AQHA argues in cloning appeal for right to set own rules

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New Zealand research reveals the country has a significant number of stay-at-home horses.Courts should recognize a private association’s right to adopt, administer, and interpret its own rules without judicial intervention, the American Quarter Horse Association says in its latest filings in a high profile cloning appeal.

The association, with a membership of more than 270,000, is asking the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a court ruling requiring it to accept the registration of clones.

The association said its had filed its reply brief to the plaintiffs’ brief in the lawsuit. It said it was very pleased with the work of its appellate team.

The parties have requested an oral argument before a Fifth Circuit panel of judges.

Generally, the Fifth Circuit sends out a notice setting oral arguments three to four months after the reply brief is filed, which would put it around July or August.

The actual oral argument then generally takes place one to two months later, which would likely see the oral arguments take place before the judges in September or October.

However, the association stressed that the timeline was dependent on the court’s schedule and was subject to change.

The appeal centers on a ruling by US District Judge Mary Lou Robinson on August 22 in which the association was ordered 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 not required to accept the registration of clones pending the outcome of its appeal.

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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