Ringling circus settles USDA charges on animal care

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 29, 2011 10:58 AM
Ringling circus settles USDA charges on animal care

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has agreed to pay a $270,000 fine to settle charges it violated federal animal welfare laws.

Feld Entertainment Inc., of Vienna, Virginia, did not admit wrongdoing or violating U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations in settling the dispute over handling of performing animals, it said in a Monday statement

"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," Kenneth Feld, chief executive of Feld Entertainment, said in the statement.

A 2008 USDA inspection reported that wheelbarrows used to carry meat to tigers were also used to transport waste.

USDA inspections online included reports of worn pens and food areas for animals, improper fencing and failure to control elephants.

The allegations followed complaints from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals about abuse of elephants and tigers at the circus, including physical punishment.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jerry Norton)