Owners Charged With Animal Cruelty

10 November 2011, 11:33 | Updated: 10 November 2011, 11:44

The owners of an elderly circus elephant - filmed apparently being hit with a pitchfork at a Northamptonshire farn - have been charged with causing unnecessary suffering.

The footage of Anne the Elephant - filmed at Polebrook, Northants - sparked a big debate about the use of animals in circuses when it came out in March 2011.

Bobby and Moira Roberts from The Bobby Roberts Super Circus are due in court in Corby on Wednesday 16 November 2011.  They are accused of keeping 58 year old Anne chained to the ground at all times.  They are also accused of failing to stop an employee regularly beating Anne.

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service 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.''

They were being prosecuted by the charity Animal Defenders International, after their undercover investigation into alleged abuse at the farm at Polebrook.  This has now been taken over by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Anne is now living at the Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, seeing out her days in a 13-acre paddock, with her owners' consent.

Jan Creamer, ADI's chief executive, said "We are delighted that the CPS are taking on this prosecution and will assist them as necessary."