Court Says AQHA can Delay Clone Registrations

A federal judge is allowing the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) to delay registering cloned horses until the association's appeal of an earlier court ruling is decided.

Some owners have used the cloning process—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.

Last year Jason Abraham and two of his companies, Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture and Abraham Equine Inc., filed a complaint against the AQHA which 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.

Earlier this year, a 10-person federal district court jury found that the rule preventing cloned Quarter Horses from being registered violated both state and federal antitrust rules. U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lou Robinson later signed an order requiring the AQHA to allow cloned animals in its registry.

In October, the AQHA filed a federal lawsuit asking that the court's ruling be overturned.

AQHA Executive Director for Competition and Breed Integrity Tom Perechino said the AQHA's complaint also asked the court to suspend clone registrations until a ruling in the association's appeal has been made.

On Dec. 2, the U.S. District Court in Amarillo, Texas, allowed the AQHA to delay registering clones and their offspring until the breed association's appeal is heard and decided. The court also ruled that the AQHA must immediately develop its own rules for the registration of clones and their offspring.

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

In a Dec. 3 written statement, AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway, Jr. said the association's executive committee would continue its fight against the cloning regulation.

"The AQHA executive committee, myself, and your AQHA employees are pleased with (the) order granting in part our motion for stay, and we will continue to fight for our membership's right to determine the rules for its association," he said.

Treadway said that the AQHA's appeal case now moves on to the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans. The AQHA has until Dec. 24 to file its appellate brief in the case.

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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