Press release

Graeme Cooke appointed as UK’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer

Experienced veterinarian returns to Defra to begin his new role in January 2017

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Graeme Cooke has been named as the new Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer (DCVO) for the United Kingdom.

Graeme returns to Defra following a round of competitive external recruitment, and will begin his new role at the end of January.

Graeme is an experienced veterinarian and has worked in a variety of clinical practice types with extensive experience in both rural and urban communities. He is currently also a trustee of an international animal welfare charity.

Speaking about his appointment, Graeme said:

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

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.

Graeme first started working for Defra in 2002 as a policy advisor planning disease outbreak preparedness, before working across areas of UK and EU animal welfare and disease including international trade negotiations. He went on to become a director at the World Governing Body of Equestrian Sport (FEI), creating new frameworks to overcome a variety of animal health and welfare challenges while managing the organisation’s business growth. He worked closely with the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) and the EU and has been a member of a number of expert working groups at both organisations.

Welcoming the appointment, the Government’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Nigel Gibbens, said:

Graeme has been successful in securing the DCVO role against a strong field of candidates and he will be a great addition to the department.

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

Interim DCVO Simon Hall will continue in the post until Graeme begins his new role in January.

Nigel Gibbens added:

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.

Notes to editors

  1. The Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer (DCVO) is responsible for ensuring that the nation is better protected against animal diseases and that Defra has strong response and recovery capabilities. The DCVO provides strategic leadership on all elements of animal health and welfare policy and will work closely with the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer to ensure Defra has timely access to professional veterinary input. The DCVO also interacts with key stakeholders to ensure high standards of animal health and welfare are maintained, and plays a key role in supporting Defra’s trade negotiations and engaging on cross-border issues such as disease surveillance, veterinary medicines and antimicrobial resistance.

  2. Graeme Cooke comes from a livestock farming family and has worked as a Veterinary Surgeon in a variety of clinical practice types in both rural and urban communities. After his involvement in the effort to gain UK freedom from Foot and Mouth in 2001, he became a Defra Policy Adviser in 2002, planning disease outbreak preparedness and then working across areas of UK and EU animal welfare and disease including international relations and trade negotiations. After obtaining an MBA with distinction at Cass Business School, he became a Director at the World Governing Body of Equestrian Sport (FEI), creating new frameworks and policies to overcome a variety of animal health and welfare challenges and manage a huge growth in the organisations business. He worked closely with the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) and the EU and has regularly been a member of expert working groups at both organisations on trade and disease management. Graeme is an Army Reservist, undertaking an Operational tour in 2009. He has held a variety of advisory and board appointments and is currently a trustee of an international animal welfare charity.

Published 1 November 2016