New Chief Vet Joins Effort To Secure Victoria’s Animal Health

A new Chief Veterinary Officer for Victoria has been appointed to build on the Andrews Labor Government’s work to strengthen the state’s animal health, welfare and biosecurity standards.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today announced Dr 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 Centres 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 as well as working as the Veterinary Director for the World Governing Body of Horse Sport.

Dr Cooke will begin as Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer in April.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes

“Dr Cooke’s appointment is a great outcome for Victoria – with a long veterinary career under his belt, he will be a huge asset in making sure Victoria remains at the forefront of animal health and welfare, and biosecurity.”

“I look forward to working closely with Dr Cooke, who brings to Agriculture Victoria a record of delivering results in often complex animal welfare matters.”

“I would like to thank Dr Cameron Bell for his leadership as the Acting Chief Veterinary Officer for Victoria.”

Quotes attributable to Victoria’s incoming Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Graeme Cooke

“I am very much looking forward to moving to Australia and working with the strong team at Agriculture Victoria and especially with Victoria’s farming and food industry.”

“It is a privilege to have been asked to join the effort to meet the constant challenge of protecting and improving Victoria’s animal health and welfare.”