Washington, DC—Today, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and numerous other parties reached a settlement with Feld Entertainment, Inc. (Feld) ending over a decade of litigation. The settlement resolves a request by Feld for attorneys’ fees and costs stemming from an action brought by AWI and others over the alleged abuse of Asian elephants in Feld’s circus and resolves a related action brought by Feld. AWI believes that Feld’s request for attorneys’ fees and costs, and the related action brought by Feld, are without merit and that AWI ultimately would have prevailed in both actions. However, the projected attorneys’ fees and other costs to defend both actions would have greatly exceeded what was necessary for AWI to pay to reach a settlement with Feld. As part of the settlement, AWI does not admit any liability or wrongdoing.
“Once the trial and appellate courts determined that no decision would be reached on the merits of the evidence concerning the alleged abuse of Asian elephants in Feld’s circus, the legal proceedings stopped being about the protection of elephants. Nonetheless, as a result of all the facts discovered and presented as evidence at trial, Feld’s treatment of Asian elephants has finally been exposed for the public to see. With this settlement, we are better able to move forward with our mission to alleviate the suffering and harm inflicted by people on animals everywhere, including those animals in the entertainment industry,” stated AWI’s President, Cathy Liss.