Feld Settles Animal Welfare Case

Feld Entertainment, parent company to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, agreed Nov. 28 to pay a $270,000 fine to settle allegations lodged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture the circus violated the Animal Welfare Act.

Feld Entertainment said it doesn’t admit to any wrongdoing and considered it a cost of doing business in order to resolve its differences with the USDA.

Ringling Bros. also agreed to hire a compliance officer to ensure all employees be trained and follow the rules outlined in the AWA as part of the settlement.

“We look forward to working with the USDA in a cooperative and transparent manner that meets our shared goal of ensuring that our animals are healthy and receive the highest quality care,” said Kenneth Feld, company CEO.

Reports going back four years have accused circus employees of forcing elephants to work when they’re sick, unsanitary methods when feeding tigers and more.

The USDA said the penalty amount is the largest ever assessed against an animal exhibitor under the Animal Welfare Act.