An appeals court has ruled the American Quarter Horse Association can ban cloned horses from its breed registry.
The United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans issued its 20-page opinion Wednesday. It states the plaintiffs failed to prove the association was involved in a conspiracy to restrain trade. Additionally, the judges state “AQHA is not a competitor in the allegedly relevant market for elite Quarter Horses.” The judgment in favor of the AQHA reverses the lower court’s decision.
Two AQHA members who own about 20 clones sued the association in 2012 for the right to register their cloned horses. The suit was filed after the breed association decided that quarter horses produced by any cloning process are not eligible for registration.
In July 2013, a jury awarded the men the right to register the clones, but no monetary damages. AQHA announced it would appeal the decision shortly after the verdict came down.
The ruling would have had serious implications for breed associations. Currently, no breed association registers cloned horses.
AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway says, “we always knew our case was sound. Obviously, this decision lifts a huge burden from the shoulders of our Association, and we are relieved to finally have a judgment in our favor.”
The plaintiffs plan to appeal, according to their attorney Nancy Stone of Amarillo.
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