A group of respected horse veterinarians from around Australia are dismayed at the direction the cobalt debate has taken.

They have contacted Fairfax Media to express their deep concerns over the misuse of cobalt and their fears of animal welfare. They contend that some sections of the racing media have allowed the Victorian trainers whose horses returned high cobalt readings to criticise Racing Victoria officials, even to the point of suggesting “entrapment”.

The vets said: “What about the horse? Who is looking after the health and welfare of the horse?

“The real debate here is one of animal welfare and even perhaps animal cruelty.”