Vet 2011 celebration planning under way

Published on October 17, 2009
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The Chinese calendar says 2011 is the year of the rabbit, but veterinarians would like it also to be known as World Veterinary Year.

Vet 2011 is a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the world's first veterinary school in 1761 in Lyon, France. The Alfort veterinary school, near Paris, came three years later. Both were founded by Frenchman Claude Bourgelat.

Bourgelat, in collaboration with surgeons in Lyon, was instrumental in developing the concept of comparative pathobiology.

Comité Vet 2011 has been recruiting members since this past year in an effort to designate 2011 as World Veterinary Year (see JAVMA, July 15, 2008). So far, organizing committees have formed at the local, national, and international levels. The AVMA is an associate member of Vet 2011, along with the Association des Anciens Elèves et Amis de l'Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon, the Australian Veterinary Association, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, the African Veterinary Association, and the World Veterinary Association.

World Veterinary Year would be commemorated with special events highlighting the contributions veterinary medicine has made to animal and public health. The AVMA is spearheading a national committee comprising organizations allied with the profession and government entities to coordinate events in the United States.

The Association, for its part, is considering the following:

  • Hosting a one-day symposium at the 2011 AVMA Annual Convention in St. Louis titled "World Veterinary Year: 250 Years of Improving Animal and Human Health."
  • Pursuing a congressional resolution and presidential proclamation declaring World Veterinary Year in 2011.
  • Publishing relevant cover art and articles in JAVMA in 2011, as well as the 2011 AVMA convention newspaper.
  • Posting video footage on AVMA TV about Vet 2011 and World Veterinary Year.
  • Developing commemorative items and handouts with the Vet 2011 logo.
  • Establishing a student exchange with the Lyon veterinary school, in conjunction with the Student AVMA.
  • Using the Vet 2011 logo and the AVMA logo on the return-address labels included in the 2011 AVMA membership renewal mailings.
  • Developing an exhibit booth on Vet 2011 and World Veterinary Year for use at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference and AVMA convention.

About 20 members of the U.S. national committee participated in a conference call Sept. 14 to discuss their preliminary ideas. Many expressed an interest in having the symposium speakers at their own conferences. They also offered to display Vet 2011 signage or host a booth at their conference exposition halls. Running relevant articles and promotional materials in their journals, newsletters, and other publications was mentioned, too.

To serve as a link for Vet 2011 events globally, the French committee is planning to produce a film on the life of Bourgelat and the birth of the veterinary profession at the end of the 18th century. The film will be offered to TV channels and event organizers. Merial has signed on to sponsor the film's script. Visit for more information on Vet 2011.