Today, a 10-person jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division ruled that AQHA Rule REG106.1, which prohibits the registration of cloned horses and their offspring in AQHA’s breed registry, violates federal and state anti-trust laws. The jury awarded no damages.

In a statement published today on AQHA’s website, AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway, Jr. said,

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.

Whether nor not clones will be able to be registered with the AQHA in the foreseeable future is still up in the air. According to AQHA President Johne Dobbs,

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.

The plainitffs in the case have requested injunctive relief, in which they have asked the court to order the AQHA to register their cloned horses.  They have also requested that the court order the AQHA to pay at least a portion of their legal fees.  A hearing on the injunctive relief and fees request has not yet been held.  The jury’s verdict has not been reduced to a final judgment, nor has the court issued an opinion in the case at this time.  

Case InformationAbraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture, et al v. American Quarter Horse Association; Cause No. 2:12-CV-00103-J in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Amarillo Division)

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Federal Lawsuit Alleges AQHA Cloned Horse Registration Policy Violates Antitrust Law

  • Paul Husband

    I have not read the opinion yet, but conceptually, it sounds like the District Court and jury made a terrible decision. This is a matter of major import. I hope that AQHA appeals. It is difficult to conceive of any proper application of any law leading to that result.

  • Alison


    I agree with you on the jury verdict. The district court has not issued a judgment or opinion yet. I will be interested to see what the court does with this verdict, especially given that we have a policy of judicial nonintervention in Texas when it comes to private associations’ ability to make their own rules and govern themselves.

  • James Oakley

    I firmly agree that cloning will destroy the breed of the American
    Quarter Horse and believe that the AQHA has the right to appeal
    this lower court decision and go all the way to the Supreme Court
    if needed.
    I would pursue the route of falling back on the 1st ammendment
    association clause just like the Boy Scouts of America did in 2000
    when the LGBT sued them for there exclusion rules against gays.
    A private organization has the right to deny membership to anyone
    they choose for any reason without being considered desriminatory!