Veterinary bodies north and south have reacted to an investigation by the Irish Farmers Journal that uncovered slack control of antibiotic sales.

The Association of Veterinary Surgeons Practising in Northern Ireland (AVSPNI) and the North of Ireland Veterinary Association (NIVA) stated they did “not condone the alleged incidents” and they were “dismayed” by the reports.

A joint statement from the two bodies reads: “We strongly advocate the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) definition that animals must “be under the care of a veterinary surgeon” and that the “responsibility must be real and not nominal”.

“This must remain sacrosanct.”

The RCVS, which governs UK vets, stated it is working with the relevant authorities to investigate the allegations made.

The Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) stated it was made aware of the breaches outlined in this newspaper and that the prescribing of animal remedies to animals which were not under the care of the vet was considered a disciplinary matter.

The Department of Agriculture and its counterpart in Northern Ireland, DAERA, were asked for a comment but had not responded at the time of going to print.