The Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer – Northern Australia, led by Dr Beth Cookson, Australia’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, has celebrated the diversity of veterinarians across the region.

Dr Beth Cookson

This is following World Veterinary Day, which fell on 29 April, and celebrated diversity, equity, and inclusiveness among the veterinary profession.

The day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s increased focus on emergency animal disease prevention and preparedness in Northern Australia through strengthened engagement and strategic policy leadership.

The department is proud to be the largest public sector employer of vets in Australia, providing a variety of services in disease surveillance, food safety inspection, research, One Health, and policy development.

This is being delivered by the Office of the Chief Veterinary Office – Northern Australia, where Dr Cookson’s role has a strategic focus on Northern Australia and strengthening relationships within the Indo-Pacific region, together with supporting the work of Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp.

 “Over the past few years, we have seen the rapid spread of diseases like African swine fever and lumpy skin disease into our near region, as well as foot-and-mouth disease being detected for the first time in over 30 years in Indonesia. Our focus on biosecurity in Northern Australia has never been so important to protecting Australia from these diseases,” Dr Cookson said.

“Veterinarians employed in private, industry, government and non-government sectors across multiple jurisdictions have been working inclusively and collaboratively on our preparedness activities.”

Dr Cookson highlighted that the collective response demonstrated how valuable veterinary expertise is to protecting not only animal health, but human health, environmental health, and the economy.

“The focus of our work provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with pastoralists, industry representatives, other government departments and First Nations communities across the Northern Australia region. With the team being based in Cairns and Darwin, we also play a significant role in bringing a regional perspective to issues of national importance.

“As we celebrate World Veterinary Day, I encourage those seeking a career in animal health and veterinary science to research all aspects of our profession given its truly diverse nature.

“I also acknowledge and thank all veterinarians for their important contribution.”

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