Emergency plan has new lead

Dr Mark Cozens joins Animal Health Australia to lead the development and review of response strategies for emergency animal diseases. Photo by Ruth Flores

Animal disease specialist Mark Cozens will be the new lead for Australia’s Veterinary Emergency Plan.

He started at Animal Health Australia, as the head of program, in early February.

Dr Cozens is a senior veterinarian with experience in government and private sectors, and has worked overseas on responses such as foot and mouth disease and anthrax, and in Australia on responses to Newcastle disease, equine influenza, Hendra virus and white spot disease.

Animal Health Australia CEO Kathleen Plowman welcomed Dr Cozens to the organisation and said she had no doubt he had the expertise to ensure AHA’s members were prepared and ready to respond in the event of an emergency disease outbreak.

“The AUSVETPLAN is Australia’s game plan to an agreed approach around how we combat emergency animal diseases and Mark will play a lead role, alongside his team, to work closely with government and industry representatives to enhance response readiness for all our members,” Ms Plowman said.

Dr Cozens takes on the role from Peter Dagg and said he looked forward to continuing to bring the AUSVETPLAN into a new era and ensuring it remained fit for purpose.

“I’ve worked in the emergency animal disease preparedness and response area for many years, in multiple countries and jurisdictions across Australia, and am excited to do my part in bringing government and animal industries together and reach consensus on very important emergency animal disease policy issues,” Dr Cozens said.

“With diseases such as foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease posing significant threats to Australian animal industries and governments, it is important we have strategies that are contemporary, that the policy is informed on the best available science and that government-industry agreed approaches to manage emergency animal diseases are clearly articulated and able to be rolled out effectively.”

Animal Health Australia currently manages 66 AUSVETPLAN documents including more than 30 disease-specific plans. Read more on the Animal Health Australia website.