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Elephant Abuse VIDEO: Hidden Camera Shows Workers Beating Circus Animal

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« on: March 30, 2011, 12:14:57 am »

Elephant Abuse VIDEO: Hidden Camera Shows Workers Beating Circus Animal

This is truly despicable.

Animal Defenders International captured this footage of handlers at the UK's "Super Circus" repeatedly beating 58-year-old Annie, the oldest elephant in Europe. The video shows the elephant being hit with clubs and even a pitchfork.

At one point a handler even appears to stab Annie in the face with the tines.

*Scroll down to see the video for yourself.*

The video was secretly taken over the circus' winter break, according to the Daily Mail. During that time she appears to have been beaten 48 times.

Annie was chained to the spot by her legs. According to PETA, she suffers from arthritis, which is common among circus elephants.

The camera also caught footage of other animal abuses, including those against horses, camels, and miniature ponies, according to the Mail.

PETA has apparently tried to get the circus' owner, Bobby Roberts, to retire the aging elephant to a wildlife sanctuary, but he has never responded to their requests.

To see the abuse for yourself, watch the video below.


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"Man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity." - Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 12:19:26 am »

Sign the petition for Annie here:

Finally, please visit to see the good work they are doing there.
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"Man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity." - Ecclesiastes 3:19-20
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 12:21:23 am »

Let Anne go free: Writer who first revealed the elephant's suffering to the world begs for her release
Last updated at 8:19 AM, 28 Mar 2011

    * Anne's owners could now face private prosecution

Picking my way across the straw scattered thinly on the floor of the agricultural shed on Saturday, I found myself stepping around the piles of animal droppings dimly illuminated by the strip lighting high above.

This cold, dingy place, with no natural light, was the home - if you could call it that - of  58-year-old Anne, the last circus elephant in Britain.

When I approached her, she gazed down at me with deep brown eyes tinged both with curiosity and fear. I held my breath, for she could crush me in an instant should she want to.

And then I felt Anne’s trunk curling gently around my neck before it snaked across my face and ruffled my hair.

She flicked through my reporter’s notebook with the tip of her trunk and playfully tried to pluck the pen from my hand. I could hear the loud, hoarse breathing which makes her sound so very old and infirm.

I looked into her eyes once more and they were warm and gentle. But then her trainer, Bobby Roberts, silently approached me from behind.

Suddenly, Anne reeled away and returned to the chains — taken off for the day — with which she has been shackled to the ground virtually all of her life, and which allow her to move only a few paces in any direction.

Then she held them up with her trunk. It felt as if she was showing them to me and saying: ‘When you go, this is my life.’ At that point, Bobby Roberts told me to leave.

No wonder he didn’t want me to see any more of her pitiful condition, for this was the godforsaken place where she was secretly filmed being attacked repeatedly by her keepers at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus.

Over a three-week period, Anne was attacked by a keeper no less than 48 times. Some of the assaults were brutal in the extreme. She was stabbed in the face with a pitchfork and smashed around the head with metal and wooden staves.

At one point, the elderly and arthritic Asian elephant appeared to lose her footing and almost fell to her knees. On another occasion, she tried to flee but couldn’t because two of her legs were chained to the floor.

Despite this, Bobby Roberts Super Circus claims that Anne does not suffer in captivity. It describes her as being ‘one of the family’.

And the attacks on her? Well, it blames those on a rogue worker.

According to Mr Roberts, this rogue keeper had run away overnight after the video footage was revealed in the Daily Mail on Saturday. Someone more cynical than I might suggest that he’d been encouraged to leave to spare the circus further embarrassment.

‘What happened is disgusting,’ says Mr Roberts. ‘It was cruel. But why didn’t the animal welfare group come to me as soon as they saw Anne being beaten?

‘If they had told us, we could have done something about it.’

Perhaps if I had never heard of Anne before, I would have given his protestations some credence. But the truth is that I have been following Anne’s plight with growing alarm since I first met her 13 years ago.

I’d heard about her when she was highlighted in an animal welfare report, and decided to go and see her for myself.

More than once, I’ve slipped behind the Big Top and seen Anne chained to the ground and unable to move more than a few feet. Over the years, the poor creature has been growing visibly weaker and more arthritic.

Unsurprisingly, she shows signs of ‘stereotypies’ — endlessly repeating movements such as the swaying of the trunk or the nodding of the head. Experts consider such symptoms to be signs of immense stress, depression and even madness.

She lost her two companions, Beverly and Janie, in 2001 in circumstances that have never been satisfactorily explained by Mr Roberts. Their deaths followed the untimely demise of three other elephants in his care.

Shortly after the deaths of Beverly and Janie, Robert Sheret, a former keeper at the circus said that as long ago as the Eighties he had seen Bobby Roberts use whips, sticks and a walking  stick with nails to beat Anne.  Nor, as it happens, were these isolated incidents.

Video footage from several years ago showed another keeper hitting Anne with a steel-tipped elephant hook. Although such brutality is undoubtedly cruel, perhaps the most disturbing incidents are less graphic, but inflict far more suffering in the long run.

For example, until recently Anne was trucked around the country for up to 18 hours at a time and often chained down in a darkened tent for another ten.

Her food is totally inadequate, and she’s fed predominantly scraps of bread and hay. On a good day, she’ll receive apples and carrots.

The amount of water she’s given is unacceptable, too. On a typical day she’ll be allowed to drink from a barrel for about only 10-20 minutes.

From the day she was ripped from her family as a young elephant, hers has been a life of drudgery and suffering.

Anne was born in Sri Lanka in the 1950s, but was trapped by hunters in 1954. Though mystery surrounds the circumstances, the normal practice was to slaughter all the adult females in a herd and then to trap the calves as they tried to comfort their dying mothers.

From Sri Lanka, Anne was shipped to Bobby Roberts Super Circus in 1957. Since then, she has spent every circus season performing demeaning tricks, such as being forced to rear up on her hind legs or to act as a platform for clowns and dancers.

Out of season, she has spent most of her life shackled with enormous iron chains.

To experts in the field, the cruelty meted out to Anne is not unexpected. Elephants are wild creatures, and the only way to bend them to your will is to break their spirit through continuous brutal domination.

Professor Stephen Harris, a wild mammal expert from Bristol University, who gave evidence to a Department of the Environment Circus Working Group, says: ‘What has happened to Anne is disgusting, but not unexpected.

‘You can’t control big wild animals without the use of force, and that means regularly beating the living daylights out of them. It’s as simple as that. For this reason, and for many others, wild animals should not be allowed in circuses.’

Anne may only have a few years left to live, but that doesn’t mean she should not be liberated to live in an elephant sanctuary where she would have company of her own kind — for elephants are truly sociable animals.

But though Bobby Roberts was assured Anne would get the best veterinary care, and that she would only be moved with the full agreement of experts in the field, I was rebuffed.

My proposals were initially met with a positive response, but then Moira Roberts, Bobby’s wife, said: ‘The pining for us would kill her. We’re not prepared to threaten her life by moving her.’ I again tried to reassure her we would act only on the advice of Britain’s best vets, but I suspect that Anne’s welfare was not her main concern.

On Saturday, I gave Bobby Roberts Super Circus every opportunity to do the honourable thing by Anne, but all my attempts were rebuffed.

Animal Defenders International, the organisation which filmed her being abused, is now considering legal action to free Anne under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act. It is just possible that she can be made a ward of court and then be released into a sanctuary.

‘Anne has to be saved,’ says Jan Creamer, chief executive of Animal Defenders. ‘We’re happy to work with the Daily Mail to move her to an elephant sanctuary where she can retire and receive specialist care.’

The fate of Anne and every other animal in British circuses hangs in the balance. The 2006 Animal Welfare Act made provisions for banning animal acts in circuses, but the Labour Government never enacted its full provisions.

The Coalition Government is currently considering whether wild animals should be banned from circuses, or whether those circuses should be allowed to regulate themselves. Given the case of Anne, the answer must surely be no.

As for Anne, as I left her standing mournfully alone in her shed, I was filled with a powerful sense that this old girl must be saved from a fate which is simply too cruel for words.



by Claire Ellicott and Chris Greenwood

The owners of an elephant secretly filmed being subjected to appalling abuse could face a private prosecution.

An animal rights group yesterday said it would take Bobby and Moira Roberts to court under animal welfare laws over the treatment of Anne, Britain’s last circus elephant.

It came as a picture emerged of Nicolae Nitu, the Romanian groom accused of kicking, punching and stabbing Anne with a pitchfork. He fled his caravan after the Mail confronted the owners on Friday.

It is thought he was tipped off by someone at the circus.

Yesterday Mr Roberts, 68, insisted the responsibility for the attacks lies solely with a rogue employee, and said he would sack him. He agreed in principle to rehoming Anne, a 59-year-old Asian elephant, if the conditions were right. But he claimed none of the wildlife sanctuaries in Britain or Europe would be appropriate for her, and the U.S. was too far.

The owner also said Anne would ‘pine’ for him and his wife, who added: ‘It would break his heart to be parted from her.’

But Animal Defenders International (ADI) said it would pursue a criminal prosecution against Mr Roberts. It said it was cruel to keep her in a cramped metal compound with no natural light and shackled in chains, particularly as she has arthritis.

Jan Creamer, ADI’s chief executive, added: ‘We have a terrific network of sanctuary contacts throughout the world and are very experienced at animal rescue, rehoming and relocation. So we now appeal to Mr Roberts to hand Anne over to us.

‘We would need to assess her with our vet, consider her age, history and health, and then determine what will be the best outcome for her.’

The footage, captured over three-and-a-half weeks and passed to the Mail last week, shows a man hitting Anne, the oldest elephant in Europe, 48 times. At one point, he appears to strike her in the face with the pitchfork.

The hidden camera, planted by ADI because of fears for her welfare, also captured the abuse of other animals, including a camel, miniature ponies and horses at the Roberts’ winter quarters in Polebrook, Northamptonshire.

Mr Roberts claims Anne stopped performing ten years ago, but was wheeled out for photographs up to twice a day.

The Mail has been inundated with offers of support and money from well-wishers after Anne’s plight was revealed on Saturday, and Northamptonshire Police confirmed it was investigating, but said it was still ‘early days’.

An RSPCA spokesman said: ‘We oppose the use of all animals in circuses. While being transported, animals are exposed to human handling, noise, vibration, cage motion and confinement, all of which can cause considerable stress.’

Tim Phillips, ADI’s campaigns director, said: ‘The public wants to see a ban, so do Parliament and animal protection groups. A ban is the only way to put an end, once and for all, to this deplorable  violence and deprivation, and the Government must act now.’

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"Man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity." - Ecclesiastes 3:19-20
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