Benjamin, a 4-year-old Asian Ringling Bros. elephant, was swimming in a pond in 1999 when his trainer instructed him to get out of the water. When he disobeyed, the trainer came at him with a bull hook — a club with a sharp metal point at the end — and the young elephant had a heart attack and died. ... Four nonprofit national animal rights groups ... in 2000 sued Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. ... The suit ... claims the defendants inhumanely and illegally mistreat their Asian elephants and have done so for decades. On Monday, Federal Court Judge Emmet Sullivan will begin hearing testimony in the case. The anticipated three-week, non-jury trial takes place in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
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Lawsuit alleges elephant abuse
Natalie Neysa Alund