Retailers urged don’t horse around with unregistered vet chemicals

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is concerned that a number of natural horse products may not be registered, and has advised retailers to use caution when stocking veterinary products for use in or on horses.

According to APVMA CEO Dr Chris Parker, the regulator is seeing a number of veterinary chemical horse products claiming to be natural, organic or chemical-free on the market that are not APVMA registered and are therefore illegal to import, possess, advertise and supply.

“The definition of a veterinary product is broad and inclusive under Australian law,” Dr Parker said. “This means both natural and man-made substances are regulated by the APVMA if they claim to have a therapeutic effect on an animal.

“The market for veterinary horse products has expanded in recent years and many new products marketed as natural, organic, or chemical-free may not have been assessed by the APVMA.”

Dr Parker added that what’s worrying is some of these products claim to have a therapeutic effect or enhance the physical qualities of horses, but have not been independently assessed to confirm they are actually safe or work as claimed.

“Businesses have a duty of care to make sure the veterinary chemical products they promote and supply in Australia are registered,” he said.

To raise awareness of the requirements for veterinary chemical product registration, APVMA is running a targeted campaign to inform Australian retailers of their obligations and help consumers recognise a registered veterinary chemical product before purchase.

Both retailers and consumers are encouraged to check product labels for an APVMA approval number. Dr Parker also cautioned against buying veterinary chemical products directly from overseas.

“Just because a product is registered for use in another country does not mean it’s legal to import, supply and use in Australia.”

If you have bought a product that you think should be registered but doesn’t have an APVMA approval number on the label, please contact the APVMA at or call 1300 700 315.

Learn more about natural veterinary horse products and your responsibilities here.

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