Both parties in a pending legal case regarding the registration of cloned horses and their offspring have now filed legal briefs requesting an oral arguments hearing with the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), which opposes the registration of clones, filed its reply brief with the appellate court on March 24. The brief asks the court to overturn July and August jury and judge decisions reached in Amarillo, Texas, that would compel the AQHA to start registering clones. An AQHA press release issued on March 25 anticipates a hearing will take place as early as this fall, although that remains up to the court.
Attorneys for cloned horse owners Jason Abraham and Gregg Veneklasen, and companies owned jointly and separately by them, previously asked the Court of Appeals to set an oral arguments hearing in a brief they filed on Feb. 27.
A three-judge panel will consider briefs filed by each side, and could either set an oral hearing or rule without setting one. It will depend more on whether members of the judges’ panel want to ask questions than both sides request one, a clerk said.
If an oral arguments hearing is set, attorneys for each side will present arguments and answer any questions about the case the appellate court judges might have. The same three judges who will rule on the case would be present for the hearing, the clerk added.
While the Fifth District Court of Appeals keeps statistics regarding the frequency of its rulings, there is no way of telling when it will rule on this case. Its decision could be rendered within a couple of months after the hearing, or “it could be 12 months or more,” the clerk added.
Last year, rancher Abraham, of Canadian, Texas, and veterinarian Veneklasen, of Canyon, Texas, sued the AQHA, seeking to register their cloned horses and overturn Rule 227a, which has barred cloned horses from the AQHA registry since 2004. They prevailed in their original case, but whether they and other horse owners can eventually start registering clones and their foals now depends on how the appellate court rules.