2014 (2) 81-90

The library of the first veterinary students (France, 18th century) - Part 2: from Bourgelat and Lafosse to the explosive development of agricultural and veterinary knowledge in the early 19th century

Excepting a few standard books on horses and horsemanship, no veterinary manuals were publishedbefore 1750 (cf. part 1 of this study by Bols and De porte (2014). This might not be surprising since noformal veterinary education was organized until the second half of the 18th century. In this second part,published information available to the students of the first veterinary school (Lyon, 1761) is described.In 1750, Bourgelat, founder of this school, published one of the first veterinary handbooks in modernhistory ‘Elemens d’Hippiatrique’ (1750-51-53), and his future opponent, Phillippe Etienne Lafosse,delighted the veterinary world with the publication of several outstanding books, among which hisfamous ‘Cours d’Hippiatrique’ (1772). As from then, veterinary medicine was no longer solely basedon empiricism, but gradually evolved to what might be called evidence-based medicine. Furthermore,the interest in species other than the horse emerged and increased. However, the hegemony of the horselasted until well beyond the 19th century. All this needs to be seen against the background of gradual butvery important social changes that ultimately led to the French Revolution. This turning point markedan explosion of knowledge of good farming practices in general and of the establishment of formalveterinary training more specifically.

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