AQHA Files Cloning Lawsuit Reply

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) has filed its reply in a court case involving the registration of cloned Quarter Horses and their offspring.

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. 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 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, allowed the AQHA to delay the registration of clones and their offspring until the breed association's appeal was heard and decided.

On March 25, the AQHA announced it had filed its response brief. The brief claims, in part, there is no evidence that the AQHA violated U.S. antitrust laws. The brief also claims there is no evidence of conspiracy on the AQHA's part.

Attorney Nancy Stone, who represents Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture, was unavailable for comment on the filing.

In a written statement, the AQHA said both parties have requested that oral arguments be presented before a panel of judges. The court generally sends written notice of those arguments three to four months after reply briefs are filed; that notice is expected to be given in July or August, the statement said. Arguments generally take place one or two months later. Exactly when the oral arguments will begin depends on the court's schedule.

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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