A Texas federal judge told the American Quarter Horse Association that it must register cloned horses and their offspring.
U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson granted an injunction against the 280,000 member breed association on Monday. It will take effect 30 days after she signs it, which could happen this week.
Two Texas members who own about 20 clones sued the group in 2012 alleging AQHA Rule REG106.1 violates federal and state anti-trust laws. 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.
“We’re thrilled. We’re just thrilled,” said Nancy Stone, the plaintiffs’ attorney.
The ruling may have serious implications for other breed associations. Currently, none register cloned horses.
Despite the setback, the AQHA isn’t throwing in the towel. “AQHA will continue to take any and all necessary legal action in seeking to have the verdict of the jury and any judgment entered by the Court in favor of plaintiffs reversed,” AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway said in statement. “AQHA will continue to fight for its members’ rights.”
The parties also argued the issue of the plaintiffs’ claims for almost $900,000 in attorney fees. The judge did not enter a ruling regarding the matter.