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." (Read more animal rights stories.)