Stop Circus Suffering

First court appearance for circus bosses charged over cruelty to Anne the elephant

The trial of Bobby and Moira Roberts

Anne at Longleat

In a landmark case, the trial of Bobby and Moira Roberts will begin tomorrow the 1st December at Corby Magistrates Court for offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in relation to the mistreatment of “Anne”, who was the last remaining UK circus elephant.

This preliminary hearing follows the announcement earlier this month by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that it had agreed to take on the prosecution from the animal protection organisation ADI, who had carried out a detailed investigation into the welfare of Anne and other animals at the winter quarters of the Roberts’ circus in Peterborough from 21st January to 15th February 2011.

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Given the public concern over the case, the Director of Public Prosecutions agreed that the CPS take over and continue the legal proceedings against the Roberts.

’An important test’

Jan Creamer, ADI’s Chief Executive said: “We were pleased when the CPS agreed to take over the case, and feel satisfied that at long last 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 will be an important test of whether the Act can protect animals in circuses, and more broadly make owners of animals in commercial establishments responsible for what happens to their animals.

“Ultimately, ‘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.”

It is notoriously difficult to gather and process evidence of cruelty and suffering in circuses, due to the nature of the business and Animal Defenders International hopes to see this landmark case succeed.

Investigations and campaigns will continue

ADI is fully committed to the exposure of suffering in circuses and we will never stop the investigations and the campaigns until all animals are free of circuses.

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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