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Georgia’s State Veterinarian

July 23, 2015
Girl petting calf

Georgia has a state veterinarian? Really?

My thoughts exactly.

I was talking to one of my friends who works for the Georgia Department of Agriculture and she nonchalantly mentioned Georgia’s state veterinarian in our conversation. I let her continue talking, but in my head I was thinking, “Georgia has a state veterinarian? Really?”

So I decided to do some research. Through some digging, I found my friend to be correct. Georgia indeed has a state veterinarian: Dr. Robert M. Cobb, Jr.

So …What does he do?

Georgia Agriculture

To understand the state veterinarian, first we need to understand the organization of agriculture in Georgia.

As its name implies, the Georgia Department of Agriculture handles all things related to agriculture in Georgia. This huge agency breaks down into many divisions, such as Food Safety, Fuel and Measures, Plant Industry and Animal Industry. Each division contains much importance for Georgia, but the Animal Division ranks as the largest sector.

Animal Industry Division

The Animal Industry Division covers more than just cows and chickens. They work to protect all animals, ensure public health, maintain food safety and keep livestock production successful. Naturally, it makes sense for veterinarians to play a major role in this. However, there are many other jobs and other people too:

  • Field inspectors
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Program managers
  • Support staff

The responsibilities for these people and our state veterinarian range far and wide. They are in charge of monitoring, detecting and controlling hundreds of animal diseases. They maintain surveillance programs for foreign animal diseases. They inspect and sample livestock at markets, slaughter facilities, flea markets and other places. They regulate how animals are being transported, how to dispose animal carcasses, making animal tissues into food for other animals and anything else related to the animal health. Their lists of responsibilities seems never ending.

State Veterinarian

With so many people and so many responsibilities, the Animal Industry Division decided to be broken up into 6 sections:

  • Animal Health
  • Equine Health
  • Livestock Poultry Field Forces
  • Meat Inspection
  • Livestock and Poultry Market News
  • Companion Animal Protection

Our state veterinarian helps direct and coordinate all these sections. That way nothing is overlooked and nothing is duplicated. In addition to this, they also approve which animal vaccines are distributed and sold and what is imported into Georgia for animal use.

Cobb, our current state veterinarian, is a Georgia native — born and raised. From Moultrie, Ga., and graduating with degrees from Valdosta State (Bachelor of Science) and the University of Georgia College (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), he understands animals in Georgia.

After years of private practice, Cobb joined the Georgia Department of Agriculture in 2010. Originally appointed assistant state veterinarian, a year later he became Georgia’s state veterinarian.

If you need to contact Cobb, try sending him an email or give him a call at (404) 656-3671.

About the Author

Bethany McDaniel is the Interactive Web Content Manager for GeorgiaGov. She graduated from Berry College in Rome, Ga., with degrees in Visual Communication and History.

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