Vet fined for possession of unauthorised animal remedy used to treat horses

Judge says Felim Mac Eoin ‘compromised’ horse industry with ‘extremely dangerous product’

A vet has been fined €2,500 for possession of an unauthorised animal remedy which he used to treat horses.

Gort District Court heard a Department of Agriculture inspector found the Sarcoid cream in the boot of Felim Mac Eoin's car outside his Galway Equine Clinic in Kilcolgan on May 8th, 2018.

Louis Reardon told the court on Thursday that on the day in question Mr Mac Eoin told him he had “nothing to hide”. However, when Mr Reardon asked to view the contents of his car boot, the vet ran over and slammed the boot shut.

Mr Reardon stated he wanted to inspect the clinic but Mr Mac Eoin didn’t allow him enter and slid the door shut.


The vet told the inspector he was entitled to two weeks’ notice of any search but Mr Reardon told him this was not the case.

Mr Reardon stated that he “tussled” with Mr Mac Eoin in order to gain entry but Mr Mac Eoin placed a lock on the clinic door.

However, after Mr Mac Eoin spoke to another Department vet inspector by phone, he allowed the search to proceed of the car and the surgery.

The inspector said he recovered three tubs of Sarcoid cream and P Bloc, a pain relieving agent which has the potential to mask injury in horses “and is potentially a performance enhancer”.

Mr Reardon said the Sarcoid cream contained “very toxic elements” including arsenic and mercury. He said the 100 per cent Sarcoid cream found was “an extremely dangerous product”.

Judge Patrick Durcan said the defendant had "compromised the horse industry" here when taking possession of the unauthorised animal remedies.

Lack of co-operation

There was a complete lack of co-operation with the Department investigation from MacEoin of Caherillan, Kinvara, Co Galway, he said, adding that the defendant had made a "scandalous allegation" to the Department of Agriculture that Mr Reardon had "manhandled" him on the day of the inspection.

The judge said he subsequently withdrew the written allegation.

There was an inescapable conclusion, Judge Durcan said, that there was “a thickness, an obstinance and an approach that was dishonest and that was appalling” from Mr Mac Eoin.

Mr Mac Eoin pleaded guilty to three offences, two relating to the possession of Sarcoid cream and one relating to the possession of 100ml of pain-killer, P Bloc.

The container containing the P Bloc wasn’t opened and the court was told there was no evidence it was used by Mr Mac Eoin.

Judge Durcan struck out all summons apart from the one concerning the 100 per cent Sarcoid. He ordered him to pay the Department of Agriculture costs of €5,000 in the case.

Colman Sherry, defending, had asked Judge Durcan not to impose a conviction on his client. He said his client had a previously unblemished career, made an early admission of guilt and was extremely remorseful.

He had used the Sarcoid cream to treat cancerous skin tumours in horses. He said this was a vet “bound by his hippocratic oath to lessen the pain on any animal which was brought to him in distress. He was doing his best and that is what many vets have to do. They have to make a choice to lessen the pain for an animal in the absence of an effective remedy.”

He further stated that the P Bloc was never used and Mr Mac Eoin received it “from a rep out foreign”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times