More time allowed in AQHA cloning registration case

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A federal court is allowing the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) more time to file arguments in its appeal against a court ruling requiring it to register clones and their offspring.

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals has given the association more time to answer a request from the owner of the cloned horse owners, who won the right last year to have their animals registered, to set oral arguments in the appeal. The association now has until March 24 to respond.

A three-judge panel will ultimately consider briefs filed by each side. It is unclear whether it will rule on the briefs or order a hearing.

The association, with a membership of more than 270,000, is not required to register clones or their offspring until the appeal is finally determined.

The case centers on a ruling by US District Judge Mary Lou Robinson, who declared last August that the AQHA had to accept the registration of clones and their offspring.

A jury in the case 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 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.


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