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UK’s new chief vet appointed
Christine is currently the chief veterinary officer (CVO) for New South Wales, Australia.
Christine Middlemiss will take over in February

Defra has appointed a new chief veterinary officer for the UK. Christine Middlemiss will taken over from Nigel Gibbens at the end of February 2018, when he retires after 10 years in the post.

Christine is currently the chief veterinary officer (CVO) for New South Wales, Australia, where she has led major improvements to biosecurity across many farming sectors.

She was previously Defra’s deputy director for animal traceability and public health in 2016. An experienced veterinary surgeon, she also worked for a number of years in private practice in Scotland and the north of England, before joining the APHA as a divisional veterinary manager in Scotland in 2008.

Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I am delighted to have been appointed and it will be a privilege to lead my veterinary colleagues to support our farming and food industry in this hugely important role…

“The UK Government has made no secret it wants to cement its place as a world-leader on animal welfare as they leave the European Union, and I’m delighted to have an opportunity to play a part in that.”

Current CVO Mr Gibbens congratulated Christine: “Her breadth of experience from work within Government and in the private sector will enable her to provide excellent veterinary leadership to the Defra group to deliver government’s ongoing commitment to maintaining our high animal health and welfare standards and to represent the interests of the whole of the UK internationally.”

The government has recently made a number of announcements on animal welfare improvements and has pledged further reforms as we leave the EU. This includes plans to increase the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty to five years and introducing compulsory CCTV in all abattoirs.

Animal welfare minister Lord Gardiner thanked Nigel Gibbens for his “outstanding contribution” as CVO over the past decade.

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Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoos on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

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News Shorts
BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVAs priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."