New chief vet for Victoria

By Rodney Woods

A new chief veterinary officer for Victoria has been appointed to build on the Victorian Government’s work to strengthen the state’s animal health, welfare and biosecurity standards.

Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes announced Graeme Cooke, the United Kingdom’s deputy chief veterinary officer, would take up the important role.

With a livestock farming background, Dr Cooke will provide veterinary advice on the prevention and control of exotic and endemic animal diseases, veterinary public health, national and international trade, and animal welfare — playing a vital role in preparing responses to any animal welfare or animal disease outbreak.

In his current role in the UK, Dr Cooke has led efforts to combat many exotic animal disease incursions, improved the country’s animal health surveillance and played an important role in the delivery of its animal welfare policies.

Dr Cooke worked in the National Disease Control Centre's set-up for the UK foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in 2001 and 2007 and in the subsequent work to develop the ‘lessons learnt’ from those events.

His career has also involved representing the UK at the European Union and the World Animal Health Organisation, and veterinary director for the World Governing Body of Horse Sport.

Dr Cooke will begin as Victoria’s chief veterinary officer in April.