- Philip M. Teigen
Law, James (13 February 1838–10 May 1921), veterinarian, educator, and public health advocate, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of John Law and Grace Turner, farmers. In 1857 he graduated from the Veterinary College in Edinburgh and then continued scientific study at the medical school of Edinburgh University and at veterinary schools in France at Alfort (near Paris) and Lyons. Returning to Scotland, he became a protégé of John Gamgee, a cosmopolitan English veterinarian who promoted the view that epizootics (diseases affecting many animals) were caused by minute organisms, not noxious fumes, changes in the weather, or poor ventilation. By siding with the controversial Gamgee, Law abandoned the anticontagionist views held by British veterinarians in general and by his Edinburgh teacher, William Dick. In 1860 Law joined the faculty of Gamgee’s New Veterinary College in Edinburgh and taught anatomy and materia medica. In so doing he joined the minority of veterinary educators who sought to improve veterinary education by placing it in a scientific framework. Although he had been certified as a veterinary surgeon by the Highland and Agricultural Society in 1857, he also took and passed the examination of the rival Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (London) in 1861, thereby becoming a member and in 1877, rising to fellow. In 1863 he married Eliza Crighton in Edinburgh; they had three daughters and one son. When Gamgee reestablished the New Veterinary College in London in 1865 as the Royal Albert Veterinary College, Law moved with him. However, the Royal Albert failed to compete for students with the Royal Veterinary College, and Law left to practice in Ireland....