Perspectives of Veterinary Science

Veterinary medicine has been practised as a profession for almost 4,000 years. The first account of this trade can be found in the Hammurabi Code of Law, which was written 2,000 years before Jesus Christ was born.

A move was made two hundred and fifty (250) years ago to turn the trade into a science. In 1761, Claude Bourgelat, a French veterinary surgeon, founded the School of Veterinary Science in Lyon, France.

Since then, Veterinary Science has established itself as a globally recognised profession.

The first veterinary school in Australia started in 1888, when a private veterinary school in Melbourne was established in association with a practise.

Is this revolution a success; have more competent, better educated, and trained veterinary graduates resulted as a result?

John Maxwell has spent the last years of his career as a veterinary scientist researching this topic.

He investigated this subject in depth in research undertaken throughout the first two decades of this century, culminating to the awarding of not one, but two doctorates. Surveys of the profession and oral history interviews with people directly involved in many facets of veterinary science were done, resulting in the awarding of a PhD in 2008 and a DVMSc in 2018.


The outcome, contrary to predictions, was a resounding No! The scientific experiment was a flop. As a result, Dr. Maxwell was inspired to look back in time to see if there was a future for people who wanted to work in animal health.

Author (S) Details

John A. L. Maxwell

Director Katanning Regional Veterinary Hospital, Australia.

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