History of the BVZS

The British Veterinary Zoologcal Society will soon celebrate its 60th Anniversary in 2021. This page gives some of the history associated with the society

The First Year of the BVZS

The Inaugural Meeting of BVZS

The BVZS originally started with an inaugural meeting at the Zoological Society of London at 10.00am on July 14th 1961. This first meeting was called by Oliver Graham Jones the then Veterinary Officer of London Zoo. He had previously announced his intention in the Veterinary Record of calling a meeting of all Veterinary Surgeons interested in the “Veterinary attention  of Captive Wild Animals and Exotic pets”. Some 36 Veterinary Surgeons attended this first meeting (listed below). Dr Ian Keymer acted as recording secretary for the meeting. It was agreed that the main function of the Society was to encourage Veterinary Surgeons in the development of knowledge and experience of handling and treating Wild animals and to foster research into diseases of non-domesticated animals in captivity and the wild state. The Society should collect, correlate and disseminate information on the subject. At least one meeting a year should be held, preferably at a Zoological Gardens. The meeting agreed to draft out aims of the Society, establish a Constitution which when accepted by the members the Society would then apply to become a Non-Territorial Division of the British Veterinary Association(BVA). After initial discussion the following Officers were elected.


President: Oliver Graham Jones Honorary Secretary and Treasurer: Martin Senior Committee(Council) members: Calvert Appleby, Ian Keymer and John Dall The power to co-opt committee members was approved.


Membership fees were set at £2-2-0(£2.10) payable on January 1st of each year. Those at the meeting paid £1 to cover the period till December 31st 1961.


Lunch ensued after which some Veterinary topics were discussed.

  1. John Dall on B-virus in Monkeys and risks to humans especially with newly imported Monkeys.
  2. Calvert Appleby initiated a discussion, illustrated with colour slides, on Aspergillosis in Penguins.
  3. Oliver Graham Jones showed a film of an operation on a young Orang Utan with an umbilcal hernia along with a film about the Veterinary Hospital at London Zoo.

This first meeting finished at 4.30pm after all present thanked Oliver Graham Jones for all his work in organising and presiding over the meeting and for arranging luncheon and tea!#


List of members attending the inaugural meeting:

Oliver Graham Jones, Ian Keymer, Michael Woodford, William Geddes, Martin Senior, Harry S. Gates, Miss Christine Scott, Norman Gould, A.W. Messervy, Sidney Jennings, G.S. Muir, Miss M.W. Brancker, W.J. Jordan, John Volrath, David Blackmore, P. Ayrton Grime, R.S. Mason, Brian Wicks, Henry Carter, David Redfern, Ernest Hartley, John Rohrbach, Keith Barnett, Calvert Appleby, E.G. Sutton, W. Maclennan, Mrs Joyce Wright, Boyd Langman, Cecil Schwartz, Miss Pauline Wenner, T.A.R. Chipperfield, C.D. Scott, Miss Rosemary Welch, G.E. Joss, J.S.M. Cosgrave and John Dall.

Apologies were received from R.N.T.W. Fiennes, C.R.E. Halnan and D.B. Edwards. In total the membership stood at 39. Mrs. Colline Mathieson attended the afternoon session but did not join the Society.


BVZS Historical Events

June 3rd 1966 Membership 100 and 2 BVA reps elected-Oliver Graham Jones and John Dall.
July 21st 1966 suggested Hon.Sec be paid 7/6p to 10/- per hour (old money!)
July 21st 1966 first PRO D. Blackmore gave report to Council.
BVZS subs increased from £4 to £10 per annum due to increased costs especially those of Secretary.
Dec 1978 BVZS Zebra motif first produced.
May 1984 3 Hon Members, 58 Associate and 185 Full.

On April 18th 1986 at a reception at the Royal College of Surgeons of England for Founder members of BVZS Oliver Graham Jones presented Patrick Humphreys (incoming President BVZS) with a bronze Eagle (the new BVZS Presidential Trophy sponsored by C-Vet) which was to be handed on to successive Presidents.

Nov 14th 1987 261 Full, 112 Associate and 5 Hon.Members.
May 21st 1988 252 Full,139 Associates and 5 Hon.Members.
June 1993 BVZS Journal first proposed, some papers been accepted by Martin Lawton.
June 14th 1994 267 Full, 10 Hon.Members, 25 Students and 159 paying members.
Sept 12th 1995 Peter Scott and D G Lyon reviewed and updated BVZS Constitution.
March 11th 1997 Council: D G Lyon enquired about setting up a BVZS Website.
1998 Gerry Benbow received MBE.
June 10th 1998   310 Active BVZS members.
March 9th 1999 D G Lyon offered post as BVZS Administrative Director-non executive position.
May 13th 2000 Early BVZS website launched by Wildlife Information Network and Susie Boardman.
June 12th 2001  Membership 360.
June 12th 2002  BVZS Plates found “new home” at BVA Headquarters!
May 11th 2003 Extra-ordinary General meeting to discuss future BVZS annual fees for Full/Associate, Students and Veterinary Nurses.

First Committee meeting of BVZS On August 24th 1961 the first BVZS Council meeting took place at 2.30pm at the Veterinary Hospital, Zoological Society, Regents Park, London

Members present. OGJ(President), J.A.Dall, Ian Keymer, Calvert Appleby and Martin Senior (Honorary Treasurer/Secretary)

The Draft Constitution and rules of the Society were considered in detail, careful consideration being given to the objects of the Society, the membership and governing body. It was unaminously agreed that the governing body should be a council with power to form committees. Suggestions as to associate membership were formulated. It was agreed that the annual membership fee be £2-2-0. The final draft was agreed and Mr Charles Mitchell, Editor of the Veterinary Record to be asked to assist in the phraseology of the Constitution after which it would be circulated to the members for comments prior to submission to the BVA and sanction to become a non-Territorial Division.

Treasurer reported funds stood at £35 at the National Provincial Bank, Dunstable and that signatories be two of three Officers, namely President, Hon. Treasurer and Secretary.


  1. Letter from British Small Animal Association (BSAVA) regarding Veterinary supervision at Zoos Circuses and London Airport asking if the BVZS could take over these matters. The Secretary was to seek information regarding throughput of animals from the Controller at London Airport and also from Mr. Joss of Heath St. Hampstead
  2. Letter from BSAVA regarding their meeting at Bristol on November 18th 1961 asking about possibility of a joint meeting with the BVZS. Agreed this should be arranged if possible.

Any other business: Official BVZS notepaper to be produced: Circulation of Council matters of interest to the membership to be arranged with American Publications

A General meeting of the BVZS was held at Clifton Zoological Gardens, Bristol on November 18th 1961 with some 13 members and 7 guests attending and the President OGJ taking the chair. He expressed that to the Council of Clifton Zoo for their hospitality and moved that £3-3-0 be donated to the funds of the No7 Region of the BSAVA as a share of BVZS expenses for the joint meeting. The meeting approved the draft rules of the Society and it was further agreed that nomination forms and bankers orders be prepaid.

The Treasurer presented his first financial statement indicating that income had been £39 and that bills of £18-5-7 were presented for payment leaving a balance of £20-14-5.

Mr.R.Mason spoke about the first group of extracts that had been circulated to the membership. Dr. Appleby asked that the source of the extract together with the species and Latin names be given and that each item be a single sheet to avoid undue costs. Dr. Appleby also suggested that the Cologne Symposium proceedings could be made available. The President felt it was desirable to help members build up a library of extracts and informed the meeting that the RCVS was compiling a list of references and that BVZS could send a list to its members. It was suggested that the Cologne Symposium could be copied and that 6 copies be made available for borrowing. Mr. Mason agreed to continue in his role for a further 6 months putting 2 abstracts on each page. A subcommittee was formed to scrutinise and select subjects for abstracts, perform translations, maintain a reference library of the originals and to card index them. The author of each article was to be acknowledged. Dr Appleby was asked to obtain a copy of the UFAW paper on Tortoises for the membership. Any BVZS member who published articles was to supply the Hon. Secretary with a copy and the BVA and RCVS to be advised of the card index.

Election of officers and the committee members took place with the interim Officers and committee being:-

President: Oliver Graham Jones

Treasurer/Hon. Secretary: Martin Senior

Committee members: Messrs. Dall, Keymer and Appleby

The above would take office for a period of 2 years from January 1st 1962.

An application was to be made for affiliation to the BVA and the nominations for the office of Vice-President be invited for election at the next General meeting.

The venue for the next meeting was suggested to be Chester Zoo and D.B.Edwards was to investigate this possibility subject to the agreement of George Mottershead, the Director of Chester Zoo.

An open invitation was offered to Paignton by Mr. Dall and Dr. Appleby suggested London Zoo as the venue for the next General meeting which should include the presentation of 2 short papers.

A short Council meeting was also held on November 18th 1961 at Bristol for the sole purpose of electing 3 new members to the Society after their names and details had previously been circulated to the membership. There being no objections received the following duly elected: D C Ostler, Dr McDiarmid, Mr and Mrs Startup.

BVZS became Non Territorial Division of BVA on 12/7/1962.

25th Anniversary meeting of BVZS. An article appeared in Veterinary Practice Vol 18, No.16 on 18th August 1986 about this Symposium entitled “Exotic Animals in the 80s” and written by Peter Scott, Francis Scullion and Dermod Malley. ​


BVZS International Clinical Study Group established in Jan 1980.

ZEBRA Foundation
Launched at BVA 30/4/92.

Past Presidents of the Society

1961 – 1963     Mr. O. Graham-Jones
1963 – 1965     Dr. E.C. Appleby
1965 – 1967     Mr. J.A. Dall
1967 – 1969     Dr. I.F. Keymer
1969 – 1972     Miss W.M. Brancker
1972 – 1974     Professor J.O.L. King
1974 – 1976     Mr. D.W. Jolly
1976 – 1978     Mr. G.E. Joss
1978 – 1980     Mr. V.J.A. Manton
1980 – 1982     Mr. D.M. Jones
1982 – 1984     Mr. G. Benbow
1984 – 1986     Professor J.E. Cooper
1986 – 1988     Mr. P. Humphreys
1988 – 1990     Mr. M. J. Fielding
1990 – 1992     Mr. D.W. Marriott
1992 – 1994     Mr. P.W. Scott
1994 – 1996     Professor J.K. Kirkwood
1996 – 1998     Mr. D.G. Lyon
1998 – 2000     Mr. M. Lawton
2000 – 2002     Professor A. Meredith
2002 – 2004     Mrs. L. Rayment-Dyble
2004 – 2006     Miss S. Thornton
2006 – 2008     Mr. E. Flach
2008 – 2010     Mr. S. J. Girling
2010 – 2012     Mrs. V. Roberts
2012 – 2014     Mr. Matthew Brash
2014 – 2016     Mr. Michael Stanford
2016 – 2018     Mr. Mark Stidworthy
2018 – 2019     Mrs. Fieke Molenaar

2019 – 2020     Mr. Peter Kettlewell