Nr.22 (2000)

E.P. Oldenkamp and A.H.H.M. Mathijsen

Two letters to Alexander Numan by J.H. van Opdorp, surgeon at Arnemuiden (Province of Zealand)

The periodical, Veeartsenijkundig Magazijn, that Numan had started in 1828 caught the attention of a surgeon in a small town in the neighbourhood of Middelburg. In his two letters he tells about his experiences in animal healing, leaving it to Numan which use he eventually might make of these observations. In the first letter (1829) he tells how he as a ship's doctor was shipwrecked in the Indian Ocean, and put ashore on a small island, had succesfully performed an operation on an ass, suffering from a very large praeputial tumor. In his second letter (1830) he tells about his practice in Arnemuiden where he settled after leaving the navy. As there were no trained veterinarians in the surroundings, he extended his care also to animals. A case of a cow suffering from an enlarged heart was, indeed, published by Numan.

A biographical sketch of Van Opdorp is added. His name is known in the medical history of the Netherlands, because he was the most fervent adherent of the teachings of Broussais, a professor of medicine in Paris. Although these teachings found many followers in the French-speaking countries, the propaganda made by Van Opdorp through his periodical, devoted to the socalled physiological medicine, did not meet with succes in The Netherlands.

R. Strikwerda

Personal experiences with freezing bull sperm, 1949-1984

The author made his career mainly in activities concerned with artificial insemination in the three northren provinces. He gives here a detailed account of the several phases in the development of the techniques to freeze the semen of the bull.

The start was made after a communication by Polge and Rowson of Cambridge at the Second International Congress of Physiology and Pathology of Animal Reproduction and Artificial Insemination, Kopenhagen, 1952, who advised the addition of a 10% glycerine solution to the dilutant medium as a protective agent of the spermatozoa against harmful influence of cristallization of the water. Research in the Institute of Animal Husbandry (Organization for Applied Research) in Utrecht led to a device to regulate very precisely the addition of the glycerol so that osmotic shock could be avoided. A new type of freeze chamber, based on cooling by dry ice and alcohol, was constructed after the model designed by a staff member of the Animal Health Service in the Province of Zealand. With these tools the first freezing experiences were gained at the Provincial Animal Health Service in Groningen.

In 1957 a Semen Centre for the Province of Friesland was established by the Friesian Cattle Herdbook and the 17 A.I.-societies then in existence in that province. In 1959 a more sophisticated freon-based freezing apparatus was introduced, that could reach a temperature of - 950 C. and that had a capacity to store 28,000 vials (doses) of sperm. The next step was the introduction, in 1967, of an apparatus based on liquid nitrogen that reached a temperature of -1960 C. For the packing of the sperm no longer vials were used, but droplets of 0.1 ml were formed into pellets at a temperature of -790 C. after a method introduced by the Japanese researchers Nagase et al..

After the author's change-over in 1968 to an A.I.-organization in Meppel (Province of Drenthe) two new developments in the field took place: 1) the number of bulls selected for A.I. were reduced based on insights of population genetics; 2) increase in scale necessitated, for reason of logistics, the substitution of pellets by straws. This straw method was a Danish invention, brought to great perfection in France by dr. R. Cassou. After 1972 all semen was deep-frozen. Good results were obtained after further dilution of the semen and smaller doses than earlier thought possible. The straws contained 0.25 ml semen with 25 million, or by greater extension only 10-15 million spermatozoa without reducing the rate of fertilization.

During 1982/83 550,000 straws were frozen, yielded from 1600 ejaculates (i.e. 340 straws/doses pro ejaculate). The number of first inseminations was 98,500 and the non-return percentage after 56 days was 71. 5.

P.A. Koolmees

From horse doctor or cow leech to veterinary manager. Regulation of the market for veterinary services in historical perspective

In the course of the last two centuries veterinarians succeeded in gaining a monopoly with respect to a number of specific tasks within society under the motto "to the benefit of man and animal alike". Today, a veterinary infrastructure exists in the western world, which is usually taken for granted by society. Before the responsibility for maintaining animal resources and protecting both animal and human health were entrusted to veterinarians, both the process of scientific progress and professionalisation of veterinary medicine were necessary. In this paper the regulation of the market for veterinary services in The Netherlands is described.

Until World War II, the military and the colonies represented a major demand for veterinary services. A healthy livestock has always been considered as a main concern by the Dutch government with respect to the domestic food supply as well as exports. State intervention concerning veterinary medicine therefore focused on the organised campaigns against livestock diseases. Early national veterinary legislation originated from this concern, as is still the case today within the EU framework. The protection of human health only became part of the veterinary professional domain at a relatively late stage. Due to a strong economic growth from the 1960s onwards, veterinary practice was extended with the care for an increasing number of companion animals. The veterinary profession and its employment are subject to changes in society, such as the number of animals and the significance that is paid to the different species. In 1900 there were 4 million production animals in The Netherlands, while the human population counted 5 million. One century later, not less than approximately 130 million farm animals and 30 million companion animals are living in this country, which now has about 16 million inhabitants. Consequently, the total number of active vets increased from about 250 to 4,000 in the same period, while the number of group and solo practices both increased.

The market for veterinary services has become complicated, since it is increasingly influenced by different actors. The latter may even have conflicting interests. One of the most important actors is the state. On the one hand the state tried to stimulate the development of the profession, on the other hand it attempted to control and direct veterinary medicine by legislation. The 'Instruction for veterinarians' active in the United Kingdom of The Netherlands, which was issued in Brussels in 1819 represented the basis of this state intervention. This instruction counted 24 articles. Today, the size of veterinary regulations and legislation within the EU framework has become enormous, and is again imposed from Brussels.

F.F.J.M. Pieters

Animals held in menageries in Amsterdam ca. 1700

In the 17th and 18th century the Dutch East and West Indian Companies imported many exotic animals. Many citizens possessed a natural history cabinet or a menagerie. Of at least two menageries we know that they were open to the public for an entrance fee. They attracted many famous visitors. Zoologists among them found animals not yet described before. The keepers of those menageries supplied animals too, sometimes to foreign countries e.g. to the Zoological Garden Schönbronn, established in 1752. Artists and amateurs were inspired by the exotic fauna. From an amateur, called Jan Velten, an album containing ca. 180 drawings, aquarels and gouaches is preserved in the library of the Royal Zoological Society Natura Artis Magistra in Amsterdam, founded in 1838. This manuscript with the title The Wonders of Nature presents a fairly good picture of the contents of both public menageries. After restoration the manuscript is reproduced on Photo CD Its contents can be studied now without any danger for damage to the original.

S. Fuks

Animals as symbols on hunting-portraits and still lives of game

People, grown rich or famous in the 17th century, had themselves often painted against the background of a hunting-scene and surrounded by hunting-dogs or falcons. They liked to be seen in the same manner as the nobility in the times before.

Still lives with animals are a rich source of symbolism and hidden messages. Painters who specialized in this genre were i.a. Melchior d'Hondeckoeter, Jan Baptist Weenix (1621-ca. 1660) and his son Jan Weenix, Fabritius and Willem van Aelst.

Animals often found in these paintings are: the partridge, the hare, finches, bound together by a split twig, the swan and the quail, mostly depicted together with objects used in hunting these animals, as the quail flute, different nets, sparrow catch and shot-guns.

The interpretation of these compositions is possible by studying the contemporary poetry or proverbs.

A number of examples are given revealing the sexual undertones of the depictions. Some symbolism is maintained till our days, e.g. the rabbit tail of the playgirls.

The author showed a composition by himself as an imitation of Fabritius.

H. Meyer

How artists see the eating of animals

Feeding and reproduction are among the most important characteristics of living organisms. Since man is keeping domestic animals, he is also responsible for their nutrition. This task of daily care leads to a strong bond between man and animal. In the course of millennia artists have tried to grasp and to depict animal eating or their feeding. Independent of a given cultural period, the artistic intentions can be quite different. We can distinguish three lines: 1) Narrative representations of daily life situations, partially to characterize the interaction between man and animal. 2) Many artists go further by giving a symbolic character to the act of alimentation, be it ironic or as an expression of care or of struggle for life. 3) If the aesthetic element is dominating the primary animalistic process is reduced.The several aspects of the theme were illustrated by fifty pictures (slides) selected from a period of five thousand years.