AQHA Gets More Time to Make Cloning Arguments

A federal court has given the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) more time to answer a request from owners of cloned horses to slate oral arguments in the association's appeal regarding the registration of cloned Quarter Horses.

Some owners have used the cloning process—which was first performed on horses in 2003—to preserve their animals' bloodlines, particularly those of high-performance equines. In response to cloning as a way to preserve bloodlines, some breed associations ruled on whether or not cloned horses can be included in their breed registries. In 2004 the AQHA board of directors approved Rule 227(a), which prohibits cloned horses or their offspring from being included in the organization's breed registry.

In 2012, Jason Abraham and two of his related companies, Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture and Abraham Equine Inc., filed suit against the AQHA in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division. The complaint asks the court to order the AQHA to remove Rule 227(a) on grounds that the ban on registering cloned horses and their offspring violates antitrust laws.

Last year, a federal district court jury determined that the rule preventing cloned Quarter Horses from being registered with the AQHA violated both state and federal antitrust rules. A U.S. District Court judge later signed an order requiring the organization to register cloned animals, and in response, the AQHA filed another federal lawsuit asking that the court's clone registration ruling be overturned. The U.S. District Court in Amarillo, Texas, later allowed the AQHA to delay the registration of clones and their offspring until the breed association's appeal was heard and decided.

On March 17, Sarah Davisson, AQHA manager of publicity and special events, said that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had allowed the organization's request for more time in answering Abraham's and other owners' request to set oral arguments in the cloning case.

“Originally, AQHA’s reply was due March 13 per court order,” Davisson said. “The new deadline is March 24 per court order.”

Attorney Nancy Stone, who represents Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture, was unavailable for comment on the court's decision.

The case remains pending.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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