Harrowing ADI video footage was shown in court on Monday 19th, November, as the trial began of circus owners Bobby and Moira Roberts at Northampton Crown Court.
After some delays, due to technical difficulties the Court got to see the footage secretly filmed by Animal Defenders International (ADI) at the circus winter quarters in January and February last year. The video showed Anne the elephant chained to the ground and being beaten and kicked by workers.
Opening the case, Helen Law, prosecuting, told the Court: “the footage shows a total lack of supervision of staff responsible for Anne the elephant.” The prosecution also told the Court that between 21 January and 15 February 2011, ADI filmed Anne constantly chained by two legs.
The ADI Special Investigations Department Manager was also cross-examined regarding the footage.
Mr and Mrs Roberts are being jointly charged with a series of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, to which they have pleaded not guilty:
- Causing the elephant to suffer unnecessarily, by requiring the elephant to be chained to the ground at all times, contrary to section 4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
- Failing to take reasonable steps to prevent their employee from causing unnecessary suffering to the elephant, by repeatedly beating it, contrary to section 4(2) of the same Act.
- Failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the needs of the elephant were met to the extent required by good practice, contrary to section 9 of the same Act.
This is a test case, the first trial of circus owners and their responsibilities under the ‘duty of care’ detailed in the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The trial continues tomorrow.