A US federal jury has ruled that the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) has violated antitrust laws by refusing to allow cloned horses and their offspring into the AQHA registry.

This ban (AQHA Rule REG106.1) has been in place since 2004, and certain AQHA members, including the plaintiffs in this case, Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture et al, disagree with the rule. Citing antitrust laws, which are in place to regulate the conduct of corporations and promote fair competition in business, the plaintiffs sued and won, but were not awarded any damages. The trail, which began in Texas, on July 17th, concluded July 30th.

The AQHA officials are displeased with the decision, saying that their members should have the right to set their own reasonable rules. “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 favour of the registration of clones and their offspring – has not been upheld by this verdict,” said Treadway.

“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.