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Racketeering and litigation abuse charges against the remaining defendants are ongoing.

The two federal court cases against Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Animal Protection Institute United with Born Free USA, Tom Rider and the attorneys involved wil continue despite this ASPCA settlement with Ringling and Brothers Circus.

Reminds me of the time the Center for Biological Diversity got convicted of lying and settled for large amounts which held up under appeal, CBD founder Suckling is happy to not discuss the particulars to this day.

Michael Freeman Photography

More bellow the tangled web of conspiracy.

As near as I can tell cutting through the legal mumbo jumbo what they did was pay some guy an average of $20K a year to keep testifying against the Ringling Brothers Circus. Maybe they all conspired to do worse, who knows, you'd guess it will come out in the wash, or one could probably read the govt's case somewhere.

What is known is that with legal fees a heck of a lot of well meaning people's donations have been wasted.

More than the money what irks me is the animal involved, the Asian Elephant.

There is no domestic species, all elephants are wildlife, captive populations are hardly self sustaining. The process for "taming" them involves what most would call cruelty. Basically water and sleep deprivation for days until they follow basic commands, the restraint they are put in to do this is called a crush. I'm no softy but I have to say I don't much like the idea of elephants that aren't in the wild.

I've seen elephants used for logging in Laos and tourism in Thailand, I'm not at all sure which is worse. An elephant needs to spend many hours a day eating, it makes little difference if it's being worked to death for tourists or logs. Lately entrepreneurs advertise petting or watching elephants use paint brushes as a way to make tourists feel less guilty. Rescue centers and circuses both depend on a steady supply of elephants for cash flow.

There are maybe forty or fifty thousand Asian elephants left in the wild. The IUCN lists them as endangered due to the rate of population decline.

People pony up large amounts of money when you can touch their emotions. Elephants in circuses are a good source of funds for animal rights groups, they can be photographed, individuals can be named. In the wild it's difficult to even see Asian Elephants, they are shy and the forest is thick. People are much less generous to the idea of some  elephants living in the wild.

It's said that elephants are self aware much in the same way as primates and porpoises are. I wish we could just let them be.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Don't Know Why (10+ / 0-)

    but I love elephants. I don't have any kids. Just a single niece. She is three. I gave her a lot of Legos but also a donation in her name to The Elephant Sanctuary. I know my parents have video of me explaining to her what that gift was and we cried.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 05:58:31 AM PST

    •  I, too, love elephants an inordinate amount. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      When I began reading and saw an elephant here I wondered if I could bear reading this because just thinking about the slaughter and bad treatment of these animals sickens me, saddens me and fills me with shame for the way the human race has been treating them.

      I hate to think of an Earth without elephants but I fear in 100 years that will be the case.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 10:58:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a little confused by this diary (13+ / 0-)

    You make it sound like the animal groups committed the highest of crimes (they were struggling to get standing to sue, which can be very difficult thanks to American law). Then you say it's cruel to have elephants in circuses, but then you say the animal groups benefit from elephants in circuses -- even though these groups were trying to get elephants out of circuses because they know it's cruel.

    Yes, animals in captivity can make people more sympathetic toward them, but you don't mention zoos, which are a much better place for them to be captive and they often have breeding programs to help grow the species.

    Personally I donate to these groups and I don't really have an issue with them trying to find a way to get standing to sue. It's not uncommon for environmental groups to take unusual means to get standing. I'd prefer it if they didn't break the law, but they did, so they'll have to pay for it.

    Refuge Watch -- news from America's national wildlife refuges

    by Naturegal on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 06:18:40 AM PST

    •  I'm kind of in the same place as Johnny (11+ / 0-)

      wurster bellow. The animal rights groups do nothing to actually help elephants, they prey on emotion for donations and subvert the law to get convictions for more donations. Elephants are helped not at all. I don't really like elephants in zoos either, they are exploited for amusement and ever more donations and entry fees.

      Probably circuses are a place elephants are treated about as well as anywhere but then we don't know now do we, because all we have is testimony for money. At the end of the day any org that keeps elephants is contributing to the problem. "Out of circuses is just a shifting of exploiters"

      Maybe consider not buying things made of tropical wood or looking for an org that is into preserving habitat. Think of species not individuals.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 06:54:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is a local elephant retirement center (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, ladybug53

      near me. They are rarely open to the public, but they do open occasionally to get money to operate and educate the public. The woman who runs the place is very protective of her animals (they have a number of other critters as well). Elephants that live in captivity do live much longer than in the wild because they are protected.

      One thing that I was surprised to learn from visiting is that her retired circus elephants live much longer than the zoo elephants. She explained that they were much healthier because they were athletes. The claim of "being worked to death" doesn't really hold any water.

      •  learn more, you are uninformed and maybe part (0+ / 0-)

        of the problem.

        Without donations there would be no draw for ever more captive elephants.

        Only some captive elephants live longer, particularly those in more natural settings. Every year elephants die from over work at the tourist places, they aren't given enough time to eat. Infant and other mortality outpaces births. Always more are needed from the wild, wether for tourism, circuses, zoos, or so called sanctuaries.

        It should be illegal to keep elephants for any reason other than scientific research.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:18:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  People *love* being talked to that way. n/t (5+ / 0-)

          You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

          by Rich in PA on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:25:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're dealing with someone who blames the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            people trying to save abused elephants for the creation of elephant abuse.

            "Rude" is a long way from the biggest problem here.  This person is arguing in earnest that sanctuaries caring for Elephants who have no wilderness or family to return to are the cause of decreasing numbers of wild elephants.

            It's like saying that programs designed to provide housing and rehab for victims of human trafficking are * responsible* for people being trafficked.

            This is Timecube "logic".

            "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

            by JesseCW on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 02:34:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  You think rescue centers and sanctuaries are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          creating a "draw" for the capture of wild Elephants?


          I can't believe people keep recommending  your Onionesque bullshit.

          "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

          by JesseCW on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 02:31:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  They have that retreat in Tennessee. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, zerelda, johnny wurster

        Forget its name now.

        "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

        by Bush Bites on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:58:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  everyone in this story sucks. (16+ / 0-)

    having elephants anywhere other than preserves, realllllly well-designed zoos, or the wild is heinous, and abuse of the legal system is reprehensible.

  •  Appalling (7+ / 0-)

    Everything about the American democracy has, as its most basing underpinning, the legal system. It enforces the laws and the Constitution. Abuse of the legal system is an attack on the system itself. I'm appalled by the actions of the ASPCA and, no matter how noble they personally believed their actions, their decision to place themselves outside the law is unforgivable. It is equally unforgivable that millions of dollars in contributions, often made in tiny increments by people who can barely afford it, are being spent on unlawful hubris.

    Shame on them.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 06:32:46 AM PST

  •  thanks for the update. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, ban nock

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 06:36:06 AM PST

  •  Goldman charges. (6+ / 0-)

    Iraq War charges.
    Humane Society...j'accuse!!!


    In Roviet Union, money spends YOU.

    by Troubadour on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:19:56 AM PST

    •  It's only a fine but one can always hope (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'd love to see someone at HSUS do time.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:25:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  aren't the ASPCA & Humane Society different (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        misslegalbeagle, WillR

        entities? I thought they were one & the same, but looked them up and they have different websites.
        I have a gripe with the Humane Society from when it was headed by Michael Fox (the vet, not the actor). I don't know what their stands are today, but under his leadership they were only a notch less extreme than PETA.  
        On a public radio talk show, Fox was railing against using porcine heart valves, which, at the time, were apparently a pretty good choice medically. All I could think was that this was a showboat kind of stand -- I'm sure that the number of pigs killed for heart valves (which would save human lives) was a tiny tiny fraction of the number of pigs killed for bacon (which endangers human lives). But instead of talking about not eating pork (and he could have put in all the pollution problems from hog farming and all the bad health effects of eating bacon), he chose to go after this needed medical intervention. It struck me as phony and meaningless and the attitudes he expressed toward humans were kind of hateful. (I also read his book on dogs and it almost made me not get a dog. Three dogs later, I think he's pretty off-kilter in his understanding of dog-human relations).
        I only give money to local shelters, not the national organization.

        We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

        by Tamar on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 10:38:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My thoughts exactly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It is particularly painful for me to see the charge of Racketeering since that is the first letter for the acronym RICO which is exactly what GS and others should be charged with.

      It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

      by ciganka on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 10:46:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Professional witnesses are used all the time. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Must be something else.

    Or just some kind of wingnut judge.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:52:24 AM PST

    •  Guess it was a professional plaintiff. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA, misslegalbeagle

      Still not sure if they were just paying legal fees or were actually paying him beyond that.

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:59:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Via the Greatest Press Release On Earth (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thomask, ban nock, Tamar, Catte Nappe


        On December 30, 2009, the U.S. District Court ruled in Feld Entertainment's favor (published as ASPCA v. Feld Entertainment, Inc., 677 F. Supp. 2d 55 (D.D.C. 2009)). In its ruling the Court stated that, "the Court finds that Mr. Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not credible, and therefore affords no weight to his testimony regarding the matters discussed herein, i.e., the allegations related to his standing to sue."

        That decision found that the plaintiffs' litigation was based on the untruthful testimony of a paid plaintiff and witness who the Court found received at least $190,000 in payments as his sole source of income over an eight year period by animal special interest groups, including ASPCA, their lawyers and an entity founded and controlled by those lawyers, the Wildlife Advocacy Project.

        The Court also ruled, "that ensuring Mr. Rider's continued participation as a plaintiff was a motivating factor behind the payments to him, and that these payments were a motivating factor for his continued involvement in the case." The Court also ruled against the other plaintiffs in the case: "because the organizational plaintiffs have not established an injury in fact, traceable to FEI's actions that can be redressed by the Court, the organizational plaintiffs have no standing to sue under Article III of the United States Constitution."

        Furthermore, the Court ruled that "based upon his failure to complain, the Court finds that Mr. Rider either (1) did not witness elephant mistreatment when he was employed by FEI or (2) any mistreatment he did witness did not affect him to the extent that he suffered an aesthetic or emotional injury." The Court's December 2009 ruling was affirmed in its entirety by the Court of Appeals on October 28, 2011.

        Based upon what was revealed in ASPCA, et al., v. Feld Entertainment, Feld Entertainment brought suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against ASPCA, HSUS and other animal rights activists and their lawyers alleging violations of the RICO statute and Virginia Conspiracy Act, malicious prosecution, and abuse of process.

  •  If one wants to know rather than speculate, (0+ / 0-)

    this link has links to the relevant filings and the opinion (including treatment of the elephants).

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