New Defra CVO takes up post today

Christine Middlemiss has today taken up post as UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), replacing Nigel Gibbens who has stepped down after 10 years in the role.

Dr Middlemiss joins Defra after serving as the CVO for New South Wales, Australia. She took up that role in August 2016 and during her tenure she led major improvements to biosecurity across many farming sectors including implementation of new outcome focused and risk based biosecurity legislation; online animal certification processes and improving evidence and risk based disease control approaches.

She comes from a farming family in the south of Scotland, with a background in beef cattle and sheep. Prior to moving to Australia, she worked for a number of years in private practice in Scotland and the north of England, with specific interest in research, meat processing and livestock genetics.

She then joined the Animal Health agency (now part of the Animal and Plant Health Agency) in 2008 as a Divisional Veterinary Manager in Scotland. She also led Defra’s Animal Traceability and Public Health policy team detecting and responding to new and emerging diseases, including Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea, working closely with the pug sector.

Defra said she re-joins the department at a time when animal welfare is a ‘top priority for the Government’, with the Governmen ‘committed to the very highest standards on animal welfare’ and to making the UK ‘a world leader in the care and protection of animals as we leave the EU’.

Dr Middlemiss said: “I am delighted to have been appointed. It is a privilege to take over from Nigel and lead my veterinary colleagues to support our farming and food industry on the UK reputation for high health and welfare of our animals.

“Our Secretary of State has confirmed he wants to cement the UK’s place as a world-leader on animal health and welfare as the UK leaves the European Union, and I’m delighted to have an opportunity to play a part in that.”

You can see a video message from Dr Middlemiss marking her first day here

Welcoming the announcement of her appointment in December, NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “This is a good appointment. Christine has been very supportive of the pig industry, and, for example, was behind making PED notifiable in an industry partnership. She has worked at Defra before and has a good understanding of the industry.”

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.