Circus Fans Rejoice
That the special interest group American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ended up on the “paddle side” of their own abusive litigation was indeed a surprising turn of events. The ASPCA has agreed to fork over $9.3 million as a settlement to Feld Entertainment, producer of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Over a decade ago the ASPCA, along with others, sued Feld Entertainment under the Endangered Species Act, claiming that the company was abusing elephants. What turned the dice on the ASPCA? Well, besides the obvious, no standing to sue under the Endangered Species Act and no proof whatsoever of animal cruelty, there’s the fact that the ASPCA’s lead witness was essentially paid for his testimony. That never seems to sit well in a court of law. It’s not quite over yet though. Feld Entertainment has continuing litigation against other animal rights groups which joined in the ASPCA suit, along with the HSUS, who merged with one of the original parties. If Feld Entertainment wins its countersuit, it would mean the HSUS would be facing millions of dollars in possible damages.