Thursday, March 6, 2014 - Mark Humph

Defra’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate, the body that seized 124 unlicensed   drugs from Sheikh Mohammed’s Newmarket stables in August, has revealed it   had no input into Lord Stevens’s subsequent investigation for racing’s most   powerful owner.

Further, the VMD disputes a claim recorded in the report that the seized drugs   were not intended for use in the United Kingdom.

Last autumn Sheikh Mohammed commissioned Lord Stevens’s intelligence services   company Quest to investigate the background to drugs raids at Moorley Farm   East, Newmarket, by VMD and of his private plane by border officials, as   well as the steroids scandal leading to the eight-year ban for disgraced   Godolphin racehorse trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni.

Quest cleared Sheikh Mohammed of any knowledge and concluded the illegal   importations resulted from management failings – resulting in resignations   last week – and the differing licensing requirements in the many countries   where Sheikh Mohammed has equine interests.

The introduction to Stevens’s published report says it “gathered information   from the relevant regulatory authorities.” But the VMD insisted this week   that it did not participate.

“We investigated the [Moorley] case, ie the import of the illegal meds, and   were made aware that Lord Stevens had been tasked by Sheikh Mohammed to   carry out a review into the whole affair,” said the spokesman. “But were not   asked for our input into Lord Stevens’ report.”

Stevens’s report included a statement from an unnamed vet that the Moorley   drugs were not intended for use in the UK.

The VMD spokesman said: “We do not accept that the veterinary medicines were   not for use in the UK. The products were illegally imported and as a result   they were seized. We take the illegal import, marketing, sale and   administration of veterinary medicines very seriously, and robustly pursue   such cases in accordance with our Enforcement Strategy.”

A spokesman for Lord Stevens declined to comment on VMD’s claim.

VMD is the second veterinary body to have underlined concerns about the   proposed means of administering the drugs.

The British Equine Veterinary Association has already suggested the likely   involvement of “non-vets”. Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act, vets not   holding the Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons qualification   cannot practise in the UK or acquire licensed medicines, while any MRCVS   found handling unlicensed medicines would face disciplinary action.

Spaniard Jaume Punti Dachs, Sheikh Mohammed’s principal endurance trainer, was   based at Moorley last summer and accepted responsibility for the   consignment. Last autumn Dachs said VMD’s visit was “routine” and   “expected”, yet this was VMD’s sole raid on a British stable throughout 2013.

VMD declined to comment on Dachs’s statement that he replaced the entire haul   with licensed equivalents at Newmarket Equine Hospital next day. VMD was   also “not in a position” to divulge if prosecution is likely.

Further mystery surrounds last week’s resignation of three unnamed vets from   Godolphin. A spokesman declined to outline how Godolphin’s veterinary   services would be managed in Newmarket in future, or if more of the 23   international vets employed by Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai Equine Hospital would   be encouraged to become an MRCVS.

Source: Telegraph

This post was last updated on