Kentucky Legislators Ask USDA for Assistance With Horse Industry 'Disaster'

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and two members of the House of Representatives from the Bluegrass State -- Ernie Fletcher of the 6th Congressional district and Ed Whitfield from the 1st district -- have written a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman alerting her of the foal/fetal loss syndrome in Kentucky and asking for assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The letter from the three Republicans was sent on Thursday, May 10. It reads:

Dear Secretary Veneman:

Kentucky's horse breeders and Thoroughbred owners have recently been struck by a disaster. Hundreds of mares are giving birth to stillborn foals or experiencing spontaneous abortions. The deaths are being attributed to a fungus that began growing on the grass during a recent spell of warm, dry weather which was quickly followed by a heavy frost.

As you know, Kentucky's horse industry is not only world famous, but contributes thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to our state's economy. A significant loss of foals could be disastrous to this industry not only this year, but well into the future.

We are extremely concerned and are therefore asking that the U.S. Department of Agriculture take immediate steps to look into the situation and offer any assistance to our world famous horse industry that is possible at this time.

Thank you very much for your consideration of our request.

Sincerely,

Mitch McConnell
Ed Whitfield
Ernie Fletcher

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