In February of 2009, the trial finally began
in a long-running elephant abuse lawsuit against the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Plaintiffs included animal protection groups and a former Ringling Bros. employee, who alleged that Ringling Bros. abuses their Asian elephants, in violation of the Endangered Species Act
. On December 30, 2009, the federal district court for the District of Columbia issued their opinion
, ruling for the circus because plaintiffs lacked standing.