Anabolic steroids have been banned for use in thoroughbred horses from the age of six months in New Zealand.
The ban has been approved by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing for horses both in and out of competition.
The move brings New Zealand into line with Australia, which announced a ban on the use of anabolic steroids both in and out of competition in mid September.
It will apply to all thoroughbreds from the age of six months, with this period of permitted steroid use allowed only in the interests of animal welfare.
New Zealand’s current Rules of Racing prohibit anabolic steroids in horses only on race day, meaning the new ban will require an amendment to the rules.
It is expected the rule change will be implemented by December 1, 2013, with the ban effective from May 1, 2014. The prohibition will apply to any horse that comes within the legal jurisdiction of the New Zealand regulatory authorities to conduct out-of-competition testing.
NZTR Chief Executive Greg Purcell said a zero-tolerance approach would be taken on anabolic steroids.
“While the use of anabolic steroids has not been a major problem in New Zealand, it was important we take a clear and definitive position in the interests of integrity and public perceptions of thoroughbred racing in New Zealand.
“There’s no place for performance-enhancing drugs in our sport and this is testament to our commitment.”
In making the new rule, NZTR consulted with its Veterinary Advisor, the Equine Veterinary Association, Trainers’ Association, Breeders’ Association, New Zealand Bloodstock, Harness Racing Trainers’ and Drivers, and Standardbred Breeder. It has taken into account that some countries will ban anabolic steroids from birth to retirement.