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Veterinary history
A brief history of Veterinary Record
  1. Edward Boden, MBE, HonAssocRCVS, FRPharmS
  1. 11 Elletson Street, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire FY6 7AE
  1. e-mail: tedboden{at}

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The first issue of Veterinary Record was published 125 years ago this week, on July 14, 1888. Edward Boden, a former editor, who has just written a history of the BVA, describes its evolution to date.

IN September 1887, the National Veterinary Association (now the British Veterinary Association) resolved that ‘the time has arrived for the profession to be represented by a weekly professional journal’, published by the Association. The two existing journals, The Veterinarian, founded as long ago as 1828, and The Veterinary Journal, founded in 1875 by George Fleming, were both monthly publications.

In July 1888, less than a year after the Association's resolution, The Veterinary Record was launched. It was not, however, published by the Association. It was established and edited by William Hunting, a 42-year-old vet, a prominent member of the NVA.

In the first issue, on July 14, Hunting wrote that, although the Record could not ‘as yet’ claim to represent the Association, he hoped it would earn the title of ‘representative’ by appealing to the whole profession and opening its pages to ‘all who have the will to assist the progress of our corporate body’.

‘Careful observation makes a skilful practitioner but his skill dies with him,’ Hunting wrote. ‘By recording his observations he adds to the knowledge of his profession.’

He aimed to make his new journal both educative and informative, as he intended to include reports from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the NVA's divisions as well as clinical papers. From the beginning, Hunting's new journal aimed to cover the broad spectrum of veterinary matters: reports of clinical meetings were the germ of what became continuing professional development; descriptions of conferences and meetings helped encourage links between the scattered community of individual vets; the education and training of …

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