In the Media

Circus elephant owners charged with causing animal to suffer

PUBLISHED November 10, 2011

CPS takes up case of cruelty against Anne, a 58-year-old Sri Lankan pachyderm, after private action by animal rights group The circus owners of Anne the elephant are being charged with causing the 58-year-old animal unnecessary suffering. The prosecution of Bobby and Moira Roberts, started as a private action by the welfare organisation Animal Defenders International (ADI), has now been taken up the Crown Prosecution Service. The legal action followed "an investigation into Anne's welfare at the Roberts' circus in Peterborough during the period of 21 January to 15 February 2011", a CPS statement said. "Given the public concern over the case, the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has now agreed that the CPS take over and continue the legal proceedings against the Roberts." The couple are jointly charged with three offences. It is alleged that they caused the elephant "to suffer unnecessarily" by chaining it to the ground at all times. They are also charged with "failing to take reasonable steps to prevent their employee from causing unnecessary suffering to the elephant, by repeatedly beating it" and failing to ensure that the "needs of the elephant were met". All three are offences are under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The Roberts swill appear at Corby magistrates court on 16 November. "Anne is a 58-year-old female elephant brought from Sri Lanka to the Bobby Roberts Super Circus in the 1950s," the CPS statement added. "Anne was subsequently transferred to Longleat safari park with the owners' consent." Anne, who is said to be arthritic, now lives in a 5.3-hectare (13-acre) paddock at the Wiltshire wildlife centre. Jan Creamer, ADI's chief executive, said: "We are delighted that the CPS are taking on this prosecution and will assist them as necessary." Animal welfare Animals UK criminal justice Crime Owen Bowcott © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds