The Man Who Cried,

« The Empress is Naked ! »

At the age of 91, Hans Ruesch, author of Slaughter of the Innocent,
the book the pharmaceutical industry tried to suppress,
remains Humanity’s Arch-Warrior against
Vivisection and the resulting False Medicine…

by Guenady

*Footnotes are at the end of the article.

Gazette Note:  Hans Ruesch, Gazette Hero Award recipient, died in 2007 at age 94.  Read the NY Times obituary.

A young American couple passing through Nice, where I live, in the South of France, was having lunch in the city’s only vegan restaurant. The young woman, I saw, had a copy of The Fountainhead balanced on her purse at her feet.

I couldn’t resist a comment. « Do people still read that? »

Her eyes, turned to me, were eloquent.

« Well then, when you’ve finished The Fountainhead, you have to read Atlas Shrugged… And when you’ve finished Atlas Shrugged, and you’re feeling sad because such people don’t exist in real life– then, read up on Hans Ruesch. »
« Hans Ruesch? » Two middle-aged English ladies seated nearby perked up their ears and chirped… « Hans RUESCH? Hans Ruesch? » Their eyes were glowing, too. «Is he still alive? That WONDERFUL man! »

The heroes portrayed by philosopher Ayn Rand in her novels have nothing at all over the flesh-and-blood person, in this instance. Howard Roark, John Galt and Hank Reardon meet their match in Hans Ruesch in terms of intellect, courage, and the kind of iron determination that makes for surviving trial by fire– either as a Martyr, or as a Veteran Crusader… and Ruesch is one of the latter, for he is still very much alive. Someday, somewhere, some smart young writer will pick up on The Hans Ruesch Story, and it will be adapted for the movies. Then, once again, Mr Everyman will have clear proof that even today, even in our jaded, comfort-oriented, conformist world, there still exist some stubborn individuals who think on their own, and who put what they know to be True and Right over everything, whatever it costs them…

For those who do not know, and I was one of them until recently, the early facts are quickly told : Child of a well-to-do Swiss family, Ruesch, whose leonine looks remind one of Franz Liszt, has been a Formula One race car driver and a best-selling author (his best-known titles are Top of the World, Return to Top of the World, and South of the Heart, with two books made into major films, one starring Anthony Quinn and the other Kirk Douglas). His brilliant intellect and abiding interest in all things medical (motivated not least by an early tragedy, the death of his infant brother from a dangerous medical treatment prescribed by a doctor) led him to do medical journalism on the side.*1

Then, at the age of sixty, when most people are contemplating retirement and enjoying the good life with the years that remain to them, Ruesch had a seminal experience that not only sent him into a radically ‘new life’, but that also presaged his extraordinary, groundbreaking book, Slaughter of the Innocent.

He was in Italy, in the mid 1970s, and working on a novel, when someone brought him a kitten that had just been rescued from a vivisection laboratory (although it would shortly thereafter die)…

« I could not, » he says, « comprehend how anyone could think that hurting such a tiny, innocent creature could ever result in any good for Humanity.».

Ruesch began researching vivisection. He finished his novel-in-progress, gave it to his publisher, and announced that he would write no more fiction until vivisection had been abolished. And he has applied himself to that end, exclusively, ever since, in an ongoing campaign which also calls for a return to Humanist Values, particularly in matters of medicine, and for respect for all of Life.

Slaughter of the Innocent was the first book Ruesch put together on medical research and vivisection, and it is generally recognized by those who know it as a masterpiece. It is first and foremost a scholarly study, but written in a free-flowing, clear and accessible style which makes it not only an intellectual tour de force but, on a purely literary level, a joy to read… quite an accomplishment when we consider that English is author’s fourth language (after Italian, German and French), and that the subject is far from attractive– in fact, usually kept under the proverbial rug. Despite this last hurdle, Ruesch’s book is one that can be read by anyone, for it comprises a complete (and fascinating) history of vivisection from ancient times to the present (including an appreciation of the evolution of medical thought which that history reflects), and, as well, it includes an overview and analysis of thousands of reports on animal experiments, published by vivisectors themselves, during the hundred and fifty years or so previous to the book’s writing (that chapter opens with the author’s note that it can be skipped without any loss, at the reader’s choice).

As a result of this last study, already a major service to all those too squeamish to take such a close look at this horrendous subject themselves, Ruesch uncovered a fundamental truth, an astounding observation, in fact, which ought to have altered the whole course of the international anti-vivisection movement and which should have (and surely will still, one day) provide the grounds for the outright legal abolition of vivisection in all civilized countries.

But let us allow Ruesch to speak a few words for himself :


The scapegoat concept –the idea of getting rid of one’s sins, vices, diseases, misfortunes and other troubles by transferring them to some guiltless man or animal– has always been widespread in human society. The Babylonians used to behead a ram for this purpose. The ancient Greeks scourged two human scapegoats out of the city every year—a criminal, or deformed, man and woman.

Today the scapegoat transference is usually psychological rather than physical, and consists in blaming other persons or groups for one’s own shortcomings and frustrations.

The scapegoat concept looms importantly in the whole vivisectionist practice. Although usually the choice of a scapegoat is arrived at through an irrational process, the vivisectors have ‘rational’ reasons for their practice: monetary gain or personal satisfaction. But the scapegoat concept has certainly contributed to the tacit acceptance of the vivisectionist practice by large segments of the public.

To obtain ‘scientific confirmation’ of the well-known fact that overcrowding leads to nervousness, hostility and violence, experimenters like to confine great numbers of rats in such cramped quarters that they will eventually attack and kill one another. To get ‘scientific proof’ that motherly warmth and love are important for the child, newborn primates are snatched from their mothers and kept for years in solitary confinement, some of them, furthermore, in total darkness—a punishment generally considered too cruel even for hardened criminals.

To the same category of experiments belong those designed to turn animals into drug addicts. When they get cramps or convulsions after the sudden withdrawal of the drug, soothing medicines can be tried out on them. But then, of course, the researchers still don’t know whether those medicines will have the same effect on man, or whether they are going to poison men—in view of the fact that strychnine, for instance, is a deadly poison for man but not for monkeys.

Although worldwide statistics have conclusively proved that heavy smoking can lead to lung cancer, the researchers—especially those in the employ of the tobacco companies—obstinately claim that ‘there is no scientific proof’ that tobacco smoking causes lung cancer, since it has not yet been possible to produce lung cancer in animals. Actually, if researchers succeed in causing lung cancer in an animal through heavy smoking, it would only prove that smoking can give cancer to that particular species, not to man. We already know that smoking may give lung cancer to man: through statitistcs and clinical observations.

Yet millions of animals, mainly dogs and rabbits immobilized in restraining devices, are subjected to smoking treatments lasting a lifetime for the sake of theories that the experimenters keep calling ‘scientific’ but which, in actual fact, are an insult to real science and to every thinking man and woman.

The American press recently reported experiments on sleep that one Dr. William Dement of Stanford University was making, depriving cats of sleep until they went out of their minds—in order, so he claimed, to understand better the mechanism of human sleep…

The nervous system of animals, especially of cats, has very little in common with ours. A cat normally snoozes 22 hours out of 24, practically anywhere and even standing up. So perhaps does Dr. Dement, but most people don’t. To deprive cats of sleep, without having to keep awake himself, Dr. Dement has hit on a bright idea: He places his experimental cat, electrodes in its head, on a brick surrounded by water. When the cat goes limp with sleepiness its nose slips into the water. Dr. Dement has thus kept hundreds of cats awake for up to 70 days—not hours, but days. Whereafter he reported that the brain waves revealed ‘definite personality changes’, which in ‘scientific’ jargon means ‘madness’…

* * *

In her book, Intelligence and Personality (Pelican, 1970) Dr. Alice Heim, an eminent British psychologist working as a member of the Medical Research Council, denounced other experiments in sleep deprivation, which speak very poorly for the mental balance of the experimenters in her own country as well. Rats were deprived of sleep for 27 consecutive days, by means of placing them in a continuously rotating wheel, two-thirds submerged in water. The rats, when exhausted, fell from the wheel into the water and were unable to remount the wheel. Some found ways of resting by hanging on food trays and, in one case, climbing on top of the cubicle and sleeping while hanging with front teeth hooked in the cloth top. Modifications were introduced to prevent this.

Thus in every field of science innocent animals are made to serve as scapegoats for man’s vices and faults. We smoke, animals don’t: So we force animals to smoke, although for them it’s torture, for us pleasure. We drink alcohol, animals don’t: So we cause liver cirrhoses in animals by funneling alcohol into them. We drug ourselves, animals don’t: So we turn animals into drug addicts. We suffer from insomnia owing to our daily excesses, animals don’t: So we force animals to stay awake until they go crazy. We suffer from stress owing to our unnatural way of living, animals don’t: So we traumatize them in rotating drums to put them in a state of stress. We cause car accidents through incompetence or carelessness, animals don’t: So we fasten animals to vehicles and send them crashing against walls. We contract cancer by consuming the wrong foods and toxic drugs, and through pollution caused exclusively by ourselves: So we inflict cancer upon millions of animals and continue torturing them while we watch them slowly waste away through the cruelest malady mass-produced by man.

* * *

Now we have had a first glimpse of what passes today for Medical Science. Speculating upon the ignorance and suffering of countless people, their constant fear of pain and disease, and with the help of the mass media, this pseudo-science has created the illusion—like the shamans of the primitive tribes who promise rain—that she wields mysterious and unlimited powers on which mankind’s salvation depends. So the peoples of the western hemisphere have prostrated themselves in awe and servility at her feet, imagining her as an almighty goddess of peerless beauty, shining with gold and brocades, to which common mortals may not even raise their eyes, lest they be blinded. But if they dared to do so, they would discover that their empress hasn’t got a stitch on and is gruesome to behold.

Greed, cruelty, anbition, incompetence, vanity, callousness, stupidity, sadism, insanity are the charges that this treatise levels at the entire practice of vivisection. The evidence is in the coming parts. They exaggerate nothing, for the simple reason that in matters of vivisection any exaggeration is not only superfluous, but impossible… »

In the book, Past to Present : Ideas That Changed Our World*3, Stuart Hirschberg of Rutgers University (writing with Terry Hirschberg) has included Ruesch in a list of Humanity’s luminaries, including such figures as Stendhal, Keats, Shaw, Orwell, de Beauvoir, Toynbee, Herodotus, Carlyle, Whitman, Darwin, Heyerdahl, Hoyle, Plato, Darrow, Sartre, Aristotle, Ruskin and Flaubert, to name just a few. Hirschberg reproduces a chapter from Slaughter of the Innocent, and introduces it with these comments :

« Hans Ruesch (b.1913) is a modern-day Renaissance man who not only is a scholar of the history of medicine but has also written best-selling novels… and many short stories that have appeared in THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, ESQUIRE and REDBOOK. This Swiss author is best known for his brilliant exposes of the animal experimentation industry… »*4

In a critique of Hirschberg’s book, The Canterbury Animal Respect Network for a Green Environment*5 has written that it « …is targeted at the possibly great thinkers of the future, mainly those in universities, from freshman to postgraduate. That is not to say that great thinkers are only to be found in universities, as you will note from the list of names in this book… In rightly adding [Ruesch]’s name to ‘Ideas That Changed Our World’, the authors have ‘un-suppressed’ him. They have, indeed, quoted some 10 pages from “Slaughter of the Innocent”, his meticulously researched most famous oeuvre for genuine antivivisectionists. The faux AVs also did/still do a hatchet job on [Ruesch], yet the ‘innocent’ in the title are humans and animals, both… »

That Slaughter of the Innocent has been in effect suppressed, and, where suppression was not possible, ignored in stony silence by the drug and medical research industries that it touches, their lobbies, and also the media of mass communication which they largely control through advertising pressure, is an indication of just how powerful Slaughter of the Innocent is, and how determined those it targets are to keep it from being known and read.

The truth Ruesch realized –and revealed to the public– is that vivisection is not only a cruel activity for the animals who are its victims, and not only is it corrosive to the humanity of those who practice it, but worse yet, it is futile in its announced purpose, since the results of experiments on animals cannot, under any cirumstances, whatever the species used, be extrapolated to provide information applicable to Man, due to the profound physiological differences between the species.

Ruesch’s study reveals to laymen that inflicting injuries on animals in order to produce symptoms similar to those found in human disease, can never duplicate those same symptoms when they are produced spontaneously from conditions within a sick human body. And equally, no amount of practicing surgery or other interventions on animals is of any use whatsoever to those who would ultimately treat human beings, also because of the same physiological differences between the species. In fact, Ruesch reveals that many of the most respected and brilliant doctors of past and present times (names so illustrious that even laymen recognize them) have stated that experimenting on animals makes doctors and surgeons unfit to treat and operate on humans, having become prone to errors caused by these physiological differences.

Here is just one succinct quotation, taken from a chapter in Slaughter of the Innocent that assembles a vast quantity of similar quotations :

« The idea, as I understand it, is that fundamental truths are revealed in laboratory experimentation on lower animals and are then applied to the problems of the sick patient. Having been myself trained as a physiologist, I feel in a way competent to assess such a claim. It is plain nonsense. »

Sir George Pickering, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford*6

This then and more, is what the medical research world and the industry it exists to support, pharmaceutics, do not want the public to know… Simply put, by his study and his analysis of the evidence brought to light, Ruesch revealed to the general public that the practice of vivisection has no basis whatsoever in science. The evidence, accumulating over the centuries, had already, at the time of the writing of Slaughter of the Innocent, made this point clear to researchers, scientists and many doctors (despite their medical training to the contrary), but not to the public who rely for information on the very professions whose financial interests prompt them to hide the truth. Today, Ruesch tells us, continuing to insist on and to propagate the idea that there is value for human health in animal testing, constitutes fraud on the part of those who profit financially by using such tests to market new drugs and treatments, most of which are useless, many of which are ultimately shown to be patently harmful.

Have we not just learned from The British Medical Journal, that the side effects of drug therapies are now officially recognized as the number 4 reason for hospitalizations, and a leading cause of death, in Great Britain ? *7 And an article recently published by a panel of doctors in Nexus Magazine opens by telling us: « …The total number of iatrogenic [ie, doctor-caused] deaths [in the U.S.] is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251… »*8

The public has up to now largely trusted the claims of the medical and pharmaceutical industries over animal testing, and, to preserve that trust, those industries exert pressure to keep Slaughter of the Innocent from being known, officially ignoring it where suppression fails… Their flunkies (according to Ruesch) include many persons strategically placed in animal protection associations who continue, despite the evidence (and almost certainly for a price, or other benefits), to promote the exposed and discredited lie as if it were not exposed and discredited. Ruesch shows us, particularly in his second book Naked Empress, how the errors and consequent human suffering that have resulted from false science based on animal testing have been systematically minimized, hushed up and excused away, in order to protect the process (government subsidies, lucrative jobs, the manufacture of laboratory equipment –ie animal restraining devices, etc) and to keep the profits from the sale of legal drugs/medicines flowing in. How many industries in the world can boast of comparable 350 to 400% profits on their products? What puts the nails in our coffins, human greed being what it is, is that the medical, research and pharmaceutical industries depend on our sickness, not on our health, for their subsidies and grants (taxpayer financed!) and profits…

But again, let us permit Ruesch to speak for himself… He opens Naked Empress with the following paragraphs :

It is not only scandalous but also tragic that the Drug Trust is permitted to flood the market with its products on the grounds that they have been thoroughly tested for effectiveness and safety on animals, and that the Health Authorities, meaning the Government, abet this deception, which is nothing but confirmed fraud. For both sides are well aware that animal tests are fallacious and merely serve as an alibi—an insurance against the day when it is no longer possible to conceal the disastrous side effects of a drug. Then they can say that « all the required tests have been made »–that they have obeyed the Law.

But they don’t say that they themselves have imposed those laws, because the Lawmaker has no choice in all medical questions but to submit to the dictates of the ‘medical experts’. And who are they? Agents of the Chemo-Medical Syndicate, whose links to the Health Authorities are so close that they usually overlap. So they, and no one else, impart binding orders to that mysterious and omnipotent individual, identified anonymously as ‘The Lawmaker’.

It is this outrageous state of affairs that once caused Dr. James D. Gallagher, Director of Medical Research of Lederle Laboratories, to declare:

Another basic problem which we share as a result of the regulations and the things that prompted them is an unscientific preoccupation with animal studies. Animal studies are done for legal reasons and not for scientific reasons. The predictive value of such studies for man is meaningless—
which means our research may be meaningless.
(Journal of the American Medical Association, March 14, 1964.)

In fact, the so-called ‘medical experts’ that have imposed animal tests as the touchstone of medical research are among the principal participants in the greatest fraud that has ever been perpetrated, mainly for profit motives, to the detriment of mankind in all history. To bring exhaustive proof of this assertion, with which a growing number of medical people are in full agreement, is the purpose of this exposé… *9

In the well-known case of thalidomide, taking just one example out of the hundreds mentioned and the thousands known (of which more and more examples date from AFTER the publication of Slaughter of the Innocent, alas…), with more than 10,000 deformed children born worldwide as a result of the use of this ‘safely tested on animals’ drug, the pharmaceutical company responsible for this tragedy was totally exonerated of responsibility before the courts, since it had previously carried out all the legally required safety tests (as defined by the industry itself, of course).

Heads we lose, tails they win…

Still (let us remember) you can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. The number of medical heritics among doctors is growing worldwide (in ratio to the accumulating empirical evidence against the Empress of Modern Medicine), as are alternative, ‘soft’ methods of treatment, and most of all, emphasis on disease prevention (not financially profitable for the mainstream ‘health’ industries). (Just see, out of curiosity, as a real example of efforts to destroy all but traditional, mainstream thought within the medical profession, the website :*10)

Naturally, Slaughter of the Innocent seemed destined to be a bombshell when it first appeared in 1978 in the U.S. It had already been published in an Italian version in Italy (titled Imperatrice Nuda, not to be confused with Naked Empress, Ruesch’s later, second book in English, which deals in depth with medical fraud and the eyeopening history of today’s medical establishment). Despite critical acclaim, and having caused general public consternation, including discussions in the Italian Parliament, « …a few weeks after publication, Italian bookstores were advised that the title was out of print (although I had personally seen thousands of copies held back in Rissoli’s [the publisher’s] warehouse). At the time, Rizzoli was financially dependent on Italy’s largest chemical concern, Montedison, which comprised the country’s major pharmaceutical firms. So the publisher’s decision to withdraw the book was understandable… » *11

Ruesch continues, « …I kept receiving reassurances from Cooper [Roger F. Cooper of Bantam Books in New York] that Bantam expected the book to be one of its top sellers in 1978… But when Spring came, there was only silence from Bantam. ..» *12 And silence from the critics, as well, except for an exception or two that managed to slip into the press before unofficial censorship silenced even those few voices.

Censorship? Impossible, you say? In a repeat of the Italian experience, almost all the copies printed by Bantam of Slaughter of the Innocent were boxed and stored, never making it to bookshops. Why?

« A change of ownership had taken place at Bantam during the 18 months between acceptance of the manuscript and publication … …Bertelsmann Corporation, the new majority stockholder … had learned its lesson… » having been forced to withdraw in Germany Weisse Magier, « a shattering exposé of Germany’s pharmaceutical industry… »*13

« So, » says Ruesch, « in our western democracies, no public book-burnings are necessary; there are subtler and more effective ways to stifle information unfavorable to the industrial powers-that-be. »*14

Ruesch managed eventually to retrieve the printed copies of his book, as his contract with Bantam stipulated that he could, but no major book distribution network would touch them. And yet, despite being reduced in its influence due to these obstructions, by word of mouth, by direct mail, by the hard work of certain determined anti-vivisection associations, and thanks also to a very few dedicated and tireless supporters, the book has been sold and Ruesch’s message has passed. Today, Slaughter of the Innocent is in its fifth private printing in English, with more than 150,000 copies sold worldwide, in eight languages.

The suppression of Slaughter of the Innocent happened nearly 30 years ago, in the pre-Internet Age. Yet still today, and despite the clear evidence that iatrogenic diseases are on the increase, the fraud of vivisection continues. The reassuring formula, « This drug has been safely tested on animals », continues to lull unwitting consumers into believing that a new drug can therefore be safely used by human beings, and that it will produce the promised results…

But thanks to Ruesch, the cat is now figuratively out of the bag. In the years since Slaughter of the Innocent came out, Ruesch has gone on in his determined campaign to reveal the truth, publishing Naked Empress,1001 Doctors against Vivisection, as well as numerous Foundation bulletins and pamphlets (many of them available on-line *15), including Vivisection is Scientific Fraud.

Ever true to the vow he made those many years ago, Ruesch continues to write and to translate his writings every day. He would certainly have produced more valuable work, and perhaps even more novels, if he had not been systematically and repeatedly attacked, over the years, with lawsuits designed to harass him, occupy his time, and eat up his money– a classic tactic used by industrial interests to destroy individuals.

Gordon Moran, in his book, Silencing Scientists and Scholars in Other Fields, Power, Paradigm Controls, Peer Review, and Scholarly Communication*16, writes :

«The case of Hans Ruesch may break all records (or come close to breaking all records) in terms of the number of legal actions taken against a scholar and the scholar’s organization… He reported that between 1989 and 1996, more than 70 legal actions were taken against him by persons connected with the medical and pharmaceutical establishment. In one of his recent publications, International Foundation Report, Ruesch (1993) related that, as a result of these legal actions, some publication plans of the Centre d’Information Vivisectionniste International Scientifique (CIVIS) have been held up (and, thus, silenced, at least for a period of time): ‘CIVIS had planned an important publication program which lay within our possibilities three years ago. Uninterrupted legal actions conducted against Hans Ruesch through the Swiss courts… prevented the realization of our program.'(p.16)

« Although he has not been completely silenced, much of Ruesch’s time, energy, and financial resources have been taken up by the legal actions against him. The sheer number of such actions seems to imply that they function as harassment. As a scholar, Ruesch is being silenced to the extent that time, energy, and financial burdens required to fight the legal actions prevent him from writing, publishing, and giving lectures on his scholarly material… »*17

An important point bears correcting here– these legal attacks against Ruesch were never made openly by the medical and pharmaceutical industries (with the single exception of an action brought by Christiaan Barnard, the story of which can be read in the preface to the 1983 edition of Slaughter of the Innocent), but rather by recognized animal rights spokespersons, or certain animal protection societies which claim to be anti-vivisection, while in reality, according to Ruesch, doing damage-control for the industries. For, what is a better way to convince the public that the fraud is not a fraud, than to point to prominent animal rights people and to animal-defense societies which steadfastly support vivisection, even in the face of the evidence Ruesch has accumulated?. Other animal-defense societies remain silent on the substance of Ruesch’s work, even at this late date– out of fear of retribution such as Ruesch has experienced? Or for some surrepticious benefit? Once you have read Naked Empress and know the dirty wheeling/dealing which created the industries that Ruesch’s work has challenged, you are tempted to think that just about anything is not only possible, but probable.

Take, for example, the case of Peter Singer. This internationally recognized academic, author and animal-rights spokesperson, whose biographical information usually includes the claim that his first book, Animal Liberation, is the bible of the animal rights movement, was criticized by Ruesch for being « a big phoney ». Why? Because Singer, in the aforementioned book, does not take a stand against vivisection, but makes the claim, instead, that vivisection has resulted in medical advances for human medicine and is therefore a valid human endeavor.*18 Ruesch, on the other hand, has established that many medical advances attributed to vivisection were not due to it after all, and that, furthermore, not one medical advance has ever been made through vivisection that could not have been made without it, usually also saving time, money, and human suffering, as well as animal suffering… But being called « a big phoney » must certainly be a wounding experience, if we are to judge by Singer’s reaction. For the young professor from Australia, then just at the beginning of his career, came all the way to Italy and engaged the nation’s leading corporate lawyer (normally unavailable to and unaffortable by individuals) to defend him against this ‘attack’. When Ruesch tried to submit, in the course of the trial, circumstancial evidence(*19) which he claimed established a link between the young professor and the Rockefeller Foundation (read the enlightening history of this organization for the promotion of medical research and pharmaceutical sales in Naked Empress), the judge (inexpicably?) balked. Ruesch has always lost these nuisance cases, in which he defends himself without a lawyer (shades of Howard Roark in The Fountainhead).*20 Note, however, that not one of these legal actions has ever attacked the substance of his anti-vivisection stand, nor refuted it.

In fact, whether addressing a vivisectionist (supporter of vivisection) or a vivisector him/herself, the usual response when challenged on factual grounds, is, « I’m afraid I have no time for that… » And thus they perpetuate the mystique of a realm where only the initiated can enter and comprehend, where those initiated must be trusted without question… At least, for a while longer… while some people, and all « laboratory » animals, continue to needlessly fall sick of preventable illnesses, and to suffer and die…

In 1998, 20 years after the appearance of Slaughter of the Innocent, Ruesch wrote *21 :

« …Jobs are more important to governments than the people’s health. That is why as early as infancy the population is made dependent on medicines. The parents help along with this too. Of course, they were themselves brought up in this way. A congress of specialist German doctors for internal medicine in Wiesbaden, Germany confirmed in 1977 that 6% of all illnesses resulting in death and 25% of all organic diseases are caused by medicines. Moreover, 61% of all deformities at birth and 88% of all still-births are caused by drugs…

« Although millions of animals are sacrificed each year in research on cancer and circulation ailments, these illnesses are constantly increasing. Their causes are well known and could be avoided by preventative measures, which are in fact the only approach and do not cause dangerous side-effects. But of course there is no money to be made out of prevention…

« Diabetes is one of those illnesses which are best avoided by preventative measures, namely a suitable diet. The long-term use of animal-derived insulin (a catastrophically harmful approach) leads to blindness, circulatory and other problems and early death, as well as encouraging the insulin-user to neglect the appropriate diet. What is more, long-term insulin use leads to the total atrophy of the already malfunctioning pancreas gland. No wonder that since the introduction of insulin, diabetes has not decreased but increased enormously…

« Penicillin was discovered by pure chance and would probably not have been employed as a medicine, according to statements by its co-discoverers, had it been first tested as intended on guiney-pigs – since penicillin is fatal to guinea-pigs. But at the time there were no guinea-pigs available in their laboratory, so mice were used instead and they weren’t killed by it… …some animals can tolerate 100 times more or less of a given substance than human beings… to this day there is still no universally ‘correct’ dosage of penicillin. Some people are extremely allergic to penicillin and can be severely harmed by it, while it remains ineffective in others. Moreover, more and more doctors are agreed these days that penicillin has caused more harm than good.

« The thoughtless, massive over-prescription of penicillin, using it even as a preventative medicine, has over time led to the development of particularly resistant strains of bacteria which are immune to all penicillin treatments. The same applies to other antibiotics… It is one of the achievements of modern medicine that it has succeeded in creating ever weaker human beings, and ever stronger strains of bacteria. « Antibiotic », by the way, means « hostile to life ». And it is no secret that all these wonder drugs have only worked wonders for the bank balances of their manufacturers…

« …The use of progressive research methods needs to be learned; it requires hard study and at least average intelligence – whereas any idiot can cut up or poison animals and report what he sees. Whether such experiments have any validity for human medical research is of no interest to these gentlemen. Clearly, there is no obstinacy greater than that of academics mired in their set ways. But in addition, over the last few decades a gigantic industry has developed around animal research: manufacturers of restraining devices, cages and torture instruments, as well as animal breeders, all of whom together constitute a most powerful lobby who influence the media and the politicians…

« All the great plagues and epidemics evinced a certain cycle. Inoculations were only introduced when the cycle was already approaching its end. The devastating bubonic plague of the Middle Ages disappeared on its own without medical intervention and long before there was any talk of vaccinations. Puerperal (childbirth) fever which in earlier times snatched away the lives of so many newborn babies and their mothers and for a long time diminished general life expectancy was defeated solely by the hygienic measures introduced by Semmelweis many decades before Pasteur…

« …Massive polio vaccinaton programmes were only introduced when this extremely rare infectious disease was already dying out. Polio declined in all countries that did not vaccinate against it, just as in those which did. These latter, however, witnessed a renewed flaring up of the illness every time after vaccination. Brazil was hit particularly badly, since there had previously been almost no polio at all in that country, until mass vaccination was undertaken…

« …In 1983, for instance – some 30 years after the allegedly so successful action against polio – there were major polio vaccination scandals in the USA, Great Britain and New Zealand. Of particular interest is the fact that the tissue cultures derived from monkey kidneys (upon which Salk and Sabin based their vaccines) proved to be very dangerous, and were so precisely because they were of animal origin. Recognition of this fact led to the production of a new vaccine, which derived not from animals but from human cell cultures… »

To those who say that surely a surgeon needs to practise his manual dexterity by operating on animals, Ruesch replies *21 :

« Allow me a counter question: Would you let yourself be operated on by a vet? Why not? We shall answer you with the words of Lawson Tait, the famous British surgeon, who at the end of the 19th century developed fundamental operative techniques which are still in use today After years of experimenting on animals, Tait gave up this method and started to speak out forcibly in a veritable campaign against vivisection. He wrote, for instance: ‘As a method of research, experimentation on living animals has led all those who have practised it to quite wrong conclusions, and their reports abound with cases where not only animals are uselessly sacrificed but where, because of the errors, humans have been added to the list of sacrifices too.’ A whole host of authoritative surgeons of today and yester-year have expressed similar views…

« Abel Desjardins, the best known French surgeon of his time and professor of surgery at the University of Paris, answered this question unequivocally and logically. In a lecture in Geneva he stated, amongst other things: ‘First one must be an assistant to an experienced surgeon for a long time. Then one takes up simple cases under the supervision of one’s teacher, who can warn about every wrong move or give advice. Gradually one moves on to more difficult cases. This is the true method of training up a surgeon, and I state categorically that there is no other. Any training based upon operations upon dogs cannot but lead to lamentable errors. The surgeon who knows his art cannot learn a thing from such exercises, and the trainee does not learn correct surgical technique from them but becomes a dangerous surgeon.’ …

« …The chemical and arms industries are not subject to the politicians, but rank above them in real power. They also influence the attitudes of the opinion-forming Press, which depends for its survival on advertisements – approximately 80-90% of all ads stem directly or indirectly from big business, which exerts an effective form of censorship, so that our ads (the ads of CIVIS) are simply refused by the great press barons… even though we are trying to point out the deplorable state of affairs that exists in matters of public health…

« Through generous endowments to universities, the chemical industry buys the indebtedness and dependency of relevant university departments, not to mention the doctors, who have become assiduous propagandists for the disasterous but lucrative products of the chemical industry. Intelligent, brave and honest doctors who prescribe cheap, tried-and-tested, safe natural medications are denounced as ‘quacks’ by the chemical pushers who dominate orthodox medicine, and nature-cure physicians are often thrown out of the medical fraternity altogether. By means of generous donations, the financial powers of the chemcial industry have won over the leaders of all the big animal-protection societies and have even bribed the leaders of some anti-vivisection societies, so that they now see their main rôle as hushing up the truth about vivisection’s uselesness and ever-attendant dangers. In other words, their task is to hold anti-vivisectionism in check… [b]y asserting that at least a certain percentage of animal experiments ‘are still essential’ and that one cannot therefore press for total abolition. But through this means, any experiment can be justified, since it is the pseudo-scientists of the chemical and medical industries who claim the right to decide what is and is not ‘essential’. Experience has shown that for them everything is ultimately deemed ‘essential’. That is why we insist on total abolition of all animal experiments, instead of regulation, which already exists and has proven itself utterly inadequate. The vivisectors are only too keen to ‘regulate’ themselves… »

To those who object that he is too concerned with the well-being of animals rather than that of humankind, Ruesch replies *21:

« What would YOU say about an industry that does not hesitate to dump drugs onto the peoples of the Third World – drugs which have long been withdrawn from the manufacturers’ own markets because of their devastating side-effects?… »

« …From all that has been said so far, you will be able to see that we are also concerned for the good of humanity, and actually a lot more than the chemical industry, the media, the doctors and the governments all put together. With such organisations, the ‘good of humanity’ and ‘our children’ are welcome pretexts for boosting their own power and wealth. This question is usually put to us by people who have never done anything for either animals or people. There are adequate statutes in our legislation for the protection of people. But the same legislation has seen to it that not the laboratory animals but solely their torturers and ruthless exploiters are protected. And animal experimenters exploit humanity too… »

The enduring interest of Ruesch’s scholarship, along with the literary quality of his writing, is still further enhanced by the solid ethical and philosophical stance from which he reasons, and nowhere more clearly than in Slaughter of the Innocent. Long after vivisection is abolished, people will go on reading that book, and with it, Naked Empress (which Ruesch himself considers even more important than Slaughter of the Innocent*22), not just to marvel at how such a manifestly absurd idea –vivisection– could ever have dominated society, but also because, at a time when Humanity has gone to what may one day be judged the very Brink of Madness, with the destruction of our environment, our health and our collective sanity well underway, Ruesch gives us a renewed sense of our own human identity –a lifesaving sense of the fundamental common sense and decency of our species, whatever a minority might have done and still be doing– and Ruesch gives us, as well, a sense of direction so that we can turn civilization around and find our way out of the wilderness of greed, cruelty, ambition, incompetence, vanity, callousness, stupidity, sadism, and insanity that dominate human relations today.

Recovering our health by rejecting Modern Medicine, with its culture of (read dependence on) illness, is only the first step in this move BACK to the wisdom of the ancients, which Ruesch also champions in Slaughter of the Innocent. For he also shares with us his broader vision of the Humanist Values we need in order to preserve our species, our planet and all the Life that it harbors… this being the true goal of civilization, not the accumulation of profits whatever the cost. Ruesch gives us the evidence that points us :

* back to a rediscovery of the wisdom of Hippocrates, whose advice (strict hygene, a simple, frugal diet and a pure environment) is still the best means of maintaining the health of our species,
* back to an appreciation of our fellow earth creatures, animals and even insects, as forms of Life that act, each individual, with its own individual intelligence –like us!– and not blindly from instinct as we have been falsely taught.
* back to an appreciation of the Moral Law at work in society, which means that Mankind must pay for its follies (we can vivisect, we can pollute, we can defraud, but there will be a reckoning…)
* back to a Humanism in which the dignity of our species is affirmed through respect for the other creatures of the Earth, respect for their roles in the balance of Nature (over which Man’s attempt to rule has proved so disasterous), and respect for the only home we have, our planet Earth.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in so-called democracies, where a measure of freedom still remains to the citizenry, must wake up and assume the responsibility for the rot that has developed in society, while we, and our parents, and our grandparents were occupied, all of us, with our own little lives. If this wake-up does not happen soon, while there is yet the freedom to act and to reclaim control over our institutions and governments (a freedom which may, already, at this time, exist in theory only), the wake-up may come when it is too late, as we are being figuratively (and perhaps even literally) led to slaughter for the greater good of the greatest number, as defined by those who profit from every aspect of our existence, but who have lost their humanity along the way (if you think these words are an exaggeration, read up on Utilitarian Ethics –including calls for the euthanasia of handicapped and retarded children, justifications for bestiality, and even apologies for vivisection and medical experiments on ‘useless’ human beings, like tramps, the mentally retarded, the elderly… –all being propounded by these Utilitarian Ethicists (and prominent among them –a coincidence ?– the aforementioned Peter Singer, today installed at Princeton University as a professor of bioethics).

Reason, and a brilliant clarity in regard to the moral issues involved, defines Slaughter of the Innocent as a masterpiece that not only makes the reader want to weep for the errors of our species, but gives him/her as well the hope and the courage to fight to right the wrongs that have been done by the few, and perpetrated on the many of all species. In Slaughter of the Innocent and Naked Empress, Hans Ruesch has indeed given Humanity what it needs to begin the turnaround that morality demands and that our survival requires.

*1. All biographical information comes from Hans Ruesch himself, in conversation with Guenady
*2. Slaughter of the Innocent, first published by Bantam Books in 1978; this extract taken from the 1983 reissue by Civitas Publications, pp 32-35
{N.B.: Slaughter of the Innocent, Naked Empress and other anti-vivisection/responsible medicine writings by Hans Ruesch are available from Civitas ( ) or from Fondazione Hans Ruesch, Via Motta 51, 6900 Massagno, Switzerland
*3. PAST TO PRESENT: IDEAS THAT CHANGED OUR WORLD, by Stuart Hirschberg (Rutgers University) and Terry Hirschberg, Prentice Hall (USA), 2002,
*4. op cit., Chapter 11, page 626, Matters of Ethics, Philosophy and Religion section
*5 The Canterbury Animal Respect Network for a Green Environment,
*6 Quote taken from The British Medical Journal, Dec. 26, 1964, pp. 1615-1619, as cited in Slaughter of the Innocent, page 253
*7 The British Medical Journal, July 2004; 329; 15-19; « Adverse Drug Reactions », by Munir Pirmohamed, et al.
*8 « Death by Medicine », in the August-September 2004 issue of Nexus Magazine, and
*9 Naked Empress or the Great Medical Fraud, Civis Publications, 1982, pp 9-10
*10 Quackwatch ( ) is the product of a vice president of the National Council Against Health Fraud (see, if you are curious, their site at )
*11 From the Preface to the 1983 reissue of Slaughter of the Innocent, p.vii
*12 op cit, p. vi
*13 op cit, p. viii-ix
*14 op cit, p. ix
*15 The main articles from Ruesch’s Civis International Reports may be read online at
*16 Silencing Scientists and Scholars in Other Fields, Power, Paradigm Controls, Peer Review, and Scholarly Communication, Gordon Moran, Ablex Publishing Corporation, 1998
*17 op cit, p.9
*18 As a matter of related interest, it can be noted that Singer was the object of an article in UNIKEN, the paper made by the staff of the University of NSW, in Sydney, on October 25, 1991, which states in part :

« Consistent with the view of a university as a place where polemic is set aside in favour of rational discourse, the seminar on 9 October by Professor Peter Singer (Professor of Philosophy at Monash University who was visiting UNSW to give a few lectures on ethical topics for the School of Community Medicine) allowed a useful interaction between a significant number of UNSW staff who use animals in their work and the ‘guru’ of the animal liberation movement – especially during question time.

« The scientists were obviously gratified to hear Professor Singer say that the use of pound dogs in research could, with appropriate controls, be ‘an example of the most defensible kind of experimentation because the animal presumably feels nothing, additional to what it would feel’ when put down with a high dose of anaesthetic, something which happens to thousands of abandoned cats and dogs every week in Australia… »

*19 The Campaign against Fraudulent Medical Research in Cabramatta NSW, Australia, issued a press release, at the time, in which they wrote :

Professor Peter Singer, for years touted by animal liberationists as their ‘guru’, is suing prominent figure in the antivivisection movement, Hans Ruesch, after accusation of being a ‘big phony’.

Mr Ruesch made the accusation after a journalist accidentially disclosed in an Italian newspaper that Peter Singer’s animal rights lecture tour of Italy at the time (1989) was being sponsored by THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION. The Rockefeller industrial complex owns over 200 pharmaceutical enterprises – a major user of animal experimentation. Hans Ruesch wrote to Rome’s antivivisection society, Lega Anti-Vivisezione (LAV), pointing out the irony of this acclaimed animal lover’s pilgrimage being financed by the pharmaceutical outfits. The editor turned it into a full page article titled ‘PETER SINGER IS A BIG PHONY’. Consequently, Singer is suing Mr. Ruesch and LAV.

Spokesperson for the Campaign Against Fraudulent Medical Research, John Leso, explains : ‘In suing Ruesch, who is the world-leader of the abolitionist anti-vivisection movement, Professor Peter Singer has put himself under the spotlight, something he could ill-afford to do.’ Mr Leso further states that ”… If Professor Singer is to sue everyone who claims he is a ‘phony’, then he would be a very busy man.’ »

*20 Note the following statement, dated April 26, 1995, and addressed : TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, which appears in the CIVIS International Foundation Report, Number 19:

Hans Ruesch, the well-known Swiss author who has been living mainly in Italy, has consulted me in regard to the harassment by the Swiss courts to which he is bieng subjected ever since he constituted in Lugano, Switzerland, a FOUNDATION FOR A MEDICINE WITHOUT VIVISECTION. The relentlessness and outcome of those court actions arouse in many informed individuals the suspicion that they are politically inspired.

Mr. Ruesch has been for many years a highly esteemed client of mine, because I am a lawyer specialized in international copyright law and in that capacity I have negotiated for him various contracts for the sale of the movie rights to some of his books. Most of my professional activity is in English, a language I know well also thanks to long sojourns in the USA, as do my sons, who are lawyers too and work with me; and none of us has been able to find in Mr. Ruesch’s CIVIS FOUNDATION REPORT Nr. 13 the phrase that, according to the verdicts of the Swiss courts, has allegedly appeared in it.

It is incomprehensible and disconcerting for me as a man of the law of very long standing (and particularly proud of his profession because I am the son of Italy’s most celebrated jurist, the late Luigi Ferrara), to learn that both the Court of Appeals of Lugano and the Federal Court of Lausanne have passed punitive verdicts against Hans Ruesch for something that has not been proved to exist; verdicts that have then been spread worldwide by his habitual pursuer with the clear purpose of defaming a universally respected name.

Signed : Prof. Massimo Ferrara-Santamaria

* 21 All quotations are taken from the phamphlet CIVIS Answers Questions on Vivisection, 1998, prepared by Dr Tony Page
*22 Hans Ruesch, in conversation with Guenady

N.B.: Guenady is the single pen name used by the active members of The Friends of Guenady association ( The author of this particular article is a graduate, in Journalism, of the University of California at Berkeley, and lives and teaches English in the South of France.

Ladies! Gentlemen!
Let Us Wake Up ! We Have Been Sleeping Too Long !

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world.
For indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
Margaret Mead


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