02/06/2002 12:00AM

Kentucky lowers stallion downtime

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - In an effort to help Kentucky stallion farms recoup losses they sustained during last year's mare reproductive loss syndrome, the state has amended breeding regulations to allow stallions to return to the breeding shed faster after covering imported mares.

The amendments remove a requirement that any stallion bred to an imported mare be held out of service for 12 hours. With that holdout period lifted, farms will be able to return stallions to the breeding shed faster and thus breed more mares to them.

A release issued by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture called the amendments "emergency regulations."

The changes "will help our horse industry bounce back from the terrible events of last spring," said Billy Ray Smith, the state agriculture commissioner, who said the regulatory changes were drafted by the agriculture department's equine advisory committee.

The regulations were put into effect after a 1978 outbreak of contagious equine metritis, an equine venereal disease that can cause temporary infertility and abortion in mares.

Kentucky's state veterinarian, Dr. Don Notter, said he is "comfortable" with the new regulatory changes.