FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A sexually transmitted disease appears to be spreading among horses in Kentucky and state officials are
looking for help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to deal with it.
Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said Friday he wants the federal agency to declare a state of emergency and provide federal funds to combat what he described of as "an outbreak" of equine metritis, a venereal disease that causes infertility in mares.
Equine diseases raise major concerns in Kentucky, where the horse industry generates about $5 billion a year and employs more than 80,000 people.
USDA spokesman Larry Hawkins said his agency "will consider the request as soon and possible and take the appropriate action."
Three stallions, all on an undisclosed farm in central Kentucky, have been diagnosed with the disease, Farmer said.
"It is important for the people of Kentucky to understand that this could be a serious situation in our signature equine industry," he said in a statement. "The state is working with federal authorities to contain the outbreak and determine its source."