Bourgelat, Claude (1712-1779), founder of veterinary surgery in France. Born at Lyons, he became a barrister, quitted the bar for the army, where he became one of the first horsemen in Europe. Always fond of horses, and seeing that there was no method in farriery as then practised, he entered on a course of comparative anatomy, and with a view to the better understanding of animals he made himself thoroughly acquainted with the human subject. The first veterinary school was opened in 1762 at Lyons, and attracted students from all Europe. The government made him inspector-general of all veterinary schools, and in 1765 he founded the school of Alfort. He was not only a thoroughly scientific man, but also an elegant and voluminous writer. He corresponded with many European celebrities, and there are extant two very interesting letters from Voltaire to him, touching chiefly on diseases of animals. Frederick the Great wrote to ask his opinion whether the gallop or the trot is the better pace for a cavalry charge. Bourgelat decided in favour of the trot.