Circus Conglomerate Scores A Major Settlement In Animal Abuse Case

ringling bros circus elephants

Photo: wolfsavard/Flickr

Animal rights groups have agreed to pay $9.3 million to the company behind Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to settle a fight over alleged abuse of elephants.The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Fund for Animals, and others sued Feld Entertainment in 2000 over claims the circus was mistreating its performing elephants and violating the Endangered Species Act, Courthouse News Service reported Friday.

In turn, the circus sued the animal rights groups, claiming they violated federal racketeering law by paying a former circus employee $190,000 to testify that elephants had been abused.

A judge ruled in favour of Feld Entertainment in 2009, saying the case was brought based on untruthful testimony from the former employee, prompting the parties to file papers last week to dismiss the case.

The circus-owning company will be walking away with $9.3 million from the ASPCA as part of the settlement, according to CNS.

The ASPCA said it in a statement the settlement was in its best interest, saying continuing litigation would have been costly. Feld Entertainment chairman Kenneth Feld bashed animal activists for “attacking our family, our company, and our employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses,” CNS reported.

He called the settlement “a vindication.”

The circus has long been criticised for the way it treats animals.

A website called Ringling Bros. Beats Animals has posted videos that allegedly show elephants being abused and is filled with allegations against the circus.

And the ASPCA has an entire page dedicated to criticising the circus for the way it treats its non-human stars.

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