Animal cruelty case nets win for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Owners of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, said on Friday that they will receive $9.3 million from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to settle part of a lawsuit the circus owners filed against the ASPCA and several other animal rights groups.
Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Bros., sued the ASPCA and the other groups in 2007 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, contending the groups and their lawyers paid more than $190,000 to a former Ringling employee who had joined them in suing the circus company in 2000, alleging animal cruelty under the Endangered Species Act.
A federal court at the end of a six-week trial in 2009 ruled in the circus' favor. In its ruling, the court characterized the former employee, Tom Rider, as a paid witness whose testimony was not credible.
Feld's racketeering lawsuit against the ASPCA also includes the Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Animal Protection Institute United with Born Free USA, Rider and some of the attorneys involved in the litigation. But Friday's settlement covers only the ASPCA.
“These defendants attempted to destroy our family-owned business with a hired plaintiff who made statements that the court did not believe,” said Kenneth Feld, chairman and chief executive officer of Feld Entertainment. “This settlement is a vindication not just for the company, but also for the dedicated men and women who spend their lives working and caring for all the animals with Ringling Bros. in the face of such targeted, malicious rhetoric.”
The settlement ends part of a battle in what has been a decades-long war between animal rights activists and circus companies such as Ringling.
Activist groups have long held that Ringling treats its performing elephants cruelly. Over the years, they have released undercover videos showing trainers beating the elephants, which activists say are housed in cramped quarters and are poorly treated for debilitating diseases.
As part of the settlement, ASPCA officials said on Friday that their organization does not admit any liability or wrongdoing.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- GOP budget proposal guts federal spending, health care
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- Fraternity’s racist chant among its traditions, University of Oklahoma finds
- 30 new species of flies found in L.A. experiment
- Clinton wiped private email server ‘clean’
- Maryland might owe federal government millions for health care exchange
- American crash victims: U.S. government contractor, daughter
- Fla. debates buy-America bill for U.S. flag purchases
- Report: Prepare to drill for oil in Arctic
- Gun used by agent who helped jail Capone headed to museum
- National briefs