Posted: 2 July 2012. Updated: 16 March 2013
Following a fifth hearing for legal arguments in June at Kettering Magistrates Court, District Judge Chinnery ruled that the trial of Bobby and Moira Roberts is to proceed in November. The charges relate to video recordings of Anne the elephant, taken by ADI at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus winter quarters last year.
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 (AWA).
2. Failing to take reasonable steps to prevent their employee from causing unnecessary suffering to the elephant, by repeatedly beating her, contrary to section 4(2) of AWA.
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 AWA.
ADI released the undercover investigation in 2011 showing Anne chained, and beaten by workers. Public outrage led to Anne being removed from the circus.
ADI bore the huge costs of the investigation and preparation of the legal case, ready for it to be taken forward by the Crown Prosecution Service.
This is the first trial of a circus under the new AWA. It will test whether the Actís intention, that owners be held responsible for the daily life of their animals, can be upheld.
The three previous circus cruelty convictions in the UK were also secured by ADI also, but under the previous legislation.