DEFRA chief vet stands down

Debby Reynolds has decided to take early retirement after four years as Britain’s chief vet.

Dr Reynolds, who led the government’s efforts to contain this year’s foot and mouth disease outbreak, has had a distinguished career as a veterinary scientist and public servant, said a DEFRA statement.

During her four years as chief vet, she has taken charge of the battle to confront a wide range of animal health issues, including incidences of avian influenza, the foot and mouth disease outbreak and the appearance of bluetongue disease in recent months.

“The events of this summer were the true test of our contingency planning and the partnership work we have established,” she said. “We have built a disease control strategy which is the best in the world.”

DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn said: “I am extremely grateful for Debby’s advice and hard work on behalf of the Department both during the recent animal disease outbreaks and over the years. I wish her all the very best in her future career.”

Deputy chief veterinary officer Fred Landeg will take over as chief veterinary officer on an interim basis.