US District Judge Emmet Sullivan signed the December 30 ruling in favor of Ringling's owner, Virginia-based Feld Entertainment Inc. (FEI) at the outset of a nine-year-old suit brought by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that culminated in a six-week trial in March.
The ASPCA, Born Free USA (Animal Protection Institute), Animal Welfare Institute, Fund for Animals along with former Ringling animal trainer Tom Rider had accused the circus of shackling, confining and striking elephants with bullhooks, which have a sharp steel hook at one end.
Sullivan dismissed the star witness's testimony, saying Rider lied about receiving payments from animal activists and about his personal attachment to the giant animals.
"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," Sullivan wrote in his ruling.
"Mr Rider's self-serving testimony at trial about his personal and emotional attachment to these elephants also is not credible because he did not begin to make complaints about how FEI treated its elephants until after he began accepting money from animal activists."
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Ringling Brothers Wins Court Case Over Elephant Abuse
Pretty heavy blow.