Ronald Hubscher

Animal Masters Veterinarians in French Society (18th-20th Century) Publication date : May 1, 1999

A paradox is at the origin of this first story of veterinarians in France. Indeed, whereas animal breeding is at the basis of agricultural systems in France and French people show a passion without equal in the rest of the world for pets, veterinarians remain unknown.The author recounts how the profession was founded, by taking some of the functions of the smith and by medicalizing them. Beyond the story of a profession, he tries to apprehend the major evolutions of contemporary French society. Veterinarians take their place in a social history, that of elites as well as the rural world, majoritary until the end of the second World War. They belong to a cultural history, that of the relationships between what belongs to knowledge and what belongs to popular aspects of life, as well as feelings towards animals. They also belong to the history of science, because they have participated in medical progress during the last two centuries, and the doctrinal polemics which this progress has brought about, particularly pastorism. This book tells the story of French society through the lense of veterinairans.

Ronald Hubscher is a professor of contemporary history.