Stop Circus Suffering

Animal Defenders International welcomes early day motion on circus animal welfare

ADI welcomes today’s Early Day Motion (EDM) on Circus Animal Welfare in the House of Commons.

Anne at Bobby Roberts Super Circus

Animal Defenders International (ADI), the campaigning organisation for animal protection, welcomes today’s Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons on Circus Animal Welfare, highlighting concern about the welfare of wild animals in circuses and in particular, the plight of Anne, the UK’s last remaining circus elephant.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI, said: “Anne‘s tragic story symbolises the plight of circus animals and the reason why the government needs to ban all wild animals in the Animal Welfare Bill, which we believe will be put forward in the Queen’s speech this autumn.”


“That this House is concerned about the welfare of wild animals in circuses; notes the large body of evidence collected by the Born Free Foundation, Animal Defenders International, RSPCA and others showing that a circus environment cannot provide for the needs of wild animals, including Anne the elephant; is appalled that Anne the elephant is still being moved around the country with Bobby Roberts Super circus even though she suffers from arthritis; asserts that it would be in her best interests to be retired from circus life; recognises that the proposed duty of care requirement cannot be met in a circus environment; and calls on the Government to introduce measures to end the use of wild animals in circuses in the forthcoming Animal Welfare Bill. “

Signed by: Norman Baker, Mr Eric Martlew, Miss Ann Widdecombe.

Anne – the UK’s last Circus elephant

  • 52-year old Anne is suffering from arthritis and is in pain. She continues to tour the UK with Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus.
  • Animal Defenders International (ADI) has monitored Anne since the mid-1990s. We have filmed and photographed her, and have taken detailed observations of her life in the circus.
  • Anne lives in a wholly unnatural environment, either chained by the legs or living in a small enclosure. When the circus moves from place to place, as it does most weeks, she spends unbearably long hours shut in her transporter – up to 19 hours at a time.
  • A metal hook on the end of a bar (an elephant hook, or ankus) is dug into Anne’s skin to make her comply with commands. ADI has filmed a circus hand hooking Anne with some considerable force.
  • In 2002 Anne was extremely ill and ADI persuaded Bobby Roberts to allow our veterinary surgeon to examine her. The vet’s report highlighted she was in very poor condition, lame, in pain, and suffering from arthritis which was likely to deteriorate.
  • There was no legal action that could be taken to protect Anne, such is the weakness of the law when it comes to circus animals. The legal position now is the same. Only by persuading Bobby Roberts to volunteer her for retirement can she be freed from the circus or legislating for this outcome.

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