"It's hard to make statistics or percentages tell the story," Bell said. "What we can't measure is an intagible loss -- a loss of confidence by outside breeders who send a world of horses to this region. We're all concerned about it."Bell called it a "ripple effect" whose impact may not be completely known for years. In the case of Jonabell, which is a full-service farm, the syndrome has impacted stallions, broodmares, foals, boarders, and even the land, which is used to produce food for livestock.Zubrod said one can only guess at the projected economic impact horse by horse. For example, the syndrome may have claimed a colt by a champion mare who could have become a champion racehorse, and perhaps have even greater value as a stallion.Currently, an economic impact study is being done in Kentucky, which faces a budget shortfall. Loss of sales tax tied to the equine industry won't help the situation. Legislators aren't sure what type of aid, if any, could be made available in the state, though efforts for federal measures continue in Washington, D.C.Rep. Joe Barrows, whose district includes Woodford County, where Brittany Farms is located, said the "smaller people are very important to the overall health of the industry." He urged owners and breeders to contact legislators with reports on those seriously impacted by mare reproductive loss syndrome, or those who may be forced out of the business.In a related matter, Zubrod called for better leadership to deal with equine emergencies. He suggested a plan and field response similar to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga.KTA executive director David Switzer said mare reproductive loss syndrome has brought about a call for an equine emergency management plan on the state level. "We need a chain of command so we're not all going off in different directions," he said.Other legislators on hand for the first portion of the tour were Reps. Carolyn Belcher, Roger Thomas, and Susan Westrom, and Sen. Joey Pendleton.
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