Investigation into Sheikh Mohammed’s equine operations

  • Princess Haya and former Met Police chief Lord Stevens are to investigate Sheikh Mohammed’s equine operations, following news that the illegal veterinary drugs seized at Stansted in May came in on a Dubai government plane.

    The shipment, labelled as “horse tack”, was seized and destroyed by border forces on 3 May. On Sunday The Guardian reported that it was found on a Dubai Royal Air Wing Flight.

    A spokesman for Princess Haya said her husband Sheikh Mohammed “was not even aware” of the seizure until he “read about it in media reports 2 weeks ago”.

    He added that Sheikh Mohammed was “deeply troubled by this development” and “immediately asked Princess Haya to take action to ensure these kinds of management failures never happen again. Princess Haya has a proven track record in this area through her FEI Clean Sport initiative.”

    Princess Haya says she will now conduct a “thorough investigation” into the seizure at the airport and a separate raid on 7 August on Moorley Farm East in Newmarket, in which 124 medical products were seized by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

    The yard, run by leading endurance trainer and European champion Jaume Punti Dachs, is owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Management Ltd breeding operation.

    The investigation will include drug use and acquisition, and the licence status of employees within the Sheikh’s operation, particularly “vets and farriers”.

    Princess Haya met with Lord Stevens — who headed FEI Clean Sport commission and who is to oversee this inquiry — on Tuesday (1 October).

    “We will look into events surrounding the seizures at Stansted and Moorley Farm, including the chain of custody for the medications in question and their intended purpose,” he said.

    “We will also look beyond those specific events for a wide-ranging assessment of veterinary procedures and practices to determine whether they are in support of horse welfare and in keeping with all applicable laws and regulations.

    “Sheikh Mohammed is adamant that any evidence of violations of law or regulation in any jurisdiction should be shared with the appropriate authorities. Our primary focus is on preventing any future systemic failures. We will identify best practices and develop protocols and procedures to streamline and improve management and operations.”

    He added that following the meeting he has “begun assembling a team of experts” but that as yet there is no time frame on the project.

    “We have agreed that we will not wait until the inquiry is finished to suggest any improvements that should be implemented more quickly,” he added.

    For the full story on what Princess Haya’s directive includes and what the end of her tenure as president means for the FEI and sponsorship see this week’s issue of H&H — out today Thursday, 3 October.

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