1870 to 1879 Timeline
John Gunion Rutherford graduated from the OVC in 1879. He eventually settled in Manitoba and was one of nine veterinarians of that province who formed the Veterinary Association of Manitoba in 1889. In 1890, this body saw the enactment of the Veterinary Association Act, which required those who wished to practice veterinary science be examined by a provincial association examination board. This Act protected the public from untrained and unqualified individuals (often referred to as "quacks" in a similar fashion to untrained medical doctors) and ensured that only licensed professionals practised veterinary medicine. In 1892 he was elected to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly and served as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons from 1897 to 1900.
Rutherford is noted for his work on the eradication of various infectious livestock diseases. In 1901 he accepted a position for inspecting cattle in Glasgow, Scotland, for then-Chief Veterinary Inspector Duncan McEachran. Rutherford eventually took over McEachran's position (later retitled Veterinary Director General) in 1902, serving in it until 1912. During his time as Veterinary Director General, Rutherford enacted legislation along with field and laboratory services that in time brought a number of infectious livestock diseases under control such as dourine, glanders, hog cholera, brucellosis, and especially bovine tuberculosis. He was also instrumental in the development of the federal meat inspection law in Canada in 1907, which prevented a number of infectious diseases from entering the public food supply.