07/30/2013 8:02PM

American Quarter Horse Association considering options after cloning case ruling


A jury has ruled against the American Quarter Horse Association in a cloning registration case that went to trial in Amarillo, Texas, on July 17. The AQHA prohibits the registration of cloned animals in a practice that was legally challenged by Jason Abraham and Gregg Veneklasen. The suit alleged violation of anti-trust laws. There were no damages awarded in the case, according to a statement on the website of the AQHA.

A 10-person jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled on the case Tuesday. A decision whether it will be appealed is forthcoming.

“We will meet with our legal counsel and executive committee regarding our appeal options in continuing to fight for our members’ rights and announce our decision in that regard in the near future,” Johne Dobbs, the president of the AQHA, said in a statement.

The AQHA serves as the official registry for Quarter Horses who race, but its organization also extends to show horses, cutting horses and other disciplines. According to its handbook, horses not eligible for registration include those “produced by any cloning process.”

“We are deeply disappointed by the outcome of this trial,” said Don Treadway Jr., the executive vice president of the AQHA. “It continues to be our position that our rule prohibiting the registration of clones and their offspring is both reasonable and lawful.”

The AQHA Handbook defines cloning as “any method by which the genetic material of an unfertilized egg or an embryo is removed and replaced by genetic material taken from another organism, added to/with genetic material from another organism, or otherwise modified by any means in order to produce a live foal.”

Abraham in April 2012 had been denied registration of at least eight cloned horses in case documents obtained by NBC News. At least two of the horses listed were produced from the donor cells of top-class cutting horses, one of them the  sport’s legendary Smart Little Lena.