09/24/2013 11:10AM

AQHA files appeal in cloning lawsuit

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The American Quarter Horse Association filed a Notice of Appeal on Monday to begin the process to overturn an August 22 ruling requiring the breed organization to accept cloned horses.

The ruling upheld a jury’s decision on July 30 in favor of plaintiffs Jason Abraham and Gregg Veneklasen, who claimed the AQHA violated antitrust laws when it denied registration to at least eight cloned horses belonging to Abraham.

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lou Robinson issued the injunction, in addition to awarding the plaintiffs close to $900,000 in attorney fees. However she did not award damages, of which Abraham and Veneklasen sought $5.7 million.

The AQHA will seek a stay of the enforcement of that judgment pending the outcome of the appellate process. If a stay is granted, the registration of clones and their offspring will be put on hold until the appellate process is complete.

“AQHA strongly believes in the right of our members and directors to make such regulation decisions on their own,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway Jr. “We will continue to take any and all necessary legal steps to fight for our members’ rights to determine the rules that govern our association.”

In the meantime, an AQHA statement indicated that the organization is in the process of overhauling its computer programming in regards to its database to account for the registration of cloned horses and their offspring. The AQHA will post the court-mandated rules regarding clones, the new forms to be used to register them, and the summary of the requirements mandated by the new rules to register a cloned horse produced through somatic cell nuclear transfer.