Disgraced Henderson vet gets his licence back

James Main, who was struck off the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons register in February 2011, has had his name restored to the register and is now free to resume front line animal treatment at his practice in Newbury. The business has many racing stables in the area amongst its clients.

Main had been found guilty of disgraceful conduct in the treatment of Nicky Henderson trained Moonlit Path before her racecourse debut at Huntingdon in February 2009. The horse, owned by the Queen, was the first in British racing to test positive for tranaxemic acid, a blood-clotting agent. Main admitted he had given Moonlit Path an injection on the morning of the race, and had also not recorded the use of the drug in his records. Both activities are contrary to the rules of racing, which allow horses to take only food and water on a raceday.

Main has always insisted that the injection was administered in the horse’s welfare and not to enhance her performance, a view shared by Henderson, who had given the vet instructions to inject the horse. Henderson’s role led to a fine of £40,000 from the BHA, along with a ban from entries for 3 months.

At the time the RCVS said it was “satisfied that Mr Main's actions amounted to pre-meditated misconduct. Mr Main has admitted he administered TA to horses on a raceday at Mr Henderson's yard over several years. He has also admitted that the term 'pre-race check' has been routinely used in the clinical records by his practice to conceal the injection had been administered.

Although he did not appeal at the time, an RCVS panel has now heard evidence from Main, practice partners and clients and has decided to allow him to resume his career. The committee found his punishment to have been a “humbling and salutary experience” and his removal had been “financially and emotionally detrimental to Mr Main, his family and practice”. Committee chairman Prof Peter Lees added: “The committee is satisfied that he is very unlikely to breach the Rules of Racing in the future and does not consider that there is a risk to the future welfare of animals by restoring his name to the register.”