Australian Racing Board Announces Ban on Anabolic Steroids

Australian Racing Board Announces Ban on Anabolic Steroids

Currently in Australia, anabolic steroids are only prohibited in horses on race day, but the new ban will apply to all Thoroughbreds from the age of 6 months.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

The Australian Racing Board (ARB) announced Sept. 16 it will impose a total ban of anabolic steroid use both in and out of competition.

According to the announcement, the ban will be introduced Nov. 1 and will take effect May 1, 2014, "thereby giving six months for a treated horse to be free of anabolic steroids," according to a release.

Currently in Australia, anabolic steroids are only prohibited in horses on race day, but the new ban will apply to all Thoroughbreds from the age of 6 months, "with that period allowed in the interests of animal welfare," the announcement said.

"The ban on anabolic steroids goes far beyond any other racing jurisdiction outside of Europe and was decided by the ARB board after lengthy consideration of veterinary and scientific advice and consultation with trainers' and owners' associations," ARB chief executive Peter McGauran said in a statement.

"The ARB has adopted a zero-tolerance policy to the use of anabolic steroids in competition, training, and spelling and will institute heavy penalties for breaches of the ban," McGauran continued. "Foremost in the board's consideration was the need for absolute integrity and public confidence in racing.

"Although the use of steroids has greatly diminished over the years to the point where they are rarely relied upon by trainers, the ARB believes it is in the best interests of the industry that they no longer be available for any purpose other than as a therapeutic treatment for young foals.

"Racing is a sport and as such must be a test of the ability of the individual horse, its trainer, and rider, and not of the pharmacologist, veterinarian, or sports scientist. The true spirit of competition means that no one gets an unfair advantage which anabolic steroids can confer in certain situations."

The ARB did not say when the penalties would be announced or what steps will be taken to ensure compliance.

Originally published on BloodHorse.com.

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The Blood-Horse Staff

The Blood-Horse is the leading weekly publication devoted to international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Since 1916, the staff of The Blood-Horse has served the Thoroughbred community with the highest standards of journalistic excellence to provide comprehensive and timely editorial coverage and analysis.

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