Horse News

Court Sides With AQHA in Cloning Case

veneklasen_abraham  Horse cloners Gregg Veneklasen and Jason Abraham


by Pat Raia

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) in a long-running case involving the registration of cloned Quarter Horses.

Some owners have used the cloning process—which was first performed on horses in 2003—to preserve their animals’ bloodlines, particularly those of high-performance equines. In response to cloning as a way to preserve bloodlines, some breed associations ruled on whether or not cloned horses can be included in their breed registries.

In 2004 the AQHA board of directors approved Rule 227(a), which prohibits cloned horses or their offspring from being included in the organization’s breed registry. The AQHA opposed the registry of cloned animals on several grounds including that cloning does not improve the breed and that only the most elite horses may be cloned over and over again for use in breeding programs.

Subsequently Jason Abraham and two of his related companies, Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture and Abraham Equine Inc., filed suit against the AQHA asking the court to order the AQHA to remove Rule 227(a) on grounds that the ban on registering cloned horses and their offspring violates antitrust laws.

A federal district court jury later found that the rule preventing the registration of cloned Quarter Horses violated state and federal antitrust rules, and a judge signed an order requiring the AQHA to allow cloned animals to be registered. In response, the AQHA filed another federal lawsuit asking that the ruling be overturned.

In January 2015, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the District Court’s decision. Subsequently, Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture and Abraham Equine Inc. asked the appeals court to rehear the case.

On Oct. 26, the Court of Appeals denied the petition for a rehearing, according to a written statement on the AQHA website. Specifically, the court ruled that the appeals court opinion held that the plaintiffs’ evidence did not prove a conspiracy to restrain trade and that “AQHA is not a competitor in the allegedly relevant market for elite Quarter Horses.”

Read the rest of the story HERE.



18 replies »

  1. Hard as it is to say – this is one (and apparently-only one) where the AQHA is on the right side – and Arlene youre right – they continue to over-breed & over-register too many foals already! Surprising they dont want to register cloned animals. “A conspiracy to restrain trade?” How ridiculous is that! Sadly, these characters have apparently got more money than common sense. Dont they realize these horses (that they want to clone) are special BECAUSE they are unique? Guess not.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Want to know why none of our comments showed up—read the one that did–they only want comments that agree with their point of view.

    here: Home / Opinion / Editorials /Someone needs to commit to realistic wild horse population control

    Someone needs to commit to realistic wild horse population control


    Twenty Republican members of Congress, including Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, sent a letter earlier this month to Neil Kornze, the director of the Bureau of Land Management, asking him to provide suggestions for how to rein in the exploding wild horse population in the West, which is damaging water resources, overgrazing the range and jeopardizing their own health, as well as that of other wildlife and the livelihoods of ranchers.

    The letter notes that almost half of the 100,000 horses under BLM management are located in holding facilities at a cost of $50,000 over the lifetime of each captive horse and that adoptions of wild horses have fallen 70 percent in the past decade. Currently more than 60 percent of the BLM’s $70 million annual budget for managing wild horses and burros is consumed by warehousing the animals.

    When Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 there were about 25,000 wild horses and burros on the range, but since then the number of animals on public lands has more than doubled to 58,150 — 9,000 of those were born in the past year alone. Half of these free roaming feral horses are in Nevada.

    “We believe it is clear that the current management strategy of wild horses and burros has proven ineffective,” the letter says. “Wildfire, drought, and invasive species exacerbate poor range conditions caused by overstocked HMAs (herd management areas). Across 10 western states where the BLM manages wild horses and burros, every state exceeds AML (appropriate management level). In some cases, like Arizona, there are HMAs that surpass the agency-determined AML by more than 9 times the allowable herd size. We understand long-term fertility control methods take time to develop, and once implemented will maintain horse populations at more appropriate levels. In the interim, however, steps must be taken to decrease herd sizes to allow rangeland recovery and effective management of future populations.”

    The letter does not pretend to lay the entire blame for the current situation on the managers of the BLM, and asks guilelessly what congressional action could be taken to give the agency the flexibility it needs to accomplish herd management.

    The letter discusses fertilization suppression efforts at length.

    In fact, this past summer the BLM announced it would initiate 21 research projects with a goal of maintaining a sustainable population of wild horses and burros at a cost of $11 million. The BLM says it plans to spend that money on university and U.S. Geological Survey scientists, primarily to develop longer lasting fertility-control vaccines, as well as efficient methods for spaying and neutering wild horses.

    That could be the long-term solution, but the four-page congressional letter hints at one point at what is really the best and cheapest short-term solution, asking rhetorically whether “humane euthanasia” might be among the population control methods.

    That 1971 wild horse law specifically states, “The Secretary (of Interior) shall cause additional excess wild free roaming horses and burros for which an adoption demand by qualified individuals does not exist to be destroyed in the most humane and cost efficient manner possible.”

    But budgets since 2009 has stipulated that no funds are to used “for the destruction of healthy, unadopted, wild horses and burros …”

    Of course, any hint at the necessity to slaughter these beautiful — though too often emaciated and crippled due to overgrazing and brutal combat between the studs for the mares healthy enough to breed — animals results in apoplectic outrage and threats of litigation from self-styled, but wrongheaded animal lovers.

    But that is the only workable solution that will allow contraceptive efforts to work in the long- run. — TM



    Susan Humphrey says:

    November 19, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    The whole horse program under the management of the BLM is a mess. The horses on the ranges need to be brought down to the AML…they are cause permanent damage to the range, and some of the HMA horses are in very poor condition, such as was shown when the Cold Creek Nevada horses were emergency gathered.
    I think the biggest problem has been that Congress won’t stand up to the wild horse activists…I won’t call them advocates, because you have to really care about the horses to be an advocate. What has been happening with horses dying of starvation and dehydration is not being an advocate for horses.
    Real wild horse advocates promote contraception on the range, including spaying and they promote adoptions. Activist promote people to DONATE to their cause so they can bring costly litigation…and in the meantime the horses themselves have suffered. Many of the activist are against any management of the horses whatsoever, including birth control.
    I would like to see all young horses in holding facilities in training programs. I don’t understand why we have horses there that have been there for years…young horses…and we have only been paying for board. We would have been much better off financially to have paid a professional trainer to have that horse riding…people want riding horses…than to have a horse eating have @ $5 a day for 3-4 years…that is a waste of my money!
    The older horses could be evaluated by professionals (I’m a professional horse trainer) to see if they are likely to be trained or not. If they aren’t… put notices out that the horses are going to be destroyed if they aren’t adopted…then do it. As long as there is plenty of notice to the public that the horses need to find private homes, the public has the responsibility to decide if they want to finance the horses…or not. I don’t want to so I won’t be doing it.
    I don’t have any problem financing the horses…at AML…on the range. I don’t have any problem hiring professional trainers to train the younger horses that no one wants to adopt right away to give the excess horses every chance to get adopted. I have a BIG PROBLEM with warehousing excess horses…50,000 horses…that is ridiculous!



    • Did a quick look for this Susan Humphrey and found this (Shane Destry comment in 2014):
      “…It is irrelevant what Susan Humphrey, a long time disciple of Sue Wallis and promoter of horse slaughter considers who should be managing public lands and wild horses.”


    • Did a quick check on this Susan Humphrey and found this (Shane Destry comment about her):
      “It is irrelevant what Susan Humphrey, a long time disciple of Sue Wallis and promoter of horse slaughter considers who should be managing public lands and wild horses.”


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