Registration of QH clones to be ordered by court

The first clone imported into Australia.
The stallion Salute, a clone of legendary cutting horse sire Smart Little Lena.

A judge is set to order the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) to start registering cloned horses following a high-profile court case.

US District Judge Mary Lou Robinson is reported to be ready to make the ruling, but is seeking input from counsel on the proposed final judgment and findings of fact in the case.

A jury verdict late last month found that the AQHA’s ban on registering clones violated state and federal antitrust laws.

The case is being monitored by many horse-breed associations, which have similar bans in place on the registration of clones.

Rancher Jason Abraham and veterinarian Gregg Veneklasen took the AQHA to court seeking the repeal of Rule REG106.1 to allow cloned quarter horses and their offspring to be registered, thus enabling them to compete.

Abraham and Veneklasen, who have about 20 cloned quarter horses and their offspring, filed the action through related companies in April last year in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Amarillo.

A 10-person jury ruled in favor of Abraham and Veneklasen, but awarded no damages. The plaintiffs had sought $US2 million to $US5 million in damages

The AQHA has indicated its intention to appeal in the case. Its executive committee has voted to fight the verdict.

AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway
AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway

“It continues to be our position that our rule prohibiting the registration of clones and their offspring is both reasonable and lawful,” AQHA executive vice-president Don Treadway Jr said.

Clones and their offspring have never been eligible for registration with the association, he said.

“When individuals with shared interests, goals and values come together to form a voluntary association to serve a common purpose, the members have a right to determine the rules for their association.

“The wisdom of our membership – which is largely not in favor of the registration of clones and their offspring – has not been upheld by this verdict.”

He continued: “It is clear from our members’ overwhelming support that they too are deeply disappointed in the verdict and continue to be against the registration of clones and their offspring.

“The membership clearly understands the importance of the members of this asssociation being able to make their own rules.”

The Amarillo Globe-News reports that Judge Robinson has indicated she will order the AQHA to register cloned mares and stallions, and their offspring.

Robinson heard arguments and brief evidence on Monday, before indicating to parties she would issue the order, but said she wanted input on the proposed final judgment and proposed findings of act, as well as conclusions in law.

Earlier report

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