Lynx Melody Too, a clone of a renowned quarter horse, is at the center of a lawsuit that could change the world of animal breeding and competition.
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.
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.
Horses were first cloned in 2003, and various breeding groups have taken different stances. The Jockey Club, which registers thoroughbreds, has banned them from racing. But clones are allowed in other competitions, such as dressage and rodeo.
There is little uniformity among other animal groups. The American Kennel Club has banned clones; the Cat Fanciers’ Assn. has no policy yet since no one has tried to register a cloned cat.
Abraham and Veneklasen started a partnership to clone horses, with Abraham providing the surrogate mother mares and Veneklasen in charge of the cloning process.
One of their projects was the cloning of Lynx Melody. Nicknamed “Little Bitty,” the horse stood only 13.3 hands, or about 4 1/2 feet. Despite her size, she won the prestigious National Cutting Horse Assn. Futurity competition for 3-year-olds.
Her offspring were successful too — 16 of 17 were substantial money-earners. In 2008, Lynx Melody was posthumously inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.
Abraham and Veneklasen applied to have Lynx Melody Too included in the quarter horse registry, although the association had banned clones since 2004.
The pair, who did not respond to interview requests, sued the association, claiming the group violated federal antitrust laws.
The association denies there is any conspiracy or monopoly and says it is in step with other purebred animal registry groups.
Registration rules have always required that “only horses resulting from the breeding of a mother and a father (the joining of an egg and a sperm) are eligible for registration.”
“There were a lot of unknowns, in that the technology was so new,” Persechino said. “We received overwhelming support to defend the current rules from the membership.”
He said the association sees breeding as “part science and part art” and has loosened its rules to allow artificial insemination and embryo transfers.
Persechino said cloning offered little to the craft of horse breeding. “It wasn’t going to do anything to expand the breed,” he said. “It was just going to go back and copy what was already done.”
Several animal breeding groups, including the Arabian Horse Assn., the Cat Fanciers’ Assn. and the U.S. Trotting Assn., have filed briefs with the court in support of the quarter horse group.
Katrin Hinrichs, a professor at Texas A&M University whose lab has cloned nine horses and published more on horse cloning than any other lab in the world, said the association’s rule was reasonable.
“You don’t really know what the effect will be on how people breed horses, on the whole horse industry,” she said, noting that clones could have some health issues, such as crooked legs, that weren’t present in the original. “I think the AQHA was very prudent.”
But health issues eventually seem to work themselves out in the second generation, “kind of like a reset button,” Hinrichs said.
She added that she saw a specific role for cloning. “Cloning, to me, is a way to preserve genetics,” she said. “If you geld a horse and … he becomes a champion in the field, you’ve lost those genes.”
She also said cloning could be misunderstood.
“From the first time that man or humankind took a seed from where it would have fallen on the ground below where a plant was and took that seed and planted it instead in another place, that’s interfering with God’s plan, as it were,” she said.
“In cloning, if you look at what we’re doing, we’re taking a nucleus from one cell, and we’re putting it in another cell. We’re not fooling around with the DNA, we’re not changing the DNA in any way.”
Join us at: He Is Coming -Are You Ready?
Cloning is not the ordained method in which God intended for reproduction. It does not involve a MALE and FEMALE reproducing by the means God planned, and that in of itself makes it a violation of what God intended. It changes what God authorized to something that He did not authorize. Consider these verses:
- O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps – Jeremiah 10:23 (KJV).
- For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring – Acts 17:28 (KJV).
- In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind -Job 12:10 (KJV).
- The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life – Job 33:4 (KJV).
The process of cloning involves taking a female egg, removing the female chromosomes from it, and replacing them with the complete set of chromosomes from the donor. The egg is then placed in the womb to grow to maturity. But as soon as the chromosomes are placed in the egg, a new animal is “conceived.” That is what sexual reproduction is: the formation of fertilized egg cell, which is capable of growing in a womb as a separate individual from its mother or father. The cloned egg cell is capable of growing as a separate ‘life’ from the person from whom it was cloned. It is no longer part of his/her body, nor is it part of the body of the woman in whose womb it is implanted. It is a separate ‘being’ from the moment of cloning. (An important side point is that cloning, is not about having a mother as the life in a mother’s womb is a separate individual from the mother — for this individual would not even have come from the mother!)
Why do all the above facts matter? For the simple reason that the cloning process (as done now in animals) involves numerous “rejects.” When an egg is “fertilized” by cloning, it is often found to be imperfect or otherwise unacceptable, so it is “discarded” — i.e., killed, aborted, murdered. This is done repeatedly, in all cases of “cloning,” until an acceptable individual is achieved and implanted. This means that, if scientists experiment in cloning humans, they will necessarily abort dozens (probably hundreds) of fetuses before they ever succeed. And even if the cloning process is developed and improved, every attempted cloning will still involve discarding growing life! This is also what is wrong with all forms of “test-tube babies.” Hence, cloning is inherently sinful for all the reasons that deliberate abortion of humans is sinful.
”..Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so-called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith…”-1 Timothy 6:20-21 (KJV).
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils – 1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV)
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not- 2 Peter 2:2-3 (KJV).
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage – 2 Peter 2:19 (KJV).
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. ” -Revelation 13:16-17 (KJV).
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 (KJV).
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end – Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV).
As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all – Ecclesiastes 11:5 (KJV).
In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good – Ecclesiastes 11:6 (KJV).
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear – Hebrews 11:3 (KJV).
And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day – Genesis 1:31 (KJV).
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? – 1 Corinthians 1:20 (KJV).