The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) has filed its appeal over a court ruling requiring it to accept the registration of clones.
The association, with a membership of more than 280,000, filed its notice of appeal on Monday. The appeal will ultimately be heard by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.
“AQHA strongly believes in the right of our members and directors to make such regulation decisions on their own,” its executive vice-president, Don Treadway Jr, said.
“We will continue to take any and all necessary legal steps to fight for our members’ rights to determine the rules that govern our Association.”
US District Judge Mary Lou Robinson ruled on August 22 that the association had to immediately start accepting the registration of clones.
It followed a jury’s finding in a case heard in Texas that the association’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.
The pair behind the push to allow the registration of clones are rancher Jason Abraham and veterinarian Gregg Veneklasen.
They took the association 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 have about 20 cloned quarter horses and their offspring.
A 10-person jury ruled in favor of Abraham and Veneklasen, but awarded no damages. The plaintiffs had sought up to $US5 million in damages.
The association is seek a stay of the enforcement of Judge Robinson’s order pending the outcome of the appeal.
If a stay is granted, the registration of clones and their offspring will be put on hold until the appeal is completed.
Unless and until a stay is granted or the association wins its appeal, the court-mandated rules for the registration of clones and their offspring are being incorporated into its rules of registration.
The association said the court-mandated rules required new and significant computer programming with respect to its databases.
The association said that, in the normal course of business, it would develop such programming that was necessary to integrate clones and offspring into such databases.
In the near future, it will post the court-mandated rules, the new forms to be used to register clones and a summary of the requirements mandated by the court rules to register a cloned horse produced through somatic cell nuclear transfer.
The association’s key arguments in seeking to overturn the court ruling are that Abraham and Veneklasen failed to establish the existence of a conspiracy to prohibit registration of clones and their offspring; failed to establish the existence of a properly defined antitrust market consisting of “elite” quarter horses; failed to establish that the rule in question had caused any harm to the alleged market through a constraint on the supply of elite quarter horses; and failed to establish that the rule constituted an unreasonable restraint on trade.
It also believes the pair failed to establish that AQHA possessed monopoly power in the market.