A jury ruled Tuesday that the American Quarter Horse Association violated state and federal antitrust laws by conspiring to bar cloned horses from the group’s registry.
In 2012, Panhandle rancher Jason Abraham and veterinarian Gregg Veneklasen sued the 280,000-member organization, seeking to overturn the association’s Rule 227a. It has barred cloned horses from the AQHA. The two members also sought damages of $6 million.
The 10-person jury did not award the men any damages. One of their attorneys says they hope they are able to register 20 cloned horses without further legal action against the association.
“We are deeply disappointed by the outcome of this trial,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway, Jr. “It continues to be our position that our rule prohibiting the registration of clones and their offspring is both reasonable and lawful.”
“When individuals with shared interests, goals and values come together to form a voluntary association to serve a common purpose, the members have a right to determine the rules for their association. The wisdom of our membership – which is largely not in favor of the registration of clones and their offspring – has not been upheld by this verdict,” Treadway said.
“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,” said AQHA President Johne Dobbs.