An animal rights group has paid $9.3 million to settle two federal court cases over the treatment of circus elephants, CNN reports. Feld Entertainment Inc., which owns Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, is trumpeting the settlement with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as a big win: "These defendants attempted to destroy our family-owned business with a hired plaintiff who made statements that the court did not believe," said CEO Kenneth Feld.
What's more, Feld is pressing cases against other animal-rights groups in an attempt to recoup a reported $20 million in legal costs. But the ASPCA isn't admitting to any wrongdoing, and notes that the court never ruled on its elephant-abuse allegations. The case apparently hinged on a former circus worker whose testimony was dismissed because activists had paid him. But Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the US, is vowing to fight on: "We'll continue to make our case to the public, even as Ringling files frivolous and retaliatory legal actions to divert and distract from its abuse of elephants."