Judge Sides With Circus in Elephant Cruelty Case

Judge says plaintiff wasn't credible
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2009 9:16 AM CST
Judge Sides With Circus in Elephant Cruelty Case
Elephants of Ringling Brothers Circus are chained immediately after arriving at an arena.   (AP Photo/Animal Protection Agency, Bradley Stookey, File)

A judge threw out an elephant abuse lawsuit against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, saying the plaintiff, former Ringling employee Tom Rider, hadn’t demonstrated a close enough attachment to the animals. Rider and the Animal Protection Institute had argued that circus practices like using bull hooks on elephants or chaining them for prolonged periods of times constituted violations of the Endangered Species Act.

But the judge said Rider hadn’t shown that, and had questionable credibility, given the tens of thousands of dollars API and other animal rights groups have given him over the years, reports the Washington Post. “The court finds that Mr. Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not credible, and therefore affords no weight to his testimony,” he wrote. (More animal rights stories.)

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