VetAgro Sup was created in 2010 following the merger of the French National Veterinary School of Lyon (1761), the French National School of Veterinary Services (1973), and the French National School of Agricultural Engineering of Clermont-Ferrand (1984).
The French National Veterinary School of Lyon: the world’s first veterinary school
On August 4, 1761, Claude Bourgelat, director of the Equestrian Academy of Lyon, obtained permission from King Louis XV to create “a school where the principles and methods involved in curing livestock diseases would be publicly taught”. This project became reality thanks to the support of Bourgelat’s friend, Henri-Léonard Bertin, who was then Comptroller General. At the beginning of the following year, the school opened its doorsfirst students were welcomed into an old hostel in the La Guillotière district of Lyon. The Institution became the Royal Veterinary School. It continued to grow but occupied the same facilities. By 1796, the location had become too small, and conditions in the building were unhealthy. The school was then moved to the Vaise district. It was housed in the former Couvent des Deux-Amants, located along the banks of the Saône River.
In 1764, Bourgelat obtained permission from Louis XV to create a second veterinary school near Paris, in Maisons-Alfort. Classes began in 1766.
At the end of the 18th century, Bourgelat’s students were being trained in Lyon and Maisons-Alfort. Some later left France—emigrating abroad or returning home, in the case of foreign students—and went on to establish veterinary schools elsewhere in Europe and the world that were directly inspired by their French alma maters.