Judge: Registry Must Accept Quarter Horse Clones

Owners of cloned Quarter Horses should soon be able to register their animals with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) pending judge's order expected to be entered within the next 30 days.

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.

Last year 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. In July, a 10-person federal district court jury found that the rule violates both state and federal antitrust rules.

On Aug. 12, U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lou Robinson said from the bench that she will sign an order requiring the AQHA to allow cloned animals to be included in its registry. Atty. Nancy Stone, who represents Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture, believes Robinson's order should be signed and effective within 30 days.

No one from AQHA was available for comment.

Meanwhile, Stone does not expect the AQHA registry to become dominated by cloned animals.

“Owners have been doing it for years to preserve bloodlines, and it is very expensive—about $165,000 per clone,” Stone said. “Meanwhile these animals are the best of the best and the ruling coincides with the AQHA mission to register the best of the best.”

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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