This paper examines the successful campaign in Britain to develop canine distemper vaccine between 1922 and 1933. The campaign mobilized disparate groups around the common cause of using modern science to save the nation's dogs from a deadly disease. Spearheaded by landed patricians associated with the country journal The Field, and funded by dog owners and associations, it relied on collaborations with veterinary professionals, government scientists, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the commercial pharmaceutical house the Burroughs Wellcome Company (BWC). The social organization of the campaign reveals a number of important, yet previously unexplored, features of interwar science and medicine in Britain. It depended on a patronage system that drew upon a large base of influential benefactors and public subscriptions. Coordinated by the Field Distemper Fund, this system was characterized by close relationships between landed elites and their social networks with senior science administrators and researchers. Relations between experts and non-experts were crucial, with high levels of public engagement in all aspects of research and vaccine development. At the same time, experimental and commercial research supported under the campaign saw dynamic interactions between animal and human medicine, which shaped the organization of the MRC's research programme and demonstrated the value of close collaboration between veterinary and medical science, with the dog as a shared object and resource. Finally, the campaign made possible the translation of ‘laboratory’ findings into field conditions and commercial products. Rather than a unidirectional process, translation involved negotiations over the very boundaries of the ‘laboratory’ and the ‘field’, and what constituted a viable vaccine. This paper suggests that historians reconsider standard historical accounts of the nature of patronage, the role of animals, and the interests of landed elites in interwar British science and medicine.
1 Hobday, Frederick, ‘Saving the lives of our dogs’, The Field, 4 February 1933, p. 1.
2 Horsley, Victor, ‘Rabies in dogs’, The Standard, 29 May 1889, p. 5.
3 Tansey, E.M., ‘Protection against dog distemper and Dogs Protection Bills: the Medical Research Council and anti-vivisectionist protest, 1911–1933’, Medical History (1994) 38, pp. 1–26; Austoker, Joan and Bryder, Linda, ‘The National Institute for Medical Research and related activities of the MRC’, in Austoker, and Bryder, (eds.), Historical Perspectives on the Role of the MRC: Essays in the History of the MRC of the United Kingdom and Its Predecessor, the Medical Research Committee, 1913–1953, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989, pp. 40 and 43. The ‘official’ history of the council describes the work at the NIMR and unsurprisingly says little on its context. See Thomson, A. Landsborough, Half a Century of Medical Research: The Programme of the Medical Research Council (UK), vol. 2, London: HMSO, 1975, pp. 119–122. The commercial story of the vaccine at Burroughs Wellcome, with little reference to the MRC, is told in Church, R.A. and Tansey, E.M., Burroughs, Wellcome & Co.: Knowledge, Trust and Profit, and the Transformation of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Lancaster: Carnegie Publishing, 2007, pp. 349–351.
4 The products available in 1933 were a vaccine containing dry, killed distemper virus; live virus used to reinforce vaccination; distemper antiserum used to treat infected dogs; and live virus to vaccinate healthy dogs.
5 Macleod, Roy M. and Andrews, E.K., ‘The origins of the DSIR: reflections on ideas and men, 1915–1916’, Public Administration (1970) 48, pp. 23–48; Alter, Peter, The Reluctant Patron: Science and the State in Britain 1850–1920, Oxford: Berg, 1987; Joan Austoker, ‘Walter Morley Fletcher and the origins of a basic biomedical research policy’, in Austoker and Bryder, Historical Perspectives, op. cit. (3), pp. 22–33; Edgerton, David and Horrocks, Sally M., ‘British industrial research and development before 1945’, Economic History Review (1994) 47, pp. 213–238; Edgerton, David, Science, Technology and the British Industrial ‘Decline’, 1870–1970, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996; Edgerton, , Warfare State: Britain, 1920–1970, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005; Clarke, Sabine, ‘Pure science with a practical aim: the meanings of fundamental research in Britain, circa 1916–1950’, Isis (2010) 10, pp. 285–311.
6 Fisher, Donald, ‘Rockefeller philanthropy and the British Empire: the creation of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’, History of Education (1978) 7, pp. 129–143; Fisher, , ‘The Rockefeller Foundation and the development of scientific medicine in Great Britain’, Minerva (1978) 16, pp. 20–41; Lawrence, Christopher, Rockefeller Money, the Laboratory, and Medicine in Edinburgh, 1919–1930: New Science in an Old Country, Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2005.
7 For the interests of landed elites we have relied on Cannadine, David, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. For their relative position and role in British society see Harris, Jose, Private Lives, Public Spirit: A Social History of Britain, 1870–1914, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1993. The history of the British veterinary profession has received limited attention, see Pattison, Iain, The British Veterinary Profession, London: J.A. Allen, 1984.
8 Griffin, Emma, Blood Sport: Hunting in Britain since 1066, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008; Blancou, J., ‘Dog distemper: imported into Europe from South America?’, Historia medicinae veterinaria (2004) 29, pp. 35–41.
9 Hunter, Pamela, Veterinary Medicine: A Guide to the Sources, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004, p. 11. The first modern dog show was held in Newcastle upon Tyne in July 1859. The Kennel Club was established in 1873.
10 Hunting, William, ‘Vaccination against distemper’, Veterinary Record (1902) 14, p. 373.
11 Gardiner, Andrew, ‘“The loathsome complaint”: the early history of canine distemper’, Veterinary History (2008) 14, pp. 105–114.
12 Fisher, J.R., ‘Not quite a profession: the aspirations of veterinary surgeons in England in the mid-nineteenth century’, Historical Research (1993) 66, pp. 284–302; Woods, Abigail and Matthews, Stephen, ‘“Little, if at all, removed from the illiterate farrier or cow-leech”: the English veterinary surgeon, c.1860–1885, and the campaign for veterinary reform’, Medical History (2010) 54, pp. 29–54; Hardy, Anne, ‘Professional advantage and public health: British veterinarians and State Veterinary Services, 1865–1939’, 20th Century British History (2003) 14, pp. 1–23. Antje Grünberg, ‘The distemper of the dog: a contribution to the history of pet diseases’, PhD dissertation, University of Berlin, 1997.
13 Hunter, op. cit. (9), p. 11.
14 Kirk, Hamilton, Canine Distemper: Its Complications, Sequelae and Treatment, London: Baillière, Tindall & Cox, 1922.
15 ‘W’, ‘The distemper in dogs’, New Sporting Magazine (1847) 13, p. 439. For similar views see, for example, Mr McBride, , ‘On ulcers of the cornea in dogs suffering from distemper’, British Medical Journal (12 February 1870) 1, p. 159; Fleming, George, A Manual of Veterinary Sanitary Science and Police, London: Chapman & Hall, 1875, pp. 290–291.
16 Worboys, Michael, ‘Germ theories of disease and British veterinary medicine, 1860–1890’, Medical History (1991) 35, pp. 308–327; Woods, Abigail, A Manufactured Plague? The History of Foot and Mouth Disease in Britain, London: Earthscan, 2004, pp. 1–19.
17 On early distemper vaccines see Tizard, Ian and Schultz, Roland D., ‘Grease, anthraxgate, and kennel cough: a revisionist history of early veterinary vaccines’, Advances in Veterinary Medicine (1999) 41, pp. 7–24.
18 Millais, Everett, ‘The pathogenic microbe of distemper in dogs, and its use for protective inoculation’, British Medical Journal (1890) 1, pp. 856–859.
19 Copeman, Sidney Monckton, ‘The micro-organism of distemper in the dog and the production of a distemper vaccine’, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (1900) 67, pp. 459–461.
20 Phisalix, Charles, ‘Maladie des jeunes chiens: Statistique des vaccinations pratiquées du 15 mai au 15 août 1902’, Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences (1902) 134, 1252. Lignières and Phisalix's bacillus is discussed in Kirk, op. cit. (14), pp. 32–33.
21 ‘Report of a Committee formed to carry out experiments with the vaccine of Dr. Phisalix’, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapy (1904) 17, p. 274; ‘Some remarks on distemper’, Veterinary Record (1906) 18, p. 757.
22 Ferry, Newell S., ‘Etiology of canine distemper’, Journal of Infectious Diseases (1911) 4, pp. 399–420; M'Gowan, J.P., ‘Some observations on a laboratory epidemic, principally among dogs and cats, in which the animals affected presented symptoms of the disease called “distemper”’, Journal of Pathology and Bacteriology (1911) 15, pp. 372 ff.
23 ‘Committee on Distemper in Dogs’, Veterinary Record (1907) 20, pp. 17–18.
24 Masters of the Puckeridge Hunt were usually bankers or brewers, of whom the Barclays were leading figures. Carr, Raymond, English Fox Hunting: A History, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1976, pp. 81–82. Berry, Michael F., A History of the Puckeridge Hunt, London: Country Life Books, 1950. Obituary, ‘Lord Leconfield: a life of public service’, The Times, 18 April 1952, p. 8E; obituary, ‘Major M.E. Barclay: Hunting and Farming’, The Times, 16 November 1962, p. 15C; ‘The Puckeridge Hunt, 1725–1946’, Hertfordshire Countryside, available at www.hertfordshire-genealogy.co.uk/data/places/places-p/puckeridge_/puckeridge-foxhounds.htm, accessed 15 May 2012.
25 On the problem of distemper amongst hounds before the First World War see Bradley, C., The Foxhound of the Twentieth Century: The Breeding and Work of the Kennels of England, London: George Routledge and Sons, 1914.
26 Woods, Abigail, ‘“Partnership” in action: contagious abortion and the governance of livestock disease in Britain, 1885–1921’, Minerva (2009) 47, pp. 195–216.
27 Waddington, Keir, The Bovine Scourge: Meat, Tuberculosis and Public Health, 1850–1914, Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2006.
28 Report, ‘The Commission on Grouse Disease’, The Times, 13 August 1904, p. 4E.
29 ‘Committee on Grouse Disease’, The Times, 4 February 1907, p.14B; Cobbett, Louis and Graham-Smith, G.S., ‘An investigation of the pathology of “grouse disease”’, Journal of Hygiene 10 (1910), pp. 1–36.
30 Nature (26 October 1911) 87, pp. 544–545.
31 Kirk, op. cit. (14), pp. 58–81.
32 Kirk, op. cit. (14), p. ix.
33 Andrew Gardiner, ‘Small animal practice in British veterinary medicine, 1920–1956’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Manchester, 2009, pp. 112–115.
34 Hardy, op. cit. (12), pp. 8–9; Hunter, op. cit. (9), pp. 23–4; Hobday, Frederick T.G., Surgical Diseases of the Dog and Cat: With Chapters on Anaesthetics and Obstetrics, London: Baillière Tindall and Cox, 1901.
35 Woods, op. cit. (16), pp. 68–81.
36 Hobday, op. cit. (1), p. i.
37 Cook to Fletcher, meeting to discuss ‘The Distemper Question’, 21 October 1922, National Archives, Kew Gardens, London (hereafter NA), FD1/1274.
38 Cook to Fletcher, 22 November 1922, NA FD1/1274.
39 Sturdy, Steve, ‘War as experiment: physiology, innovation and administration in Britain, 1914–1917: the case of chemical warfare’, in Cooter, Roger, Harrison, Mark and Sturdy, Steve (eds.), War, Medicine and Modernity, London: Sutton, 1999, pp. 65–84.
40 Jonathan Liebenau, ‘The MRC and the pharmaceutical industry: the model of insulin’, in Austoker and Bryder, Historical Perspectives, op. cit. (3), pp. 163–180; Bliss, Michael, The Discovery of Insulin, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982.
41 Tansey, op. cit. (3), p. 11; Tansey, ‘The early scientific career of Sir Henry Dale F.R.S. (1875–1968)’, unpublished PhD dissertation, University of London, 1990; Sinding, Christiane, ‘Making the unit of insulin: standards, clinical work, and industry, 1920–1925’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine (2002) 76, pp. 231–277.
42 Bresalier, Michael, ‘Neutralizing flu: “immunological devices” and the making of a virus disease’, in Kroker, K., Keelan, J. and Mazumdar, P.M.H. (eds.), Crafting Immunity: Working Histories of Clinical Immunology, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008, pp. 107–144; Bresalier, , ‘Uses of a pandemic: forging the identities of influenza and virus research in interwar Britain’, Social History of Medicine (2008) 25, pp. 400–424.
43 Fletcher to C.J. Martin, 13 October 1922: ‘It is, I think, quite easy to justify [dog distemper], though we may have some possible political difficulty justifying the expenditure of the Medical Research Fund upon the study of an animal disease.’ NA FD1/1275.
44 Fletcher to Cook, 14 November 1922, NA FD1/1274.
45 Woods, op. cit. (16), pp. 76–7.
46 See Advisory Committee on research into diseases in animals, NA FD 1/4364.
47 Kohler, Robert E., ‘Walter Fletcher, F.G. Hopkins, and the Dunn Institute of Biochemistry: a case study in the patronage of science’, Isis (1978) 69, pp. 331–355; Lawrence, op. cit. (6), pp. 11–23; Kohler, Robert E., Partners in Science: Foundations and Natural scientists, 1900–1945, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991.
48 ‘Research on distemper’, The Lancet (1924) 1, p. 1010. Details of contributions were published in Hobday, op. cit. (1).
49 Jones, Susan D., Valuing Animals: Veterinarians and Their Patients in Modern America, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003, p. 132; Eichhorn, A., ‘Credit where credit is due (letter to the editor)’, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (1934) 85, pp. 823–824. The American Distemper Committee found it harder to raise money, its scientists continued to work on ‘bacteria’ rather than viruses, and thus it continually deferred to the FDC and the NIMR. See New York Times, 22 April 1923, p. 156; 27 January 1929, p. S6; 5 May 1929, p. 168; 7 July 1929.
50 ‘The cure and causes of distemper’, the Field Distemper Council, November 1924, NA FD/1275.
51 The council's vice-president, the 6th Duke of Portland, William Cavendish-Bentinck, was an Old Etonian and a Conservative peer who had served as Master of the Horse. He ran the family estate and stud farm in Nottinghamshire made famous by Lord Henry Bentinck, who was master of the Burton Foxhunt (1842–1862), whose notes on Foxhounds and Their Handling in the Field were compiled by his son, Lord Charles Bentinck, also a council member. The chairman was Lord Goschen, 2nd Viscount of Hawkhurst, Kent, a Conservative MP and member of the Privy Council, who previously served as governor of New South Wales and secretary to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries. When he stepped down in 1924 to become governor of Madras, and later Viceroy of India, his position was taken by George Lane Fox, the 1st Baron of Bingley, graduate of Eton and New College, Oxford, a Conservative MP and member of the Privy Council, whose grandfather – ‘The Squire’ of Bramham Park – was master of the Bramham Moor Hunt on the family estate. The council's treasurer was Lord Mildmay of Flete. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, he was a Liberal then Conservative MP, and an original member of the MRC. He received a baronage in 1922 and lived in Flete House, a mansion near Plymouth, where he bred and exhibited South Devon cattle. Overall, one-half of the thirty British members of the Distemper Council retained peerages and were from the landed elite. There were four dukes, three earls, two viscounts, six lords, and a baron. All had direct links to hunts or country sports. In addition, the council included Edward E. Barclay; Arthur Henry Holland Hibbert, whose kennel at Munden House bred the finest strains of Labrador retriever; and Francis Redmond, president of Kennel Club.
52 Members from the medical and veterinary professions included (Sir) Humphry Rolleston, president of the Royal College of Physicians; (Sir) Ray E. Lankester, former director of the Natural History Museum; (Sir) David Bruce, chairman of the Lister Institute; (Sir) Frederick Hobday; Professor A.J. Sewell, canine surgeon to the King and Kennel Club; Harold Leeney, MRCVS, veterinary surgeon and author of The Animal Doctor (1913) and Home Doctoring of Animals (1929); and Sir William Boog Leishman, expert in tropical diseases, a founding member of the MRC, and adviser on pathology to the War Office.
53 Fletcher, Maisie, The Bright Countenance: A Personal Biography of Walter Morley Fletcher, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1957; T.R.E., ‘Sir Walter Morley Fletcher, 1873–1933’, Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society (December 1933) 1, pp. 153–163.
54 Letter to Lord Astor from Lord Mildmay, 1 December 1932, Field Distemper Council, NA FD1/1281. Also see Hobday, op. cit. (1), p. iii.
55 Figures based on reports issued by the Field Distemper Fund, NA FD 1/1274. Report for January 1927, ‘Details of Contributions to The Field Distemper Fund to the end of 1925’, pp. 12–18; ‘Details of Contributions to The Field Distemper Fund for 1926’, pp. 18–20. ‘Details of Contributions to The Field Distemper Fund for 1927 and to the 3rd of December, 1928’, in P.P. Laidlaw and F.W. Dunkin, ‘A report upon the cause and prevention of dog distemper’, Progress Report of the Distemper Research Committee, the Field Distemper Fund, 1928, pp. 19–20.
56 ‘Details of contributions to The Field Distemper Fund’, 1930, NA FD1/1296.
57 Dale, Henry H., ‘Patrick Playfair Laidlaw, 1881–1940’, Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society (1941) 3, pp. 427–447.
58 Dalling, Thomas, ‘George William Dunkin, 1886–1942’, Journal of Pathology and Bacteriology (1942) 54, pp. 401–402.
59 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), pp. 5–6. The need for controlled supplies of animals was identified as a general issue for the NIMR from its creation. See Kirk, Robert G.W., ‘“Wanted – standard guinea pigs”: standardisation and the experimental animal market in Britain ca.1919–1947’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2008) 39, pp. 283–285.
60 MRC, Report of the Medical Research Council for the Year 1930–1931, London: HMSO, 1932, p. 27.
61 ‘Field Distemper Fund’, Fletcher to Cook, 24 January 1924, NA FD1/1275.
62 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), p. 6.
63 ‘Visit to Mill Hill Farm Laboratories’, Veterinary Record (1928) 8, p. 1102.
64 Second Report of the Dog Distemper Research Committee, February 1924.
65 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), p. 5.
66 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), p. 5.
67 Laidlaw, P.P. and Dunkin, G.W., ‘Studies in dog distemper. V. The immunisation of dogs’, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics (1928) 41, pp. 209–227; Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), pp. 13–15.
68 Dunkin, G.W. and Laidlaw, P.P., ‘Studies in dog-distemper. II. Experimental distemper in the dog’, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics (1926) 39, pp. 213–221.
69 MRC, Report of the Medical Research Council for the Year 1924–1925, London: HMSO, 1926; MRC, Report of the Medical Research Council for the Year 1925–1926, London: HMSO, 1927. For discussion of the general problem of filtration in virus work, see van Helvoort, Ton, ‘History of virus research in the twentieth century: the problem of conceptual continuity’, History of Science (1994) 32, pp. 190–194.
70 Laidlaw, P.P., and Dunkin, G.W., ‘Studies in dog-distemper. III. The nature of the virus’, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics (1926) 39, p. 228.
71 ‘Visit to Mill Hill Farm Laboratories’, Veterinary Record (1928) 8, pp. 1101–1103, 1102. Later, their vaccine work demonstrated that, unlike many other pathogenic viruses identified at this time, distemper was not characterized by many strains.
72 Tansey, op. cit. (3), pp. 12–13.
73 Dunkin and Laidlaw, op. cit. (68), p. 213.
74 Third Report of the Distemper Research Committee – Ferrets, 7 October 1924, NA FD1/1275. On ferrets see Harding, Arthur R., Ferret Facts and Fancies: A Book of Practical Instructions on Breeding, Raising, Handling and Selling; Also Their Uses and Fur Value, Columbus: A.R. Harding, 1919.
75 Third Report of the Distemper Research Committee – Ferrets, 7 October 1924. The veterinary surgeons, Henry Gray and A.J. Sewell, who had battled over distemper in the early 1900s, also informed Laidlaw and Dunkin that they had succeeded in infecting ferrets with distemper. Dunkin, G.W. and Laidlaw, P.P., ‘Studies in dog-distemper. I. Dog-distemper in the ferret’, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics (1926) 39, p. 201–212.
76 Thomson, Alexander P., ‘A history of the ferret’, Journal of the History of Medicine (1951) 6, pp. 471–480; Sweet, C., Fenton, R.J. and Price, G.E., ‘The ferret as an animal model of influenza virus infection’, in Zak, Oto and Sande, Merle A. (eds.), Handbook of Animal Models of Infection: Experimental Models in Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, London: Academic Press, 1999, pp. 288–298.
77 ‘Visit to Mill Hill Farm Laboratories’, op. cit. (71), p. 1101.
78 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), p. 10.
79 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (75), pp. 209–210.
80 The issue was widely explored in late 1920s and early 1930s, with considerable work being done at the NIMR. See, for example, Bedson, S.P., ‘Observations on the mode of action of a viricidal serum’, British Journal of Experimental Pathology (1928) 9, pp. 235–240; Andrewes, C.H., ‘Immunity in virus diseases’, The Lancet (1931) 2, pp. 1046–1049; Topley, W.W.C., An Outline of Immunity, London: Edward Arnold & Co., 1933, pp. 254–273. The problem was also explored at BWC; see O'Brien, R.A., ‘Certain practical aspects of immunity’, British Journal of Medicine (29 November 1927) 2, pp. 975–978.
81 ‘Distemper and influenza’, The Lancet (1927) 1, p. 445.
82 Wilkinson, Lise, ‘The development of the virus concept as reflected in corpora of studies on individual pathogens. 5. Smallpox and the evolution of ideas on acute (viral) infections’, Medical History (1979) 23, pp. 1–28; Wilkinson, , ‘The development of the virus concept as reflected in corpora of studies on individual pathogens. 4. Rabies: two millennia of ideas and conjecture on the aetiology of a virus disease’, Medical History (1977) 21, pp. 15–31. In interwar Britain, purifying vaccinia virus for the Government Lymph Department was crucial issue tackled by C.H. Ledingham at the Lister Institute. See Chick, Harriett, Hume, Margaret and MacFarlane, Marjorie, War on Disease: A History of the Lister Institute, London: A. Deutsch, 1971, pp. 133–134.
83 Mazumdar, Pauline M.H., ‘“In the silence of the laboratory”: The League of Nations standardizes syphilis tests’, Social History of Medicine (2003) 16, pp. 437–459.
84 Laidlaw, P.P. and Dunkin, G.W., ‘Studies in dog distemper. IV. The immunisation of ferrets against dog distemper’, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics (1927) 41, pp. 1–17, 5.
85 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (84), p. 9–10.
86 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (84), p. 3.
87 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (84), p. 7–9.
88 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), pp. 11–12.
89 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), p. 12.
90 ‘Dr. Laidlaw and Mr. Dunkin on their distemper investigations’, Veterinary Record (1928) 8, p. 1104.
91 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), pp. 16–17.
92 Experiments on living animals … during the Year 1927, House of Commons Papers, 1928, (109) XIX, p. 830.
93 For the concept of control in MRC clinical trials see Edwards, Martin, Control and the Therapeutic Trial: Rhetoric and the Therapeutic Trial in Britain, 1918–48, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007.
94 MRC, Report of the Medical Research Council for the Year 1927–1928, London: HMSO, 1929, p. 106.
95 MRC, op. cit. (94).
96 ‘The inoculation for distemper’, Veterinary Record (1929) 9, pp. 123–124. Reprinted from ‘The “Field” Distemper Fund’, The Field (January 1929).
97 ‘The prevention of distemper: discovery of an immunity vaccine’, Veterinary Journal (1928) 84, pp. 595–596; Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), pp. 596–599.
98 ‘Distemper conquered – Fruit of 5 Years' Work’, Daily Mirror, 30 November 1928, p. 1; Manchester Guardian, 30 November 1930, p. 20. Also see Daily Mirror, 20 October 1928, p. 5A and 30 October 1928, p. 1, including front-page photographs of Laidlaw and Dunkin; The Times, 23 December 1926, p. 12 ff.; 25 January 1927, p. 9D; 29 November 1928, p. 9a and Editorial p. 15C; Editorial, 20 December 1929, p. 8G. The Field, 30 November 1929 and 21 December 1929.
99 Editorial, ‘Animal immunity’, Veterinary Journal (1928) 8, p. 591.
100 Editorial, ‘Distemper research’, Veterinary Record (1928) 8, p. 1095.
101 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), p. 11.
102 Correspondence between the Field Distemper Council and BWC, NA FD1/1296.
103 Bowler, Peter J., Science for All: The Popularization of Science in Early Twentieth-Century Britain, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009.
104 Laidlaw and Dunkin, op. cit. (55), p. 11.
105 Geo. E. Pearson (deputy director, BWC) to E.S. Grew (secretary, Field Distemper Council) on monopoly, production, distribution, naming of vaccine, 11 December 1928, NA FD1/1296. Also see Church and Tansey, op. cit. (3), pp. 349–350; H.J. Parish, The Wellcome Research Laboratories and Immunisation: A Historical Survey and Personal Memoir – chronologies and biographical notes, mimeograph, c.1970, Wellcome Library Archives, WF/M/H/08/19.
106 Progress Report of the Distemper Research Committee, 1929, p. 1, NA FD1/1279.
107 ‘Obituary: Sir Thomas Dalling’, Times, 26 May 1982, p. 12G–H.
108 The American companies were Lederle Laboratories and Mulford Laboratories. ‘Success of Vaccine Treatment’, Veterinary Record (1930) 10, p. 38; MRC, op. cit. (94), p. 34; Lederle Laboratories, ‘The control of canine distemper’, 1952, p. 4, available at http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924000254262, accessed 10 May 2012.
109 Correspondence between BWC and Field Distemper Council, December 1928–March 1929, NA FD1/1296.
110 ‘Wellcome’ Brand Canine Distemper Prophylactic’, undated; Pearson to Landsborough Thomson (deputy secretary, MRC), 13 February 1929, NA FD1/1296. Veterinary surgeons were issuing the vaccine in sealed phials containing one dose and rubber-capped bottles containing ten doses; liquid virus was issued separately.
111 Thomson to Mildmay, 12 March 1929: ‘Burroughs Wellcome & Co. will be supplying veterinary practitioners on a commercial basis almost immediately’; ‘Confidential to veterinary surgeons’, undated; BWC to Landsborough Thomson, 6 March 1929, NA FD1/1296. Dalling, Thomas, ‘Canine distemper: some sequelae to active immunisation’, Veterinary Record (1929) 9, pp. 774–776; Dalling, , ‘Canine distemper prophylaxis’ Veterinary Record (1929) 9, pp. 1049–1052.
112 Dalling, Thomas, ‘Canine distemper prophylaxis’, Veterinary Record (1929) 9, p. 1049.
113 Dalling, op. cit. (112), p. 1049.
114 Dalling to Miss Olga B. Woodward, MRCVS, Walpole House, Burton-on-Trent, 31 December 1929; Miss Olga B. Woodward, MRCVS, to Lady Burton, 2 January 1930, NA FD1/1279.
115 Holland-Hibbert to Portland, 28 January 1930; Fletcher to Mildmay, 1 February 1930; Fletcher to Portland, 12 February 1930. For Lady Howe's kennel and dogs see www.lorkenfarms.com/banchory_bolo.htm, accessed 14 February 2013, NA FD1/1279.
116 ‘Report of the Vaccination Committee’, British Medical Journal (1928) 2, p. 266–268; (1929) 2, pp. 30–1; (1931) 2, p. 478; Greenwood, Major, ‘The vaccination problem’, British Medical Journal (1930) 1, pp. 398–401.
117 Comerford, A.A., ‘Two years’ field experience with the preventative treatment of distemper as advocated by Laidlaw and Dunkin’, Veterinary Record (1929) 9, p. 84.
118 Press cutting on ‘Canine hysteria’, WF/M/H/02/24.
119 The inquiry was closely followed by the Field Distemper Council, which had its Scientific Committee analyse the problems with the vaccine. ‘Inquiry into experience with the commercial preparation’, Report of The Field Distemper Committee, March 1930, NA FD1/1279.
120 Dalling first publicly outlined the issues at a meeting of the Section of Comparative Medicine of the Royal Society of Medicine on 26 February 1930, ‘Discussion on canine distemper’, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (1930) 23, pp. 747–756; reprinted as ‘Canine distemper’, Veterinary Record (1930) 10, pp. 467–475.
121 Dalling, Thomas, ‘Experiences with distemper immunisation’, Veterinary Record (1930) 10, pp. 225–234.
122 Laidlaw, P.P., ‘Dog distemper and immunisation’, Nature (28 December 1929) 124, pp. 991–993; reprinted in the Veterinary Journal (January 1930), pp. 48–51. Report of the Distemper Research Committee: Analysis of Complaints, March 1930, pp. 2–5; Interim Reports of the Scientific Committee: November 1929–March 1930, the Field Distemper Research Fund, March 1930, NA FD1/1279.
123 R.A. O'Brien, proposed letter to Veterinary Record, 12 July 1930, WF/WBSR/06/09. Also see O'Brien's comments in Dalling, T., ‘Experiences with distemper immunisation’, Veterinary Record (1930) 10, pp. 233–234.
124 O'Brien to Laidlaw, 13 July 1930, WF/WBSR/06/09.
125 R.A. O'Brien to C.M. Wenyon, 14 June 1930, WF/WBSR/06/09.
127 See, for example, the discussion section in Dalling, op. cit. (121).
128 Editorial, ‘The “Field” distemper vaccine and virus’, Veterinary Record (1930) 10, p. 541.
129 Quoted in Church and Tansey, op. cit. (3), p. 351.
130 Letter, R.A. O'Brien to Wenyon, 14 June 1930, WF/WBSR/06/09.
131 Dalling, Thomas, ‘Further field and laboratory observations in connection with canine distemper prophylaxis’, Veterinary Record (1931) 11, pp. 617–618.
132 Laidlaw, P.P. and Dunkin, G.W., ‘Studies in dog distemper. VI. Dog distemper anti-serum’, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapy (1931) 44, pp. 1–3.
133 Laidlaw, P.P. and Dunkin, G.W., ‘Dog distemper antiserum’, Veterinary Record (1931) 11, pp. 359–367.
134 Dalling, Thomas, ‘Canine distemper immunisation: use of various prophylactics in hunting packs’, Veterinary Journal (1931) 87, pp. 553–558.
135 Dalling, op. cit. (131), p. 624; FD1/ 1296 ‘WELLCOME’ Anti-Distemper Serum, 1 June 1931.
136 Dalling, op. cit. (131), p. 619.
137 Dalling, Thomas, ‘Observations on canine distemper prophylaxis’, Veterinary Record (1932) 12, p. 743.
138 Dalling, op. cit. (137), p. 743.
139 Dalling, op. cit. (137), p. 748.
140 Dalling, op. cit. (137), p. 743.
141 Dalling, Thomas, ‘Recent observations on canine distemper immunisation’, Veterinary Record (1934) 14, p. 1350–1351.
142 See Dalling's comments in Boddie, G.F., ‘The clinical aspect of distemper immunisation’, Veterinary Record (1934) 14, p. 513.
143 Hobday, op. cit. (1), pp. i–ii.
144 Cameron, Hector C., ‘Patrick Playfair Laidlaw’, Guy's Hospital Reports (1940–1941) 90, p. 9.
145 ‘The conquest of distemper’, The Observer, 4 December 1932, p. 8F.
146 Quoted in The Times, 3 December 1932, p. 7A.
147 Dalling Report, January 1933, WF/WSBR/06/17–18.
148 Laidlaw, P.P., ‘Distemper’, in Fildes, Paul et al. (eds.), ‘Viruses and virus diseases’, A System of Bacteriology in Relation to Medicine, vol. 7, London: HMSO, 1930, pp. 232–243.
149 MRC, Report of the Medical Research Council for the Year 1931–1932, London: HMSO, 1933, p. 19.
150 MRC, op. cit. (149), p. 20; Gilfoyle, Daniel, ‘Veterinary immunology as colonial science: method and quantification in the investigation of horsesickness in South Africa, c.1905–1945’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2005) 61, pp. 26–65.
151 See, for example, Lawrence, Christopher and Mayer, Anna K. (eds.), Regenerating England: Science, Medicine and Culture in Inter-war Britain, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000.
We would like to thank our referees for their comments, which greatly improved the article, and acknowledge the contribution of our colleagues at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester. Our research benefited from questions and feedback in seminars in a number of departments, but we would particularly like to thank staff and students at the Oxford Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine for discussions of animal agency. We also benefited from the advice of staff at the Wellcome Library and National Archives. Finally, we thank the Wellcome Trust (Grant no 079984), whose generous support made this work possible.
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