Christine Middlemiss has taken up the post as UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), taking over from Nigel Gibbens who has stepped down after 10 years in the role.
She joins Defra after serving as the CVO for New South Wales, Australia, which she took up in August 2016.
Ms Middlemiss comes from a farming family in the south of Scotland, with a background in beef cattle and sheep. Prior to moving to Australia, she was a veterinarian who 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.
Ms 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.
“I am very much looking forward to working again with the team at Defra, its agencies, the devolved administrations and all the individuals and groups who will contribute to meet future challenges.
“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.”