Federal government names new chief vet

The Canadian government has named a new chief to oversee the country’s animal and veterinary public health infrastructure.

Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar was announced Tuesday as Canada’s new chief veterinary officer, replacing Dr. Ian Alexander.

Kochhar, a veterinarian by profession, has worked for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency since 2002, when he joined CFIA as a senior animal biotechnology policy specialist. He’s since served in CFIA’s science branch and operations branch in posts including executive director of operations strategies and delivery, and executive director of western area operations.

Kochhar is also a recognized expert on animal biotechnology for the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and has worked internationally with bodies such as the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the government noted Tuesday.

Before joining CFIA, he was an assistant professor at the University of Guelph’s Veterinary College, with research interests in animal biotechnology, and worked as a vet in private practice.

Alexander, who replaced Dr. Brian Evans in 2012, moves to a new post as executive director of animal health science at CFIA.

Canada’s CVO is meant to lead federal efforts to “effectively manage” current and emerging disease threats to protect animal and human health, and also to maintain “international trust” in Canada’s inspection and certification systems as they affect export markets.

The CVO, the government said, “leads efforts to ensure that Canada’s animal health community and veterinary infrastructure have the capacity and competency to effectively respond to foreign, emerging and future animal and zoonotic diseases.”

The chief vet also serves as the government’s chief policy advisor on animal and veterinary public health issues, working with Canada’s veterinary colleges and veterinarians, along with the federal chief public health officer. — AGCanada.com Network

Related story:
New federal food safety, veterinary chiefs named, Sept. 18, 2012

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