Equine Veterinarians Australia says any practitioner misusing cobalt should be banned but also says vets do not need to be licensed by racing authorities.
The EVA is a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association and has long opposed Racing NSW’s attempts to license all those who deal with horses.
Melbourne vet, Dr Tom Brennan, has been charged by Victorian stewards in relation to illegal levels of cobalt found in horses from the Mark Kavanagh and Danny O’Brien stables.
Kavanagh and O’Brien have also been charged.
Brennan has also appeared before Racing NSW stewards in a case against Sydney trainer Sam Kavanagh.
“Cobalt use 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,” an EVA statement said.
EVA president, Dr Nathan Anthony, said the association could not comment on the charges against Brennan until the facts were considered by the NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board.
“Veterinarians are registered and regulated by the board in each state and territory,” Anthony said.
“The veterinary practitioners board have extensive statutory powers to investigate thoroughly and to discipline a vet if they’re found guilty.
“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.
“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.”