Will Coggin, senior research analyst for the Center for Consumer Freedom, responded to the recent announcement that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other co-defendants will pay $15.75 million to settle a racketeering lawsuit brought by Feld Entertainment. This company is the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The activist animal rights group was involved in alleged illegal witness payments as part of a scheme to pursue malicious litigation against the circus.

“This historic case has exposed the despicable tactics of the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights fanatics, and the settlement sends a message they will be held accountable for their actions,” says Coggin. “Most troubling is that this settlement will be paid with donations intended to help animals.

“Americans should think twice before donating any money to HSUS,” he continues. “It’s likely not being spent the way its ads lead people to believe.”

According to The Republic in Columbus, Ind., the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals already had agreed separately to pay more than $9 million to settle. Further, it noted that Feld issued a statement saying the final settlement this week is "a vindication of its practices."

The case originally stemmed from a complaint filed under the Endangered Species Act, alleging misconduct by Feld toward its Asian elephants. A U.S. District Court ultimately ruled the case was "frivolous," "vexatious," and "groundless and unreasonable from its inception." This stunning settlement finally brings to a close litigation that's dragged on for 14 years.