Published on: Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Lindsay Lien '15 presented “A One Horse Race: Legal and Practical Considerations for Horse Cloning” at the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting held earlier this month in Minneapolis.
Her talk was part of a panel on “Invoking Expertise to Protect Natural Environments.” She presented alongside Cary Coglianese of the University of Pennsylvania, Katherine Trisolini of Loyola Law School, Nicholas Buchanan of the University of Minnesota, and Lloyd Burton of the University of Colorado-Denver.
The abstract of Lien’s presentation is as follows:
In mid-September, a Federal District Court judge issued an injunction requiring the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), the largest horse breed registry worldwide, to begin registering cloned horses and their offspring. In July, a jury found that the AQHA violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by barring clones from registration, and thus competition and profit. See Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture v. Am. Quarter Horse Ass'n, 2013 WL 2297104 (N.D. Tex. May 24, 2013). Rather than a fringe decision about horse genetics, this case represents the conflict of humans with the technology mankind has promoted-a conflict that confronts the horse industry head on. This paper discusses the implications for cloning at all levels of the horse industry, and what it means for elite breeders and competitors, individual horse owners, and larger society, as it is faced with similar issues. Cloning is a cutting-edge scientific endeavor- fascinating to humans, because it enables our kind to re-create living, breathing creatures from DNA, which is a modern scientific discovery itself. Since the first horse clone, Prometea, was born in 2003, many other prized horses have also been cloned-not for the sake of scientific research, but instead to seek a profit. Prized performance horses, such as Scamper (Gills Bay Boy) and Smart Little Lena, both famous American Quarter Horses, have been cloned to continue their progeny. The admittance of clones and their offspring to registration first begs the question of whether it will forever destroy the gene pool. Aside from the pressing genetic issues, allowing registered clones to compete would undoubtedly affect racing horses and wagering. Though the Jockey Club (which oversees Thoroughbreds and Thoroughbred racing) does not allow horses conceived through assisted reproductive technology to be registered, the threat of clones could potentially extend to all domestic horse racing with similar a similar suit. In other equine disciplines (including some which are Olympic events), cloning may force increased regulation to keep the competition fair to those owners, trainers, and riders that do not have access to an elite clone. In all events, the desire to have the best horse may lead to a one horse race of many animals, all with identical DNA. Most importantly, horse cloning draws us to react to and question this type of reproductive technology. Too much of a good thing might be a perilous trap. Furthermore, what is the role of the law and courts in determining the threshold question of how much interference with reproduction is too much? Should the largest horse registry in the world be forced to register clones so that those willing to pay the price for a clone may access the profits derived from elite horse breeding? This paper will examine the consequences for the Abraham decision specific to the horse industry, yet applicable in other contexts.