To the editor:
Wednesday’s letter from Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, attacking Feld Entertainment (owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey) was inaccurate and misleading.
As Feld Entertainment has pointed out before, the Humane Society of the United States was directly involved in alleged racketeering and other wrongful conduct underlying Feld’s pending federal RICO case against the nonprofit and others. The Humane Society controlled the Fund for Animals, an original plaintiff in the manufactured Endangered Species Act case, through a merger that automatically made the Humane Society a “party.”
The Humane Society of the United States also controlled the case through two of its in-house lawyers, who served as counsel of record for all of the other co-plaintiffs. These two people had worked for the law firm that paid a witness and, as Humane Society employees, participated in the strategic decisions in the case. One of the payments to that star witness was even made with a check signed by Mr. Pacelle himself, which sorely undermines his “non-party” claim.
Mr. Pacelle also neglects to mention that the court in the RICO case has already denied his organization’s motion to dismiss, finding that Feld Entertainment has adequately alleged that the Humane Society of the United States participated in the affairs of the racketeering enterprise and denying the nonprofit’s motion for reconsideration as well.
Mr. Pacelle further conveniently fails to note that the same court dismissed Tom Rider’s elephant mistreatment claims against Ringling Bros. “with prejudice,” which is no different than a decision against him on “the merits.” The Fund for Animals — the Humane Society’s surrogate in the original case — voluntarily abandoned any claim for relief. If its case were so powerful, as Mr. Pacelle now claims, why did it quit before the judge even ruled?
Mr. Pacelle’s time would be better spent learning the facts of his own lawsuits than by attacking other nonprofit groups and The Greatest Show On Earth.
The writer is vice president of corporate communications for Feld Entertainment.