Way back in 2000, the ASPCA, the HSUS, the Fund For Animals, Animal Welfare Institute and the Animal Protection Institute (Born Free USA) banded together and attempted to sue Ringling Brothers AKA Feld Entertainment under the Endangered Species Act with regards to the treatment of their elephants. The ultimate goal was to prevent Ringling Brothers from using performing elephants in their circus shows.
In 2009, the presiding judge dismissed the case because it was determined the star witness, Tom Rider, did not provide reliable testimony and had covertly been on the payroll of the ASPCA et al. for the duration of the court case. Payment for testimony in a court of law is illegal.
With the ball in Feld’s court, they turned around and filed a civil suit against the ASPCA et al. that includes allegations of Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, Bribery, Money Laundering, Illegal Witness Payments & Obstruction of Justice. They are hoping to recover over 20 million dollars in court costs they shelled out to defend themselves against fabricated and fake allegations of animal cruelty.
Well, it seems that the
elephants chickens have come home to roost. Feld Entertainment and the ASPCA reached a settlement for 9.3 million dollars on December 28, 2012, with both parties filing dismissal papers in court. The end of the year timing was no mistake, either. Most people are concerned, or not depending the way you look at it, with other things during Christmas Week. I’m sure that the ASPCA was hoping this piece of news might slip under the radar.
The ASPCA settlement DOES NOT affect the ongoing lawsuit against
the HSUS, the Fund For Animals, Animal Welfare Institute and the Animal Protection Institute (Born Free USA).
The 2011 “Total Operating Support and Revenue” for the ASPCA was 147 million dollars. 9.3 million dollars of that revenue will be paid out to Feld Entertainment for attorneys’ fees and damages encountered over a decade of manufactured litigation that attempted to outlaw the use of elephants in the company’s Ringling Brothers Circus.
Still think that those ASPCA donation dollars are being put to good use? Donate to your local, registered animal charity and if you don’t like elephants performing in circuses, don’t buy a ticket to the show and tell your friends not to pay for a ticket, either. Voting with your wallet is the most powerful kind of activism there is.