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Pasteur ventured into outright human experimentation and used his rabies treatment on humans before he had used it on animals. His private notebooks yielded that finding, but it comes as no surprise to those who have read a letter that Pasteur wrote to the emperor of Brazil. In 1884, Pasteur wrote that people condemned to death should become subjects of human experiments and given the option on the eve of their planned executions. The choice presented would be execution or becoming subjects for rabies vaccine testing. Pasteur predicted that the condemned would all consent to becoming experimental subjects, as a “person condemned to death only fears death.” Pasteur performed his experiments on his patients after he wrote his letter to the Brazilian emperor. Patrice Debré, who authored a sympathetic biography of Pasteur, wrote that one could not read Pasteur’s letter to the emperor without thinking of the Nazis’ death-camp experiments. Even one of Pasteur's disciples said about Pasteur's human rabies experiments, "The scientist's conscience smothered the conscience of the man."

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