A federal jury ruled Tuesday that an American Quarter Horse Association committee and AQHA officials violated antitrust laws by banning cloned horses from the AQHA registry.
However, jurors awarded no damages to the plaintiffs, a Texas rancher and a veterinarian who own the horses.
The AQHA had argued it had the right to set its own reasonable rules and that most members opposed cloning.
An attorney for the plaintiffs said they hope the AQHA will allow the registration of their cloned horses without further court action.
“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.
Other breed registries have been following the trial with great interest, although James Gagliano, president and CEO of The Jockey Club said the jury decision will have no impact on Thoroughbred registration.
“The facts involved in the AQHA case are very different from those applicable to the registration of Thoroughbreds and the decision in that case has no bearing on the rules for registering Thoroughbreds,” said Gagliano. “The Jockey Club, as an organization dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred racing and breeding, believes that the short- and long-term welfare of the sport of Thoroughbred racing and the Thoroughbred breed are best served by the current rules.”
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