(Gannett News Service, Bill Clark)
WASHINGTON (AP) - An animal rights group will pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million to settle its part of a lawsuit stemming from claims the circus abused its elephants.
The circus company's owners announced the settlement with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Friday. The animal rights group was one of several that in 2000 sued the circus' owner, Feld Entertainment Inc., claiming elephants were abused. Courts later found that the animal rights activists had paid a former Ringling employee to bring the lawsuit and that the man didn't have the right to sue the circus.
The Vienna, Va.-based Feld Entertainment then sued the animal rights groups, accusing them of conspiracy to harm its business other illegal acts. Friday's settlement covers only the ASPCA.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)