In an effort to protect the health and welfare of thoroughbred horses as well as the integrity of the sport, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced the final details related to its new zero-tolerance policy regarding the use of steroids. These details conclude a year’s long investigation into the effects of steroids on horses. This study came about in an effort to comply with new standards set forth by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA).
The use of anabolic has long been an issue for thoroughbred racing throughout the world. The BHL recognized the need to protect the integrity of the sport within their jurisdiction, and determined that the IFHA’s regulations didn’t go far enough. The study lasted for over seven months. Individuals from all facets of the sport were interviewed in an attempt to gather information from the people who would most likely be affected by any new policies. These individuals included scientists, veterinarians, horse owners and trainers. The thoroughbred sales industry and animal rights organizations were also given a chance to weigh in on the process. A group from Equine Clinical Studies at Glasgow University headed up the study. The study revolved around both the benefits and negatives related to the injection of steroids into young horses.
After gathering and interpreting the data, the BHL was able to begin formulating a policy. The key to a successful policy is the ability to enforce it. The bottom line is, the BHL wanted to eliminate all steroid use within the industry. The policy was written to include a ban on any type of steroid. Here are some general guidelines.
- The ban on steroids applies to the entire racing life of the horse.
- If a horse is injected, it will be banned from the track for a 12-month period.
- Drug tests will be administered on a random basis.
- All horses must enter Britain at least 14 days prior to racing. They must register with Weatherbys and be available for testing.
- Horses coming from jurisdictions with similar rules will be exempt for registering.
This new policy will go into effect beginning on January 1, 2015. The BHL is confident that its policy will become a key component is making the thoroughbred industry a more trusted entity.