by Fran Jurga | 10 March 2010 | The Jurga Report at Equisearch.com
"Get real" was the AQHA's message to anyone planning to register a Quarter horse foal. Cloned horses, regardless of DNA, should not be registered by the AQHA, was the unanimous decision of the Stud Book and Registration Committee at this week's AQHA Convention in Florida. (Photo by Sarah/Sarowen)
What a difference a year makes.
A year of task force review and study of the possibility of allowing cloned horses to become registered by the American Quarter Horse Association ended this week at the AQHA annual convention, held outside Orlando, Florida. It was a year later and the Stud Book and Registration Committee was expected to make a ruling.
Would the clones be welcomed in or left out? The issue was a lightning rod a year ago, threatening to divide the association in a perceived power struggle between "real" breeders and "superhorse" producers.
But gone from the room, gone from the convention, gone from the press, gone from the chat rooms, and gone from the emails was the passion that characterized this issue from 2008 to 2009. Cloning has gone on, and the AQHA has gone on, but where did the passionate arguments go?
Was it the economy? Was it the growing understanding of the issue? Was it something political or corporate behind the scenes? Has the even bigger, even more emotional issue of horse slaughter overshadowed cloning? It appears that the decision's impetus may have only been that the task force was listening to the preference of AQHA members.
According to a news article in Quarter Horse News, and quoted with permission, the committee reported that a survey had been sent to 3,000 AQHA members. There were 1,073 returned surveys and of those, 923 were against the registration of cloning; 89 were in favor and 61 were neutral.
The Stud Book and Registration committee unanimously agreed to deny the recommendation to amend Rule 227 (a) to allow for the registration of clones by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) and amend rules 202, 211 and 212 to include SCNT. The ruling will now need to pass before the AQHA Executive Committee at its next meeting.
This ruling effectively leaves clones right where they have always been: out of the AQHA registration picture, in spite of their picture-perfect Quarter-horse DNA. While clones cannot be registered with the AQHA, they can still perform in certain non-breed specific sports, particularly cutting, where clones are not prohibited.
The Jurga Report hopes to have more news from the AQHA Convention, particularly about the Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM) and Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED) presentations.