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ASPCA agrees to pay circus $9.3 million

Dec. 29, 2012 at 12:54 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The owner of the largest circus in the United States says the American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals has paid it $9.3 million in damages.

Kenneth Feld, chairman of Feld Entertainment -- which operates Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus -- said the settlement ends two lawsuits, CNN reported.

The ASPCA originally sued Feld, alleging mistreatment of elephants at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The company still has lawsuits outstanding involving the Humane Society of the United States, other animal advocacy groups and Tom Rider, a former circus employee.

"These defendants attempted to destroy our family-owned business with a hired plaintiff who made statements that the court did not believe," Feld said in a statement.

Ed Sayres, the president and chief executive officer of the ASPCA, said the organization decided to settle after more than a decade of legal fighting. In a statement, the organization said the court never found its charges, that elephants are abused at Ringling Bros., to be untrue.

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