Racketeering Lawsuit Fingers HSUS


In a landmark RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) lawsuit certain to have far-reaching implications for the animal rights movement, Feld Entertainment and the Ringling Brothers circus sued the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), its lawyers, and several other animal rights groups last week. The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) unearthed the lawsuit in federal court records today. CCF is making the lawsuit available online at its newest website, HumaneWatch.org

“America’s farmers, ranchers, hunters, fishermen, research scientists, fashion designers, and restaurateurs have seen for decades how the animal rights movement can behave like a mobbed-up racket,” said CCF Director of Research David Martosko. “But it’s still shocking to see the evidence laid out on paper. In a treble-damage lawsuit like this, a jury could actually do the humane thing and finally put HSUS out of business completely.”

(Image: HumaneWatch.org)

In its February 16 lawsuit, Feld leveled bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and money laundering charges against HSUS and two of its corporate attorneys; three other animal rights groups; the Washington, DC law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal; and all three of that firm’s named partners.

On December 30, 2009, Federal Judge Emmitt Sullivan ruled that these defendants collaborated to pay more than $190,000 to Mr. Tom Rider, a former Feld employee who was an elephant “barn helper” for two years in the late 1990s, in exchange for his impeached testimony against Feld in an earlier lawsuit—testimony Judge Sullivan declared “not credible” and disregarded in its entirety.

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