The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) says it has the support of other major horse groups, as well as dog and cat organisations, in its legal bid to overturn a court ruling requiring it to register clones and their offspring.
The association filed its arguments in the case with the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 26.
It said that several groups filed an Amici Curiae Brief on January 2 asking the Fifth Circuit to reverse the district court’s judgment and render a verdict in favor of the association. The Amici Curiae group includes the following organizations:
- American Kennel Club
- American Morgan Horse Association
- American Paint Horse Association
- Appaloosa Horse Club
- Arabian Horse Association
- The Cat Fanciers’ Association Inc.
- The Jockey Club
- Pinto Horse Association
- U.S. Trotting Association
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 the AQHA possessed monopoly power in the market.
Abraham and Veneklasen have until January 28 to respond to the AQHA brief, subject to any request for extension. Thereafter, the AQHA has 14 days to file a reply.