May 23 2014 07:00 AM

HSUS tactics exposed as it loses a long lawsuit against circus.

It was obvious who the clown was in this federal court case: an evil one whose underhanded methods were exposed for the world to see.

Last week in a federal District Court in Washington, D.C., HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) and other animal activist groups chose to settle a lawsuit claiming they had violated federal racketeering laws. A $15.75 million settlement was paid to Feld Entertainment, owner of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, in a case dating back to 2000 over alleged mistreatment of its elephants.

The abuse allegations were made by a former Ringling Bros. barn worker, whom Judge Emmet Sullivan eventually ruled had been secretly paid at least $190,000 by the groups to file the charges and who also lied to the court.

The case was dismissed in 2009 and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was ordered to pay $9.3 million to Feld Entertainment - which then sued HSUS and the animal rights groups under federal racketeering statutes to recover its legal costs. It claimed they had used bribery, witness payments and other illegal practices in the earlier case.

After last week's ruling, HSUS went into an immediate public relations spin control that previous and future donors will hopefully see through as being more examples of its "say anything to keep the dollars coming in" business model.

One of these was a statement by HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle that the settlement was made because the case had reached a point that it "could bring no good outcome for elephants."

An editorial in the Orange County (Calif.) Register called that statement "less than honest" and said a more likely reason was "the very distinct possibility that they would be ordered to pay treble (triple) damages."

Pacelle also told International Business Times, "I don't think this is anything more than a small bump in the road in the public relations fight over the systematic mistreatment of animals."

But we hope it turns out to be an impossibly high mountain for HSUS and other animal rights groups, and that donors finally open their eyes to their deceptive agenda and dirty methods - and close their wallets.

Dennis blog footer
The author has served large Western dairy readers for the past 37 years and manages Hoard's WEST, a publication written specifically for Western herds. He is a graduate of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, majored in journalism and is known as a Western dairying specialist.