Experts pen open letter on cobalt

Experts pen open letter on cobalt

A group of prominent veterinarians and scientists have urged Australian racing
regulators to implement an immediate moratorium on prosecutions for alleged misuse
of cobalt. In a recent communication to the Australian Racing Board, Australian Harness
Racing Board and Australian Greyhound

Board, the group set out their concerns. The current test method employed to detect cobalt
salts in urine is inappropriate and prone to false positives due to Vitamin B12 and urine
concentration effects and could therefore result in convictions of innocent parties. It is
clear that some trainers have incurred positives from cobalt exposure in feed and environment
outside of their knowledge or control.


The experts question the use of population studies on race day samples from horses
with unknown exposure in feed supplements and the environment, to set a threshold. They
believe there is confusion and misinformation regarding both the potency and potential toxicity
of cobalt salts. A further request to regulators is that they provide financial and administrative
support to a multi-disciplinary Committee of Inquiry whose charge is to find a consensus
approach to future regulation of cobalt use in racing animals.

The signatories emphasise they endorse the efforts of regulators to identify and
punish those who seek to gain an advantage by unfair means, which includes the use of
performance-enhancing substances.

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