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Vets Condemn Cobalt Misuse in Horse Racing Industry

17 June 2015

AUSTRALIA - Cobalt misuse in the racing industry is a serious animal welfare issue. Any vet who seriously breaches the rules of racing by misusing cobalt should be removed from the profession, says Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA), a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association.

EVA president Dr Nathan Anthony said that the association isn't in a position to comment on specific charges against a Victorian veterinarian, relating to misuse of Cobalt, until the facts have been considered by the independent regulatory body - the NSW Veterinary Practitioners’ Board.

“Veterinarians are registered and regulated by the board in each state and territory. The veterinary practitioners’ board have extensive statutory powers to investigate thoroughly and to discipline a vet if they’re found guilty. In some cases they can be barred from practising altogether, and we believe this is appropriate for those who are guilty of serious offences,” Dr Anthony said.

The EVA recently announced its support of the Australian Racing Board’s (ARB) threshold for Cobalt use in racehorses to 200 micrograms.

“We and all responsible veterinarians take the health and welfare of horses seriously. Excessive amounts of Cobalt can be toxic to horses, and in some cases lead to death. We’re supportive of the ARB’s stance on cobalt,” he said.

“But we’re not in favour of moves to license vets like jockeys or trainers. Vets provide services to the industry, and are already strictly regulated by statutory authorities.

“It doesn’t make sense to have two different levels and regimes of regulation. If vets are caught doing the wrong thing in racing or in any other area of their professional life, we want them out of the profession, not just out of one sport. Only vet boards can and will deliver that outcome," he said.

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