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Yukon to hire chief veterinary officer

The Yukon government plans to hire a chief veterinary officer and support staff as part of a new animal health program for the territory.

The territory on Tuesday pledged $320,000 for the program, subject to legislative approval.

The program “will help us keep our wild and domestic animal populations healthy and viable, which in turn will benefit all Yukoners,” Environment Minister Elaine Taylor said in a release.

When hired, the new chief vet and animal health professionals working in his or her office will be expected to provide “program oversight, advice and veterinary services to the government’s various animal health and animal protection initiatives.”

As well, the new office will be tasked with improving animal health surveillance, building links between animal and human health issues and helping develop policies, regulations and legislation regarding animal health and animal protection, the government said.

“The animal health program will help ensure the quality and safety of animal food sources — whether domestic or wild,” Resources Minister Brad Cathers said in Tuesday’s release. “It complements the government’s ongoing support for the agriculture sector and improves our ability to support the production of Yukon-grown food.”

Tighter surveillance of, and a co-ordinated response to, animal health issues is expected to “significantly minimize risks posed to public health” as well as to wildlife populations due to changes in the Yukon climate, the government said.

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