AQHA Settles Embryo Transfer Lawsuit

From the Associated Press

The American Quarter Horse Association reached an out-of-court settlement Tuesday that will allow horse breeders to register embryo-transfer foals.

Attorneys said the AQHA agreed to amend its rules, and horse breeders agreed to drop millions of dollars in damage claims against the association. District Judge Pat Pirtle approved the deal that requires the AQHA to pay $550,000 in attorneys' fees.

In 2000, several horse breeders sued the AQHA, saying the association would not register numerous superiorly bred, embryo-transfer horses -- a rule that devalued their horses.

Under the AQHA's embryo-transfer rule, a mare could only produce one foal per year eligible for AQHA registration. By transferring embryos from one mare to a surrogate, a breeder can produce multiple foals per year, but only one foal was eligible for AQHA registration each year.

Under the settlement, the AQHA agreed to changes its rule effective immediately. The AQHA said any foals produced by the embryo-transfer technique will be eligible for registration if they meet other registration requirements.