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Court case for Anne the elephant set for June 2012

‘Duty of care and responsibility of owners to be tested in landmark case’

Anne at Longleat

Today at a preliminary hearing at Corby Magistrates Court, Bobby and Moira Roberts pleaded not guilty to offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in relation to the mistreatment of “Anne”, who was the last remaining UK circus elephant.

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A two day trial has now been set, starting on the 18 June 2012 at Corby Magistrates Court, then the following day at Kettering Magistrates Court.

Animal Defenders International, whose detailed investigation into the welfare of Anne and other animals at the winter quarters of the Roberts’ circus in Peterborough earlier this year has led to the trial, were present today at this landmark case.

“The duty of care of owners under the Act will be tested”

Jan Creamer, ADI’s Chief Executive said:“We are pleased that, at long last this case will finally be heard and those ultimately responsible for the management of the business will now be scrutinized for their animal husbandry methods.

“This will be the first trial of a circus under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the case is extremely important, as it should clearly define that owners should take overall, ultimate responsibility for animals in their care, and will be an important test of whether the Act can protect animals in circuses.

“The legislation states that owners have a duty of care to protect their animals from harm and to provide a suitable environment, and even if members of staff are employed, the owners are required to take ultimate responsibility for the care of these animals.

“The duty of care of owners under the Act will be tested, and it will be interesting to see how this will be interpreted and enforced.”

Anne is a 58 year old female elephant brought from Sri Lanka to The Bobby Roberts Super Circus in the 1950s. Anne was subsequently transferred to a safari park with the owners’ consent.

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