Argos

 

Nr. 18 (1998)

S.N. Milton

Western veterinary medicine in colonial Africa: a survey 1902-1963

The paper discusses the origins and often unintended consequences of the application of modern veterinary medicine in Africa during the colonial period. The specific period under review is from the end of the South African War to Kenyan

independence. Many of the European traders, invading armies and settlers that penetrated the African hinterland brought their own animals with them. These animals spread new diseases, which outflanked or overwhelmed existing biological and environmental protective barriers decimating African herds. These insurgent animals, in turn, died in their thousands from indigenous pathogens such as bovine sleeping sickness. With the establishment of the post-conquest colonial state it was the job of attendant European-trained state veterinarians to make sense of this new pathological environment and attempt to assert a degree of control - mainly in the interest of food security - as part of the wider process of colonial consolidation.

A primary concern of the paper is to test the extent to which African conditions and indigenous veterinary practice influenced Western veterinary science, knowledge, training and practice. A related concern is to see where, and how, animal health in Africa was transformed by the application of colonial veterinary medicine and what the socio-economic effect of these changes were. In this respect, due regard is given to the veterinary implications of the emergence of new markets and trading networks for beef cattle and dairy products triggered by colonisation and, in particular, mining-based urbanisation.

P. Leeflang

The Civil Veterinary Service in the former Dutch East Indies

The present State of Indonesia became independent in 1949 after more than three centuries of Dutch rule. An overview of the commercial and political relationship during this period is presented. Organised veterinary service gradually developed in the 19th century. The first government veterinarian arrived in the East Indies in 1820. In 1853 three Dutch veterinarians were recruited to build up a State Veterinary Service. However, at the beginning the veterinary service simmered, mainly because Dutch veterinarians were not interested in a career in the tropics. A severe outbreak of rinderpest, introduced through the importation of breeding Zebu cattle from the British East Indies, around 1880 forced the Colonial Office to employ a few veterinarians to serve for one or two years. The short contract and an attractive payment explain why these recruitments were succesful.

In 1907 a State Veterinary Research Institute was established in Buitenzorg on the island of Java; and in the same year a veterinary school was founded to train native veterinarians and auxillary staff. From this moment veterinary activities took off in the right direction. Due to extensive researches on bacteriology and parasitology and the development of diagnostic facilities and vaccines, infectious diseases could be prevented or combatted. Furthermore, the Veterinary Service was in charge of animal husbandry, livestock breeding and meat inspection. In between the two World Wars, a team of 70 to 100 Dutch veterinarians was employed in government service. They established their own veterinary organisation and veterinary journal. The veterinary contribution to the development of animal health and production and to the increase of the number of draught animals and of food of animal origin was recognized and highly appreciated.

During the Second World War, when the Dutch veterinarians were locked up in internment camps, the native veterinarians showed their great ability and skill to maintain a favourable animal health situation. After repatriation of the last Dutch veterinarians in 1956, they left behind a solid structure of veterinary research, university training and field service.

I.J.R. Visser and J.W. Hesselink

The development of plantations and livestock on Curaçao

In 1499 the Spanish sailors Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci discovered the Caribean islands Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The Spaniards introduced their domestic animals from Europe, primarily for the use of their skins. As no gold was found on the islands and after most of the original inhabitants were removed as slaves, they declared the islands to be islas inútiles and only a very few Spanish people remained. Therefore, it costed only a small effort to Dutch sailors under the leadership of Johan van Walbeeck to conquer the islands in 1634. Ever since the islands are under Dutch control (except for the period 1800-1815, when the English took over). The Dutch West Indian Company made Curaçao into a busy trade center with the slave trade as the main business. Sufficient food supply became a necessity. During the period 1660 to 1725 plantations were build. Cattle, sheep and goats were kept in growing numbers for meat production.

With the growing opposition against slavery at the end of the 18th century Curaçao lost its position as an international harbour. But since 1918 oil refinery brought wealth again.

The animal disease situation in the earlier period is poorly documented. At the end of the 19th century Dutch Cattle Law was introduced. The prevailing livestock diseases are discussed, some of them being typical for the Caribean.

G.T. Haneveld

Toers Diesbergen Schubaert (1805-1853), prosector of the State Veterinary School, illustator and entomologist

Schubaert was born in Harderwijk as the son of a German fisherman. Harderwijk had a university that was closed in 1811. One of its professors, Theodoor Gerard van Lidt de Jeude (1788-1863) was appointed in 1819 to be the first director of the Veterinary School in Utrecht. He engaged the young boy to assist him in the care of his private anatomical and zoological collections. As he proved to be skilful in anatomical techniques and in drawing as well, he was appointed prosector of the School in 1822. He fulfilled this function until 1842, when he changed over to the Medical Faculty in Utrecht. At the Veterinary School he continued work as 'repetitor' (student's coach) for the disciplines of Van Lidt de Jeude (anatomy and physiology), who disliked teaching. In fact Schubaert seems to have done most of the teaching job. He published several atlasses of horse anatomy and an atlas of his models of human brains. His wax models and injection preparations brought him some fame. For the newly founded Veterinary School in Brussels he delivered 400 preparations and in 1851 he trained Alphons Demarbaix (1825-1899), who later became professor of anatomy.

At the Medical Faculty he worked under prof. J.L.C. Schroeder van der Kolk. The dissertations written under his guidance and illustrated by Schubaert, are enumerated. At the Medical Faculty he found the opportunity to do microscopical work.

Next to his official duties, Schubaert formed a large anatomical and zoological cabinet of his own, auctioned after his death. The contents of his collections are described. They contained vertebrate and invertebrate specimens. He was especially interested in entomology and he presented several papers on entomological subjects in the meetings of the Dutch Entomological Society.

In a last paragraph the relics of Schubaert's preparations, still kept in the university, are reported.