Spot checks could be introduced in the countries concerned, with the agreement of racing authorities there, to make sure that such statements are true.
A statement issued by the BHA said: "British horseracing has always had the policy of drug-free racing, including no use of prohibited substances, and not allowing any medicines, on race days. In training, we only permit therapeutic agents that must only be given in the best health and welfare interests of the horse. We prohibit the use of performance enhancing drugs. This includes any use of anabolic agents to increase muscle mass, such as certain types of steroid drugs, and the use of drugs for a 'partitioning' effect to increase muscle and reduce fat, such as seen in the misuse of bronchodilator drugs. This approach to drug use in training is harmonized across Europe and is similar to many, but not all, racing nations. To make our requirements explicit, we will be requiring a declaration from trainers of horses from outside Europe that they do not train on non-therapeutic substances"
The new rule requiring trainers based outside Europe to say their horses are drug-free will be implemented beginning Jan. 1, 2009.
Tim Morris, the BHA’s director of equine science and welfare, commented: "We need to make it abundantly clear that racing in Britain is both fair and safe. There needs to be a level playing field for all trainers and owners and at the same time the welfare of the horse needs to be protected.
"Horses should only ever get the medication they need for treatment and be drug-free on race days," he continued. "We will require a declaration from trainers of horses from outside Europe that they do not train, and have not ever trained, on non-therapeutic substances, and in particular on anabolic and partitioning agents. All such horses are already tested before racing and we may also consider home country testing in cooperation with other racing authorities. Other checks will be made to ensure we are aware of all imported and visiting horses. We wholeheartedly support international competition and welcome the move in the U.S. towards a harmonized model rule on the use of anabolic agents. Such converging approaches can only benefit all racing."
David Dugdale, president of the British Equine Veterinary Association, remarked: " We welcome this initiative. Anabolic steroids should not be used as an aid to training, and only be used outside training when prescribed by a veterinary surgeon for specific clinical situations."
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