Losing the animal rights war

 So, FEI won, but lost. Ultimately, the groups prosecuted under RICO laws got what they wanted…That’s worth pondering as the beef industry and peers in other livestock sectors continue figuring out how to address groundless charges brought against them by the same circle of activists.

A Handbook for Ranch Managers “Animal Rights” is only one battle in the much larger Culture War. — jtl, 419

by via Beef Magazine

There will no longer be an elephant act in a Ringling Bros. circus.

Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (RBBB) led its iconic Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual  elephants into a public performance of its traveling circus for the last time May 1. It ends a chapter in that entertainment organization’s history that started when P.T. Barnum purchased and transported Jumbo—perhaps the most famous elephant in history—to North America in the late 1800s.

Feld Entertainment, Inc. (FEI), owned by the Feld family, owns RBBB. Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewTheir decision to retire their performing elephants is a sobering lesson in winning a hard-fought battle at the expense of a war. It also underscores how the tip of the populist tail can fell societal institutions, in no meager part, via felony crime and skullduggery.

You likely remember at least parts of the legal story that ran for more than a decade.

Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits Combat Shooter's Handbook  The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Fund for Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute and others filed suit in July of 2000, alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act. Basically, they wanted to prohibit circuses from entertaining with elephants, so they alleged the abuse of them.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)In July the following year, the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., dismissed the suit. On appeal, the case was reinstated in 2003. At that time, the appeals court ruled that if Tom Rider—one of the original plaintiffs, a former RBBB employee—could prove that he was “aesthetically injured” by Ringling Bros.’ treatment of the elephants, the case could proceed.

Instead of proving such injury, by the end of 2009, another federal court dismissed the case once again, finding, “…that Mr. Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not credible, and therefore [this court] affords no weight to his testimony regarding the matters discussed herein, i.e., the allegations related to his standing to sue.”

The court discovered that plaintiff organizations, their lawyers and an entity controlled by those lawyers—Wildlife Advocacy Project—paid Rider at least $190,000 over the course of eight years—his sole source of income.

The court also found “…that ensuring Mr. Rider’s continued participation as a plaintiff was a motivating factor behind the payments to him, and that these payments were a motivating factor for his continued involvement in the case.”

The court also ruled against the other plaintiffs, saying they had no standing to sue under Article III of the United States Constitution.

Those plaintiffs appealed, of course.

A federal appeals court unanimously affirmed the dismissal of the case in October of 2011.

In its ruling, a three-judge circuit court panel affirmed the trial court’s determination that Rider was, “essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not credible…it is undisputed that between March 2000 and December 2008, (lead plaintiff) Rider received at least $190,000 from the organizational plaintiffs in this lawsuit, as well as from an organization run by plaintiffs’ attorneys.”

The plaintiffs sought a re-hearing, which was denied in January of 2012.

By that point in time, John Simpson, lead counsel for Feld Entertainment, noted, “Our client was forced to spend more than $20 million to defend this manufactured case, which was dismissed on the same grounds nearly eleven years ago in 2001.”

As might be imagined, FEI sought its own day in court, filing racketeering and conspiracy claims against the groups. We’re talking RICO—the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act—the one established in 1970 as part of the Organized Crime Control Act to go after the Mafia.

Specifically, FEI filed a federal lawsuit against ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal rights activists and their lawyers for racketeering violations, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and the Virginia Conspiracy Act. In July of 2012, the court upheld its right to proceed with the lawsuit.

In December 2012, the ASPCA settled its share of the lawsuits by paying Feld Entertainment $9.3 million.

In May of 2014, HSUS, along with their co-defendants, paid Feld Entertainment $15.75 million to settle the case.

In March last year, the Feld family announced plans to remove elephants from their traveling circuses and relocate them to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida.

So, FEI won, but lost. Ultimately, the groups prosecuted under RICO laws got what they wanted.

That’s worth pondering as the beef industry and peers in other livestock sectors continue figuring out how to address groundless charges brought against them by the same circle of activists.

So long, Jumbo.

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

You might also be interested in the supplement to this Handbook: Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual.

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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1 Response to Losing the animal rights war

  1. futuret says:




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