Lawsuit over quarter horse’s clone may redefine animal breeding

By SAMANTHA MASUNAGA
Los Angeles Times »

Three identical horses. by Pixgood.com.
Three identical horses, possible with today’s science of cloning. But is it a good thing considering the rampant overbreeding done in the natural way, not taking into account of course frozen semen and no live cover already allowed by the AQHA. Image by Pixgood.com.

Texas horse breeder Jason Abraham and veterinarian Gregg Veneklasen sued the American Quarter Horse Assn., claiming that Lynx Melody Too should be allowed to register as an official quarter horse.

A Texas jury decided in their favor in 2013, but a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling in January, saying there was “insufficient” evidence of wrongdoing by the association.

Abraham and Veneklasen are now seeking a rehearing before the full 15-judge circuit panel.

The suit is among the first to deal with the status of clones in breeding and competition, and its outcome could impact a number of fields, including thoroughbred horse racing and dog breeding.

The quarter horse association is adamant that clones and their offspring have no place in its registry.

“It’s what AQHA was founded on — tracking and preserving the pedigrees of these American quarter horses,” said Tom Persechino, executive director of marketing for the association. “When a person buys an American quarter horse, they want to know that my quarter horse has the blood of these horses running through it, not copies of it.”

But Abraham and Veneklasen say that cloning follows a long tradition of using the latest technology to improve and maintain the breed.

First Clone to Clone Foal.
First clone to clone foal. When is a horse truly a horse with this type of madness is going on. Picture attributed by Google to hoofease.com.

Cloning “is nothing more than an assisted reproductive technique, similar to in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination,” the plaintiffs wrote in their suit. “A clone is simply the genetic twin of the original animal separated in time.”

Ever since Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996 in Scotland, the use of clones as food, resurrected pets or competitive animals has been hotly discussed. Continue reading at the LA Times »