Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Prairie livestock vet named B.C.’s chief veterinarian

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(Dave Bedard photo)

A Saskatchewan vet with a resume in emergency preparedness and managing livestock disease outbreaks has been named British Columbia’s new chief veterinarian.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham announced Rayna Gunvaldsen’s appointment Friday, replacing Jane Pritchard.

Gunvaldsen trained at the University of Saskatchewan with an emphasis on herd health and regulatory medicine, worked as a herd health vet in the swine sector, then joined the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

At CFIA, she served at various posts including as a district veterinarian on Vancouver Island and as Saskatchewan’s foreign animal disease veterinarian, and later worked for the Alberta provincial agriculture department.

Gunvaldsen is trained in emergency preparedness and management, the province said, noting she has worked on livestock disease outbreaks throughout Western Canada, including chronic wasting disease, bovine tuberculosis and salmonella.

Gunvaldsen will be based at the B.C. Animal Health Centre at Abbotsford, the province said. The B.C. chief veterinarian’s role is to support the sustainability of animal agriculture in B.C. through “development and implementation of sound livestock health and regulatory management policies.”

Pritchard is retiring after seven years at the chief veterinarian post; she has worked for the province since 2004, apart from a two-year stint on an international development project in China (2007-09), and has also served as director of the provincial plant and animal health branch. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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