GB No. 1(20)/96
Humanitarianism for laboratory animals in medicine is one of the signs of its humanisation. In this article I would like to present two prominent, though not widely known in Poland, animal rights defenders; members of the Silesian Medical Academy, Professors Stanisław Szyszko and Kornel Gibiński.
Prof. Stanisław Szyszko (1912-1990) was fond of all animals and an ethical pillar of the Care for Animals Association (Towarzystwo Opieki nad Zwierzętami): its General Board and its local branch in Katowice. In his widely known work Epitafium dla psa - Kilka uwag na temat wiwisekcji (1967) he demanded that experiments on animals should be limited through:
In his Epitafium... Professor wrote: "We cannot tolerate unnecessary suffering and death of animals and especially the abuse of laboratory dogs, so friendly towards man, so trusting and at the same time so helpless and totally dependent on us. I wish our humanitarianism and the sense of holiness of life were not limited to our own species, whose crimes we reflect on so often. So much bitter truth lies in the sentence: the better I know people the more I love animals."
Prof. Kornel Gibiński is the Chairman of the Committee of Ethics in Science at PAN (Polish Academy of Sciences). He was also the Chairman of Medical Ethics at PAU (Polish Academy of Skills). In his moral thesis entitled Dobre obyczaje w nauce - Zbiór zasad i wytycznych (PAN, Warszawa 1994) in the chapter 2. - Pracownik nauki jako twórca, in the point 2.5. Professor stated: "Scientific research should be conducted in a way that does not bring disgrace to human dignity and that follows the humanitarian principles. Experiments on animals should be conducted such that to avoid their suffering. In the case when it cannot be avoided a scientist should be obliged to consider whether the experiments are necessary, to limit their scale and to minimise the suffering they cause."
Professor Szyszko's works made a large part of Polish contribution to The World Declaration of Animal Rights, issued by UNESCO in Paris, 1978. Professor Gibiński has been participating in many actions in favour of animal rights in our country, aimed at making our regulations in that matter close to ones in force in the world.
The Silesian Medical Academy - the largest in Poland (84 clinics, 1500 academic teachers, 4000 students) has the biggest stock of laboratory animals.
1 Maja 46/6
41-300 D±browa Górnicza
reprinted from Zielone Brygady, 6/96
translated by M. Maciejewska