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The 43rd International Congress of the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine, Bergen.


In June 2018, 56 delegates from 20 different countries met in the beautiful city of Bergen, Norway, for the biennial congress of the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine. This was a highly enjoyable and stimulating meeting that brought veterinary historians, librarians and archivists together with veterinarians working in (and retired from) practice, policy and scientific research.

The first theme of the meeting was the impact of the veterinary profession on human health, welfare and society. Several papers addressed veterinary contributions to the control of epizootic and zoonotic diseases and to the promotion of food hygiene. The most popular topic was rinderpest, which was examined in the context of medieval Ireland, the 18th century Netherlands, 19th century Britain, and the 20th century global eradication campaign. The second theme - the history of disease and welfare in aquatic animals – was addressed by several Norwegian and Turkish colleagues, who explored the history of training and veterinary interventions in fish health. There were also a number of free communications on topics ranging from early 20th century British ‘dog doctors’ to veterinary drugs and oaths, and a series of excellent posters.

One notable feature of this meeting was the presentations and discussions on the practice of veterinary history. Presenters from the Medical Sciences Library, Texas A&M University documented their creation of a world-class veterinary history collection. They also facilitated a fascinating plenary discussion on approaches to veterinary historical research, which highlighted the various ways in which veterinarians interested in history and historians interested in veterinary topics can learn from each other. Another paper documented how veterinary historical research had been incorporated into the Edinburgh University veterinary curriculum, and what students made of it. Delegates also learned about the oral history of rinderpest project, and heard from early veterinary participants in fish health, who had made - and become - history.

For relaxation, delegates were first treated to a reception in the Hakonshallen, a hall located inside Bergen’s medieval fortress. The following evening, which was beautifully warm and clear, they ascended Mount Fløyen (by funicular) to dine at the restaurant and gaze at the marvelous views.


The congress was superbly organized by a sub-committee of the Norwegian History Society (Yngvild Wasteson (Chair), Roar Gudding, Martha Jakobsen Ulvend, Roar Ektvedt and Martin Binde). Many thanks are due to them and to the congress sponsors: Wellcome, Pharmaq and Scanvacc.

Please visit the Website for the Congress for further details.

To see more of what we got up to click here.

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