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
Animal Rights Group Pays Circus $9.3M
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)

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." (More animal rights stories.)

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