The world’s first veterinary school was founded in Lyon, France, in 1761, shortly followed by the Alfort veterinary school, near Paris, in 1764, both of them at the initiative of French veterinarian Claude BOURGELAT. This means that 2011 will mark the 250th world anniversary of veterinary education.

By setting up the world’s first veterinary training institutions, BOURGELAT created the veterinary profession itself. Thus, 2011 will also mark the 250th world anniversary of the veterinary profession.

Bourgelat’s genius did not stop there. As a result of his fruitful collaboration with surgeons in Lyon, he was also the first scientist who dared to suggest that studying animal biology and pathology would help to improve our understanding of human biology and pathology. 2011 will also mark the 250th anniversary of the concept of comparative pathobiology, without which modern medicine would never have emerged.

Therefore, it is not just the anniversary of the creation of veterinary training that we should be celebrating in France in 2011. The entire world should join with us in celebrating our veterinary profession, which has been working to improve both animal and human health for the past 250 years.

We hereby propose that 2011 should be declared:

"World Veterinary Year"

The major events of World Veterinary Year


24 January 2011
Official Opening Ceremony of the World Veterinary Year Versailles - France
From 13 May 2011 to 15 May 2011
World conference on veterinary education VetAgro Sup - Campus Vétérinaire de Lyon - France
From 10 Oct. 2011 to 14 Oct. 2011
International Closing Ceremony of the World Veterinary Year Cape Town - South Africa