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Cloned Horses Champing At The Bit For Their Day In Court

Posted  May 11, 2012

Cloned horses are going to get their day in court to show that they should be treated as the equals of horses with more traditional pedigrees.

A member of the American Quarter Horse Association (“AQHA”) has filed a complaint, alleging that an AQHA rule prohibiting the registry of cloned horses and their offspring violates antitrust laws.

The case is Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture, et al.  v. American Quarter Horse Association, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Plaintiff Jason Abraham and two of his companies, Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture and Abraham Equine Inc., allege that AQHA’s rule 227(a), in effect since 2004, violates Section 2 of the Sherman Act and the Texas Free Enterprise and Antitrust Act of 1983.  Plaintiffs claim that AQHA has market power in the U.S. market for high quality registered Quarter Horses.

Plaintiffs allege that their cloned horses are excluded from AQHA events as a result of AQHA’s rule prohibiting cloned horses and their offspring from registering in AQHA’s registry of Quarter Horses.  AQHA events include approximately 8,000 sanctioned races throughout the U.S. each year.   Purses for AQHA races totaled over $129 million in 2011.  Plaintiffs also allege that AQHA’s enforcement of the rule harms purchasers of the horses by limiting the supply, and increasing the prices, of registered Quarter Horses.

Plaintiffs seek to have the rule amended to permit cloned horses and their offspring to be registered and eligible for AQHA events.  Plaintiffs are also seeking treble damages, including for lost profits and the diminution in value of their horses.

AQHA is currently reviewing the lawsuit according to a statement by vice president Don Treadway posted on the AQHA website.

Tagged in: Antitrust Litigation,