The American Quarter Horse Association is fighting a recent legal decision regarding clones. The group filed a Notice of Appeal on Monday. Last month, a federal judge ordered the association to immediately begin registering clones and their offspring.
“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 2012, Panhandle rancher Jason Abraham and veterinarian Gregg Veneklasen sued the 280,000-member organization, seeking to overturn the association’s Rule 227a, which barred cloned horses from the AQHA. A 10-person jury ruled last month that AQHA violated state and federal antitrust laws by conspiring to bar cloned horses from the group’s registry. Although the plaintiffs asked for damages in excess of $5.5 million the jury failed to award any.
The judge later ordered the AQHA to pay the plaintiffs’ $900,000 in legal bills.
The group is seeking a stay of enforcement of the judgment pending the outcome of the appellate court’s decision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans will hear the appeal. If a stay is granted, the registration of clones and their offspring will be put on hold until the appellate process is completed.
Unless and until a stay is granted or AQHA prevails on appeal, the court-mandated rules regarding the registration of clones and their offspring are being incorporated into AQHA’s rules of registration, according to the association.