A court has agreed that the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is not required to register clones or their offspring until an appeal against a legal ruling requiring the breed body to do so is finally determined.
On Tuesday, the US District Court in Amarillo, Texas, granted in part the association’s bid for a stay pending the outcome of the appeal.
AQHA executive vice-president Don Treadway Jr said the breed body’s executive committee and staff were pleased with the court’s ruling.
“We will continue to fight for our membership’s right to determine the rules for its association,” he said.
“Our legal team is hard at work as our appeal goes to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The deadline to file our appellate brief is December 24. We will keep you updated with developments in the case.”
The AQHA is the largest equine breed organization in the world, with a membership of more than 280,000 people in 86 countries. It has registered more than five million horses in 95 countries.
The case centers on a ruling by US District Judge Mary Lou Robinson, who declared in 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.