Defra introduces new deputy chief veterinary officer

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has welcomed its new deputy chief veterinary officer (DVCO) for the UK.

Graeme Cooke will return to Defra after first working for the government organisation as a policy adviser, planning preparedness, in 2002. He will begin his new role at the end of January 2017.

I am delighted to be able to contribute to the work of maintaining the animal and public health status of the UK, said Cooke. It is a privilege to support our farming and food industry in this role.

Following on from his first stint at Defra, Cooke was the director at the World Governing Body of Equestrian Sport (FEI) where he was tasked with creating new frameworks to overcome a range of animal and welfare challenges, while managing the organisations business growth.

He has worked closely with the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) and the EU, as well as being a member of a number of expert working groups with both organisations.

I am very much looking forward to working again with the team at Defra, its agencies, the devolved administrations, and all the individuals and groups which will work together to meet future challenges across animal health and welfare, he added.

The governments chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens, welcomed the appointment. Graeme has been very successful in securing the DCVO role against a strong field of candidates and he will be a great addition to the department, he explained.

He will strengthen the animal health team in Defra to serve the interests of the whole of the UK as part of the governments ongoing commitment to maintaining our high animal health and welfare standards.

Interim DCVO Simon Hall will continue in the position until Cooke begins his new role in January.

I am grateful to Simon Hall for his work in the interim and look forward to our work together as a senior veterinary team, along with our chief veterinary officer colleagues in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, added Gibbens.

In his new role, Cooke will be responsible for ensuring that the nation is better protected against animal diseases and that the governmental body has strong response and recovery capabilities.

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