Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI offers to rehome Annie the abused elephant

Posted: 27 March 2011

‘Let’s retire Annie, get her to sanctuary’

Having released shocking footage yesterday from behind the scenes at the winter quarters of Bobby Roberts Super Circus, which graphically showed violence and confinement of circus animals, Animal Defenders International (ADI) has offered to help rehome Annie to a safe retirement.

Jan Creamer, ADI’s Chief Executive said: “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 do the decent thing and hand Annie 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 Annie.

“We have rescued many animals including lions, tigers, chimpanzees, horses, snakes and primates from Europe, Africa and South America and got them to sanctuaries in the US, UK and Africa, so Annie will pose no problems whatsoever.

“Let us now give Annie the proper retirement that she now so richly deserves, where she will have space to be free and act like an elephant, as nature intended. Let us also remove the other animals who remain in the care of the other worker who was filmed kicking and punching them.”

Prior to rehoming, Annie would need to be assessed by ADI’s veterinary team, who would then decide which facility would be best for her and if Mr Roberts agrees to release her to their care, intend to contact suitable sanctuaries this week.

ADI are certain that they can bring her to a level of health where she can travel to her new home and the chosen sanctuary would be invited to come and assess her in advance.

ADI is still in discussions with its lawyers considering the potential for legal action for breaches under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, acutely aware that the offending worker left the premises on Friday night.

Jan said: “We’re asking Mr Roberts that as he knows the name of the worker he needs to help us see that justice is done. His wife Moira said yesterday that they wished that they’d had the opportunity to prosecute him, so we therefore implore the Roberts’ to do the right thing. Give us the name of the worker caught abusing her on camera, so that justice can then be served.”

ADI secured footage over a three and a half week period from a camera observing activity in a barn where the animals are kept when not touring, which showed a staggeringly high level of violence and serious animal husbandry flaws.

Incidents included Annie (Anne), an elderly, severely arthritic 57 year old elephant being hit with a metal pitchfork and kicked around the face and body 48 times over the period of observation by workers, who are also seen beating and spitting on a camel and beating miniature ponies and horses on numerous occasions.

The disturbing footage also shows Annie constantly chained for the entire period of filming by her front and arthritic back leg with only enough room to take one step forward or backwards. Her chains were only changed to different legs twice, ADI believes this will clearly cause her pain and discomfort. It was noted that the feeding regime was poor.

The condemning video evidence can be viewed at: and ADI are now pushing hard for a total ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

Government’s own public consultation in March 2010 found that an overwhelming 94.5% of the public want to see a ban on wild animals in circuses and over 170 MPs have now signed Early Day Motion 403 calling on the Government to ban wild animal acts. A recent parliamentary poll conducted by ADI found that 63% of MPs would like to see a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and only 14% disagreed.

ADI has now exposed the shocking abuse of animals in UK circuses from many undercover investigations over the last fifteen years. Only recently, in 2009, the beating of elephants at the Great British Circus was exposed and now in 2011 Bobby Roberts Super Circus shows that this is a way of life at the circus. A clear pattern has been proven and this time the government needs to act.

Tim Phillips, ADI’s Campaigns Director said: “The public wants to see a ban, Parliament wants a ban, animal protection groups want a ban. A ban is the only way to put an end, once and for all, to this deplorable violence and deprivation, and government must act now.”

ADI has received an overwhelming response from the public regarding Annie’s plight and the fantastic media attention has helped to keep this important animal protection and welfare issue firmly in the spotlight at a key time as Government considers the use of wild animals in circuses.


Media Contact:
Phil Buckley, Media Relations Director, Animal Defenders International, 07716 018250, 0207 630 3344,

Filming took place between 21 January 2011 and 15 February 2011.

ADI has been concerned about the plight of Annie for a number of years, including flying a vet to her when she became desperately ill. The footage shows that the senseless beatings by her keepers are punctuated by tirades of abuse, and their resentment of her is abundantly clear. She is desolate, isolated, severely restricted and alone with her day punctuated by random beatings with a pitchfork by her keepers or kicks from her owner who claims to cherish her.

Dods Monitoring polled 100 MPs from Tuesday 4th January – Friday 28th January via online and paper polling. The question asked was: “The Government should ban the use of wild animals in circuses rather than let the industry self-regulate their welfare.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? The poll found that 63% of MPs Agreed or Strongly Agreed with this statement. Of the 100 MPs who were polled on this issue 14% Disagreed or Strongly Disagreed and 6% did not respond.

ADI is leading the campaign to end the suffering of animals in entertainment and currently has major campaigns running in Europe, South America, and now in the USA. The organisation has just rescued a record breaking 25 circus lions from Bolivia to the US, having conducted undercover investigations which helped close down the circus industry in the country for good.

National measures to prohibit or limit the use of animals in circuses have already been adopted in Bolivia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, Singapore, Costa Rica, India and Israel and similar laws are being discussed in Brazil, Chile, Norway, Peru and Greece.

Photographs and video are available from the various ADI investigations.

Animal Defenders International (ADI)
With offices in London, Los Angeles, and Bogota Animal Defenders International (ADI) is a major international campaigning group, lobbying to protect animals on issues such as animals in entertainment and their use in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI involves itself in international animal rescues as well as educational work on animals, conservation and environment. Founded in 1990, ADI has become a major force for animal protection and has succeeded through its undercover investigations in securing legal protection for animals. ADI opposes violence or intimidation whether directed at humans or other animals.


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