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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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CVM Shouts “Hear, Hear!” to Veterinarians around the World

By Lauren Saavedra, Summer Intern, Communications

In 1761, the world’s first veterinary school, originally called École Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon (National Veterinary School of Lyon), opened in Lyon, France. Three years later, École Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort (National Veterinary School of Alfort), opened near Paris, France. Both schools were founded by French veterinarian Claude Bourgelat and represent the start of today’s veterinary profession. 

Bourgelat was the first scientist to suggest that studying animal biology and diseases increases the understanding of human biology and diseases.  His idea of looking at the similarities and differences between animals and humans, especially in terms of disease, marks the beginning of comparative medicine. 

To honor Bourgelat’s legacy and veterinarians worldwide, 2011 has been declared “World Veterinary Year” by 19 countries, including the United States.  World Veterinary Year, or Vet2011, is a time to raise public awareness about the veterinary profession.  It’s also a time to highlight the dedication of veterinarians to the health and safety of animals and people.

Starting now and continuing through 2011, FDA’s CVM is celebrating Bourgelat and the beginning of modern veterinary medicine.  CVM is also celebrating all the veterinarians who continue to move this rewarding profession forward.  Here’s to the next 250 years!