[Ringling Barnum impresario Kenneth] Feld says the $9.3 million payment from the ASPCA represents less than half of what his company has had to spend defending itself against the "manufactured litigation" from the activists. But he seems likely to recover more. His company is continuing its litigation against the Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Animal Protection Institute United with Born Free USA, the former employee and the lawyers who prosecuted the bogus case.Well, not all circuses offer G-rated entertainment, and the enticing ticket price at the front door often conceals expensive popcorn and novelties on the midway. The elephant controversy is not likely to go away, and the Big Apple Circus and the Gamma Phi Circus manage to put on good shows without pachyderms (although the Big Apple could use a rubber mule to put up its Big Top).
"This goes way beyond economics," says Mr. Feld. He adds that the "level of harassment" that his elephant trainers undergo from activists is almost "unbearable" and that "the activists are trying to bring down an American institution." The longtime Ringling boss argues that he is the trustee of a tradition "older than baseball" that offers a vanishing commodity for American families: affordable G-rated entertainment.
That said, we enter 2013 with the performing pachyderms still on Big Bertha, and the elephant car for the Karlson Brothers Circus likely to make its show debut this summer.