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      AQHA defends horse cloning rule

      T he American Quarter Horse Association is set to defend its stance on restricting the registration of cloned quarter horses after being sued by two fellow AQHA members. Pretrial is set to begin at the United States Court for the Northern District Texas in Amarillo on July 16, 2013. Jury selection will follow on the 17th.

      I n April of 2012, Abraham Equine Incorporated and Jason Abraham from Canadian, along with Gregg Veneklasen of Canyon, sued the organization. They claimed the AQHA was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

      The AQHA has banned cloned horses from being registered with the organization since it began in 1940. In 2004, they reinstated that rule. P ronews 7 contacted plaintiff Abraham Equine for comment, but the interview was declined.

      "Members really feel like they should be allowed to make and pass rules for their association ," said AQHA Spokesman Tom Persechino. " One such rule that they have made and passed and told us to vigorously defend is to not allow clones to be registered with the association."

      Persechino said members of the association are worried that cloned horses would narrow the gene pool and could potentially pass along harmful diseases. He also said parentage verification would be difficult in horse clones, therefore violated requirements from AQHA registered breeds.

      "Are you just going to clone high level elite athletes and then make it unaffordable for the rank and file member? Some of them worry is if we are going to be copying diseases that we know of, that we don't know of ," said Persechino. " Some people just flat tell us there's more that they don't know."

      For more on the case and AQHA, visit www.aqha.com.