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For Immediate Release: 10/23/08

Ringling Brothers Stands Trial in Federal Court for Elephant Abuse

Washington, DC — After more than eight years of legal wrangling, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and its parent company, Feld Entertainment, will finally stand trial to face charges that the circus abuses its Asian elephants in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act.

On Tuesday, February 3, 2009, the plaintiffs, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Fund for Animals, Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute, and former Ringling Bros. employee Tom Rider, are scheduled to present their case in federal district court in Washington D.C.

The groundbreaking lawsuit alleges that Ringling Bros. circus violates the Endangered Species Act by abusively training and disciplining elephants with sharp implements such as bull hooks and by intensively and continuously confining and chaining the animals for hours and even days on end.

“We look forward to finally having the opportunity to establish at trial that Ringling Bros. inhumanely and unlawfully mistreats the endangered Asian elephants it uses to perform in shows all across the country,” said lead counsel Katherine Meyer of the law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal. “The elephants not only deserve to be treated in a humane manner, but they are entitled to be protected under the law and we hope that they will be afforded such protection once this case finally comes to an end.”

Over the years, the plaintiffs have amassed a wealth of evidence to support their claims including photographs, video footage, internal Ringling Bros. documentation and reports from the United States Department of Agriculture. In addition to such evidence, eyewitness testimony from former Ringling Bros. employees and testimony from leading elephant behavior experts will be presented by the plaintiffs at trial.


Media Contacts:
Tracy Silverman, Esq., AWI, 202-460-3231, tracy@awionline.org
Anita K. Edson, ASPCA, 646-522-5056, anita@aspca.org
Martin Montorfano, FFA, 301-258-3152, mmontorfano@humanesociety.org
Adam Roberts, API, 202-445-3572, adam@bornfreeusa.org

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