On February 15, the American Quarter Horse Association announced it has terminated its relationship and will not renew its affiliate agreement with the Deutsche Quarter Horse Association (DQHA), which served as the AQHA affiliate in Germany.
AQHA international affiliates are required to sign and abide by an affiliate agreement with AQHA. Within this agreement, international affiliates must adopt and abide by the mission and policy statements of AQHA, which includes maintaining the integrity of the breed and welfare of its horses.
As the studbook of origin for the American Quarter Horse, AQHA has successfully protected data related to the registration, ownership and membership records of millions of American Quarter Horses and hundreds of thousands of AQHA members for decades. The responsibility of protecting the horse and member data that are a part of AQHA records became even more important as data protection requirements, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), went into effect in recent years.
In 2019, DQHA engaged in the unauthorized collection of genetic data from AQHA for nearly 600 registered horses. Working as a partner in good faith, AQHA offered DQHA the opportunity to enter into a retroactive data-share agreement to agree to specific authorized use and protection of this AQHA data and to allow DQHA to correct breaches of its contractual obligations as an AQHA affiliate. A data-share agreement outlines the affiliate’s authorized use of the data, data laws within that specific country and the affiliate’s commitment to store the data appropriately. AQHA’s goal in offering the opportunity for DQHA to enter into a retroactive data-share agreement was to both protect the data in question and maintain a multi-decade relationship with DQHA in alignment with its obligations as an AQHA affiliate.
However, despite AQHA extending the deadline to execute the data-share agreement multiple times, and DQHA signing a statement of intent on January 31 that included the commitment to execute a data-share agreement by February 14, DQHA ultimately declined to sign the data-share agreement. Therefore, DQHA has failed to commit to appropriate use and protection of the data, remains in breach of its obligations as an AQHA affiliate and is no longer recognized as an approved AQHA affiliate. Without an affiliate agreement, DQHA will not be eligible for benefits afforded AQHA affiliates, which include approval of AQHA events, use of AQHA logos and marks, and any support funding made available to AQHA affiliates.
“We are saddened and disappointed that the DQHA board members determined they did not desire to continue DQHA’s relationship with AQHA,” said Craig Huffhines, AQHA executive vice president. “We do not believe this to be in alignment with the wishes of the majority of AQHA members in Germany who do business with DQHA. AQHA remains fully committed to its mission to record and preserve the pedigree of the American Quarter Horse, as well as to appropriately supporting its EU affiliates and AQHA members, owners and breeders in Europe and around the world. AQHA will pursue business options to recover and protect the data pertaining to AQHA members and American Quarter Horses unlawfully obtained by DQHA and will be actively seeking new opportunities to support members in Germany, including the possibility of identifying a new affiliate organization or realigning with DQHA should its board or the position of its board be changed by the influence of member opinion.”
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