Animal rights group pays settlement in circus elephant case
The owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus say allegations of elephant abuse were malicious.
By Tom Watkins, CNN
(CNN) -- A circus producer said Friday that an animal rights group has paid it $9.3 million to settle two federal court cases claiming elephant abuse.
Feld Entertainment, Inc., trumpeted the settlement with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as a victory for its Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
"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 CEO of Feld Entertainment, in a statement.
"Animal activists have been attacking our family, our company, and our employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses," Feld said. "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 Brothers in the face of such targeted, malicious rhetoric."
The ASPCA was one of several animal rights groups that sued Feld Entertainment in 2000, alleging that circus elephants were abused.