Within this article, we read of a silly, gruesome experiment from the 1990's, when I would have thought we were past the worst of pointless animal experimentation:
Yet some bioethicists attack this equation of death and decapitation. Prominent among these critics are Franklin Miller, at the National Institutes of Health, and Robert Truog, at Harvard University. In denying decapitation as a definition of death, they cite a 1995 experimentThis was challenged on common sense grounds:
that was so gruesome, it would make Edgar Allan Poe shudder. In the investigation, a sheep about to give birth to a lamb was beheaded. Its headless body was then connected to a breathing machine, with a tube going down its severed neck. Thirty minutes later, a caesarian section operation was performed and the headless body gave birth to a now-motherless baby lamb. To Miller and Truog, “there is no ambiguity here: the sheep remained alive during the experiment.” Therefore, they conclude, “decapitated animals are not necessarily dead.”
This critique was subsequently challenged by John Lizza, a philosophy professor at Kutztown University. “Any criterion for determining death that would count artificially sustained decapitated human bodies among the living ‘we’ is mistaken,” he argues.