41st International Congress London

wahvm reception royal veterinary collegeThe Biennial Congress of the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine, hosted by the Veterinary History Society was held at Imperial College London, 10-13 September 2014.

This event, held for the first time in Britain, welcomed speakers from 30 countries to address the twin themes of ‘One Health‘ (connections between human and animal medicine) and ‘War, animals and the veterinary profession.’ There were also sessions on veterinary collections, general veterinary history and oral history.

Key notes were delivered by Professor Donald F. Smith, Professor of Surgery and Dean Emeritus at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (‘History of One Health’), and Dr Hilda Keane, Ruskin College, Oxford (‘War, Animals and the Veterinary Profession’), who also led a walk on ‘Animal pasts in Hyde Park.’

There was a reception at the Royal Veterinary College, Camden, and a conference dinner at King’s College London.

The congress timetable can be viewed here and there is also a report of the event.

A photo slideshow from the congress can be viewed here through the Veterinary History Society.

You can also download the General Assembly minutes and the Advisory Board minutes from the meeting.

41st WAHVM Congress – Updates

WAHVM-London-Whistlejacket_crop-words-v4The 41st Congress of the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine (WAHVM) will be held at Imperial College London, UK from the 10th to 13th September 2014.  All official conference information can be found at http://www.veterinaryhistorylondon.com/

Registration and applications for bursaries are now open *until 18th August 2014*: registration payments cannot be accepted on the day of the conference.

Provisional program and timetable are now available.

 

Young Scholars Award Announcement 2014: First Prize 1000 Euro

Announcing the 2014 Young Scholars Award Competition

For the best original essay on any topic of relevance to the history of the veterinary field, including animal health and disease.

First Prize: 1000 Euro plus up to 1000 Euro expenses to present the paper at the Congress in London*

Second Prize: 400 Euro

Third Prize: 200 Euro

Deadline: 28 February 2014

Click on this link for details of the competition:   Young Scholars Comp London

WAHVM 2014 – Call for Papers

The call for papers is now available for the 41st International WAHVM Congress, which will be held at Imperial College, London, United Kingdom, 10-13 September 2014. The two conference themes are ‘the history of One Health’, and ‘war, animals and the veterinary profession.’ Papers and posters are invited on these and other topics relating to the history of animal health and veterinary medicine. Please submit an abstract using the form at www.veterinaryhistorylondon.com. The deadline is 31 Jan 2014. Students are particularly encouraged to participate, and bursaries are available for them.

Keynote speakers are:

Professor Donald Frederick Smith, Professor of Surgery and Dean Emeritus, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: ‘The Three Parts of One Health’

Dr Hilda Kean, Ruskin College, Oxford: ‘Animals in wartime Britain: The Home Front’

The meeting is generously sponsored by: The Wellcome Trust, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Knowledge, Society for the Social History of Medicine, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Kings College London, University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

More information at www.veterinaryhistorylondon.com

Chicago, Illinois, USA 2013 AVMHS

 

Chicago skyline AVMA 2013Like everywhere, the history of veterinary medicine reflects the larger history of the United States. Sunday’s American Veterinary History Society meeting was a fascinating glimpse into several periods of US history through the lens of human-animal relationships and especially veterinary medicine. Here are a few highlights from my notes:

 

mjblackwell_125x150Michael Blackwell, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee, gave a powerful lecture (much of it extemporaneous) on the participation of ethnic, cultural, and gender minorities in vet med over time. He asked, “why was veterinary medicine quiet during the Civil Rights era?” As with so many other important social institutions, he answered, our profession hoped that “if we were quiet, integration would not happen to us first.” Blackwell challenged the profession to become a leader in diversity, not just for the sake of diversity; but because of our role in the overall social good. Many animal-owning communities around the US feel alienated from the veterinary profession, due in part to the fact that they have not been historically represented in the profession. “We lose something when we don’t have a significant number in our profession of people from those communities we are trying to serve.” These communities have different cultural attitudes towards animals, and different levels of socioeconomic resources; but we all love our animals and want to care for them.

 

Cultural beliefs came up again in Kimberly Porter’s analysis of the “Cedar County Cow Wars.” This episode pitted angry farmers against government veterinarians mandated to test cattle for TB. Between about 1926 and 1931, this one county in the state of Iowa was consumed in hostilities over the meaning of “scientific” and the validity of the tuberculin test, the rights of individual animal owners versus the broader public health concerns of officials, and fears that traditional rural American culture was disappearing. Porter is the first historian I know of who has discovered the role of a radio “shock jock” named Norman Baker, who broadcast over the station “KTNT” under the banner of “The Naked Truth.” In the tradition of Billy Sunday and other inflammatory radio personalities, Baker classed meat packers, serum manufacturers, and government vets as the farmers’ enemy. Porter argues that Baker inflamed his radio audience, thus accounting for the fact that this was the only place in the US where violence accompanied TB testing to this degree (and where a lawsuit went all the way up to the US Supreme Court).

 

Cultural attitudes toward veterinarians and animals can be discerned from many sources: the postcards that Trenton Boyd has collected; the newspapers and radio broadcasts from the “cow wars,” the oral histories, published lectures and papers, photographs and adverts, …all of these sources and more were featured at the Sunday session. This was a great program of veterinary and animal history. More soon!

 

Check out this vet history blog

Donald Smith has created an interesting and informative blog on veterinary history topics that he’s run across. In the U.S., there are several universities and veterinary schools that have archival materials for researchers interested in veterinary history. One of these is Cornell University, within the Flower-Sprecher Veterinary Library (headed by Susanne Whitaker, who is the wonderful secretary of the AVMHS) and the Kroch/Olin Libraries (archives of the University). A visit there is highly recommended for anyone interested in vet history research. In the meantime, check out Dr. Smith’s blog here:  https://www.veritasdvmblog.com. Dr Smith gave a great presentation at the AVMHS meeting on Sunday on the oral histories of veterinarians that he has collected. You can access the transcripts of his interviews on his blog site. Happy reading!

AVMHS Annual Meeting, 2013

This Sunday, the American Veterinary Medical History Society will have its annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, USA. This is also the 150th Anniversary of the American Veterinary Medical Association. There are several activities of interest to historians, including the James Steele One Health Challenge on revitalizing “One Health” in the North American veterinary profession. I will be posting about the ongoing activities, so check in this weekend!

Stay cool, literally.

Susan Jones, DVM PhD
Professor and Director
Program in the History of Science, Technology, Medicine

World Veterinary Association News – April 2013

WVA-InfoNews

The WVA is happy to announce that the WVA Presidents Assembly (PA) 2013 will take place on Thursday 19th September 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic during the World Veterinary Congress 2013. The PA will be followed by the WVA 150 year’s celebration event.

Very important points on the PA agenda are the vote for the new constitution and by-laws as well as a new set of rules for the future World Veterinary Congress.

To read more about the Presidents Assembly, as well as committee activities, download the pdf of the complete WVA announcements.

Fragonard Museum: The Écorchés

Fragonard Museum: The Écorchés – The Anatomical Masterworks of Honoré Fragonard by Christophe Degueurce

Fragonard-EcorchesA desiccated rider mounted atop a galloping horse, wondrous demonstrations of animal anatomy: these impressive spectacles of permanently preserved bodies, some of the original teaching aids from the world’s first veterinary schools founded from 1762 to 1766, challenge our understanding of historical science, Western culture, and the display of the dead, and they are the historical precursor to modern-day plastinated anatomical specimens popularly exhibited worldwide

Author Christophe Degueurce, curator of the Fragonard Museum, evokes the social turmoil and intellectual ferment surrounding Honoré Fragonard and brings to life not only the character of the uncommonly gifted anatomist, but reveals as well his recent discovery of Fragonard’s secrets of the Écorchés’ manufacture.

Nonfiction • hardcover • 8.25 x 10.25″ • 160 pages • 127 color illustrations • $50.00 • ISBN: 0-922233-39-7 • Order from Amazon