ADI investigation brings circus owners to court
Circus owners Bobby and Moira Roberts are on trial in the U.K.
Circus owners Bobby and Moira Roberts are on trial in the U.K. on charges of:
- causing Anne the elephant unnecessary suffering due to chaining her to the ground at all times;
- failing to take reasonable steps to prevent their employee from causing unnecessary suffering to Anne by repeatedly beating her;
- failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that Anne’s needs were met.
Pictured above: Moira and Bobby Roberts arrive at court (© Press Association).
The charges are denied. An ADI undercover investigation captured video of Anne chained inside the Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus winter quarters, being beaten by workers. Anne had entered the barn at the end of the circus season in November 2010 and would normally have left the following spring. ADI’s 24hrs/day footage amounts to 550 hours and was taken over a three and a half week period in January and February 2011. The release of the footage cause public outrage and led to Anne being removed from the circus.
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In order to get justice for Anne, ADI bore the huge costs of the investigation and preparing the legal case which has now been taken over by the U.K.’s Crown Prosecution Service. This will be the first trial of a circus under the new U.K. Animal Welfare Act 2006 and will test whether the intention of the Act, that owners should be held responsible for what happens to their animals, can be enforced. The only other circus convictions in the U.K. (Mary Chipperfield, Roger Cawley and Steven Gills) were also brought by ADI, but under previous legislation.
Let’s hope that this is the last of such cases.
Britain to ban wild animal acts… eventually
In an incredibly cynical move, in March the British Government promised to ban wild animal circuses in the media, while actually introducing a licensing system. This would delay a ban indefinitely, and probably permanently, due to the cost of dismantling an expensive “interim” inspection and licensing regime.
The political sleight of hand has been reported so widely that many now think that wild animals have been banned in Britain! Even some animal protection groups initially welcomed the news. Despite 63% of Members of Parliament supporting a ban and massive public opposition to licensing (94.5% want a ban), the Government has introduced just that, and circuses could get as few as one inspection a year!
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