Animal groups agree to pay nearly $16M to Ringling

    The parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus says it has received a nearly $16 million settlement from the Humane Society of the United States and other animal-rights groups.

    The settlement ends a decade-old lawsuit in which multiple animal-rights groups alleged the circus mistreated its elephants. In 2012, a judge said the complaint was frivolous and forced the circus’ owner, Vienna, Virginia-based Feld Entertainment, to spend millions in legal fees.

    The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had already agreed separately to pay more than $9 million to settle.

    Feld issued a statement saying Thursday’s final settlement is a vindication of its practices.

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    The Humane Society says it settled because it didn’t believe the court would address its core claims regarding elephant abuse.

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