Owners of Anne, a 58-year-old circus elephant will be prosecuted for causing “unnecessary suffering” to the animal. The case triggered outrage earlier this year when Animal Defenders International released a video showing the elephant being beaten and jabbed with a pitchfork.
Anne’s story began on January 21, 2011 when ADI conducted a three-week investigation into the elephant’s well-being. During that time they filmed an employee with The Bobby Roberts Super Circus beating, kicking and stabbing the elephant with a pitchfork 48 times.
The public was shocked over the footage and ADI was determined to get Anne to safety and see that justice was served. The organization had campaigned many times to have Anne released. At 58, the Asian elephant was the oldest working circus animal in Europe.
The investigation led to Anne’s freedom. She now lives happily at the Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, England.
ADI continued to pursue justice for Anne with a private legal suit against circus owners’ Bobby and Moira Roberts.
Last week the Crown Prosecution Service agreed the government would take over the case and prosecute Mr. and Mrs. Roberts. The Director of Public Prosecutions said they were picking up the case because of the “public concern.”
Jan Creamer, ADI’s Chief Executive said, “We are delighted that the CPS are taking on this prosecution and will assist them as necessary.”
Mr and Mrs Roberts are jointly charged with the following:
- 1. 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.
- 2. 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
- 3. 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.
Anne was originally brought from Sri Lanka to The Bobby Roberts Super Circus in the 1950s. The employee who abused and beat her fled to his home country in Eastern Europe.
You can learn more about the case and ADI’s Special Investigation Department by clicking here.
Thanks to all the Care2 members who signed the petition and helped make this happen!
Photo Courtesy of Animal Defenders International