AQHA Files Appeal Related to Clone Registrations

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) has filed the latest installment in a long-running court case relative to cloned horse registration.

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 2013, a 10-person federal district court jury found 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 AQHA to allow cloned animals to be placed on its registry; however in October 2013, the AQHA filed another federal lawsuit asking that the ruling be overturned and the organization be allowed to suspend clone registrations until a ruling on the AQHA's appeal is made. Last month, the U.S. District Court in Amarillo, Texas, allowed the AQHA to delay the clone registrations until the appeal is heard and decided. g.

According to a written statement from the AQHA, on Dec. 26, 2013, the association filed its appellate brief with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The appellees’ response, subject to any request for extension, is due in 30 days,” the statement said. “Thereafter, we will have 14 days to file a reply to appellees’ response.”

Abraham's attorney Nancy Stone said she intends to file her response brief on or before Jan. 28.

“We believe that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will affirm the trial court’s judgment,” Stone said.

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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