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Welcome to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons


2011 marks the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the first veterinary school – in Lyon, France, which was established by Claude Bourgelat in 1761.

Vet2011 logo

The history of the profession and its achievements is being celebrated on a global basis under the banner Vet2011. The World Veterinary Year Vet 2011 initiative was founded by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) working alongside veterinary organisations in France and supported by the World Veterinary Association, the European Commission (DG SANCO), UNESCO, the World Health Organisation, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Over the last 250 years, the veterinary profession has had a profound effect not just on the health and welfare of the planet’s animals, but also on public health, through the control of diseases which affect humans as well as animals, and ensuring the safety of the food we eat.

In the UK, the RCVS, the British Veterinary Association and other associations and groups have been marking the year with events and activities.

Here’s a flavour of what’s been happening:

  • View a timeline of the development of the profession on the RCVS Knowledge website
  • Read about activities in Europe in the RCVS News June 2011 Guest Column from Nancy de Briyne, Deputy Executive Director of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) - see related links box on the right
  • In the same issue of RCVS News, veterinary historian Bruce Vivash Jones and Trust Librarian Clare Boulton chart the development of the profession
  • Dr Christophe Buhot, President of the FVE and member of the board of Lyon Veterinary School, and Professor Gary England, Foundation Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham, were the guest speakers at RCVS Day this year (1 July 2011). Under the heading “From Lyon to Nottingham, the education of the veterinary profession” they spoke of the development of veterinary education from its foundation to the opening of the first veterinary school in the UK for 50 years, at the University of Nottingham. You can read a full report of RCVS Day
  • On 11 August, the House of Commons officially recognised Vet2011 with an Early Day Motion, sponsored by Neil Parish MP, chair of the Associate Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare (APGAW), and co-sponsored by Peter Bottomley MP, Jim Dowd MP, Andrew George MP, Andrew Miller MP, and Andrew Rosindell MP. The EDM text is as follows: 

That this House notes that 2011 is World Veterinary Year, marking the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the world's first veterinary school;recognises the key role of veterinarians in a changing world where issues of public health, animal health and welfare and global food security are increasingly important; further recognises the important role of veterinary surgeons in communities across the UK; further notes the role of the British Veterinary Association as the voice of the veterinary profession and the role of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in setting veterinary standards in the UK; and calls on the Government to support the goals and principles of World Veterinary Year and to deliver policies which complement the existing work of practitioners and enable and inspire future generations of veterinary students.

2011 also marks 50 years since the inception of veterinary nurse training. Read more about our Golden Jubilee celebrations, which have shone a spotlight on the profession’s achievements during its first half-century and its aspirations for the future.

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