Animal Rights Group Pays Circus $9.3M
ASPCA settles lawsuits with Ringling Bros.
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2012 1:58 PM CST
In this image from a video and released by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a trainer hits an elephant in the face with a rod, backstage at the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus.   (AP Photo/PETA, Ho)

(Newser) – 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."

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Dec 29, 2012 8:02 PM CST
All those starving kids going to sleep hungry tonight that could be eating with that 9.3 million.
Dec 29, 2012 7:52 PM CST
Never look away from animal abuse. Perhaps this time the Feld's of the world took the money and ran and our court system continues to ignore animal abuse but time will tell...time will tell. Feld probably doesn't have a clue about what really happens to animals or employees in his entertainment extravaganza. When I was young and ignorant, I went to a Ringling circus. I will never forget how horrible that experience was and will never go again.
Dec 29, 2012 5:03 PM CST
People should boycott these old fashioned, anachronistic, cruelty-is-us circuses. Instead people should seek out the new circuses which don't practice animal abuse such as the Big Apple Circus, with far more talented acts & no animal abuse.