Equine Veterinarians Australia wants any vet involved in the misuse of cobalt on horses “out of the profession”.

The EVA, a special interest group of the Australian Veterinarians Association, did not comment on the case involving Dr Tom Brennan, a Melbourne vet that has been charged as part of the Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh cobalt cases.

However, the group released a statement supporting Australian racing’s threshold of 200 micrograms of cobalt per litre of urine, while calling for any vet found guilty of misusing the substance.

“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,” EVA president Dr Nathan Anthony said in a statement.

“In some cases they can be barred from practising altogether, and we believe this is appropriate for those who are guilty of serious offences.”

The recent cobalt cases have again put the licensing of racing vets into the spotlight but Dr Anthony said the EVA is against the idea.

Dr Anthony said the professional organisation had the power to prevent an offending vet from practising anywhere rather than merely facing a ban from one sport.

“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,” Anthony said.

“But we’re not in favour of moves to licence 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.”


Brad Waters