudices or errors of today.”

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

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