Banned vet certified Whitaker horse vaccinations

A vet certified that two horses on Michael Whitaker’s yard were fully vaccinated so they could take part in the 2007 Horse of the Year Show, despite him having been banned from practising the previous day, a tribunal heard on 7 January.

Robert Morris of Brants Broughton, near Lincoln, has continued to treat animals for more than two years, despite being barred from practising by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) in 2007 (news, 11 October 2007).

Mr Whitaker told H&H he had not known Morris was banned at the time.

“He was my vet, but we moved practice when we heard he was banned,” said Mr Whitaker. “But it was just a routine thing. He vaccinated them six months previously.”

The RCVS turned down an application by Mr Morris to be restored to the veterinary register, which would have enabled him to practise again.

In evidence on 7 January, the RCVS disciplinary committee heard how the vet had been convicted at Grantham Magistrates Court on 1 November 2007 for buying unlicensed drugs from Russia and had continued to treat animals while barred.

Chairman of the RCVS disciplinary committee Alison Bruce said: “We consider there is a risk to the future welfare of animals in the event of Mr Morris being restored.

“A member [of the RCVS] who has been removed [from the register] must refrain from examining animals, making diagnoses or performing treatments, even under the direction of another vet.”

Evidence was given by the owners of a horse and a dog treated by Mr Morris in September and October 2009.

Mr Morris told the tribunal that he had been acting as an agent for another vet, but the committee discounted this.

H&H forum member “Jackanory” claims Mr Morris examined her horse for lameness last summer and charged her £60.

“I paid full whack for the advice and treatment of a qualified vet, not one who had been struck off,” she wrote.

Mr Morris’s original ban related to a pre-purchase vetting where he failed to record that the horse had a respiratory roar at exercise. A complaint was made by the buyer to the RCVS.

Mr Morris declined to comment to H&H.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (28 January, ’10)