University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine > Who do you think you are? The activities and identities of the late 19th century vet

Who do you think you are? The activities and identities of the late 19th century vet

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This paper explores what it meant to be a veterinary surgeon in the later 19th century, when the use of this title was not restricted to members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. It asks who became a vet and what did they do. What kinds of training and expertise did they possess? How did they view themselves and how did others view them? The answers to these questions reveal that contrary to existing historical accounts, members of the RCVS were not necessarily superior to unqualified vets. Preoccupied, then as now, with the profession’s future, RCVS council attempted to rectify this situation by improving veterinary training and expertise, and achieving a legal monopoly over the title veterinary surgeon. Though successful in parts, its campaign foundered due to a fundamental tension over veterinary identity that still exists today: should vets be educated scientists, akin to doctors, or practically oriented businessmen?

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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