The Institute was set up in 1889. Initially it was called the Imperial Bacteriological Laboratory and was situated at Pune in Maharashtra. In 1893, the Institute was shifted to Mukteswar, which is now in Kumaon Hills in Uttarakhand. In 1913, the Izatnagar campus was established for extending the activities of the Institute. The institute expanded its curriculum and the Izatnagar campus became the headquarters of the institute. The Institute has two other campuses one at Mukteswar in Uttaranchal and the other at Bengaluru in Karnataka. The Institute has regional stations at Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, Kolkata in West Bengal and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
At present the Institute has twenty-one divisions and six sections, which conducts research in the field of Animal Health, Production and Technology and several other courses. The University has come up with several methods of curing and controlling diseases of livestock including poultry, producing cheap agro-industrial by- product, increasing the production potential of the livestock and the poultry, zoo and animal health care and management and meat and meat products technology.
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