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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Anne the elephant's circus owners talk of horror at abuse by worker

In this exclusive interview, circus owners express their horror at a worker's abuse of an elderly elephant and reveal threats to their family

Moira and Bobby Roberts on their circus site in Greater Manchester. Photograph: Christopher Thomond Steven Morris The Observer, Sunday 10 April 2011 For circus impresario Bobby Roberts, the evenings are probably the worst. He wanders into the stables to say goodnight to the animals and there is an elephant-sized hole where Anne used to be. "It's very, very difficult. The animals are my life and Anne meant the world to me," says Bobby. His voice cracks and his wife, Moira, has to take over. "All his life last thing at night, after we're closed and after everything settles down, Bobby's always gone in the stables and checked the animals and said goodnight to them. It's heart-breaking for him now that Anne's not there any more." Anyone who occasionally flicks through a tabloid cannot have avoided the tale of Anne the elephant over the last few weeks. The hysteria began when the Daily Mail, which loves a cute creature saga, carried images obtained by the campaign group Animal Defenders International. They showed Anne, Britain's last circus elephant, being beaten, kicked and jabbed by a worker at the winter quarters of the Bobby Roberts Super Circus in Northamptonshire. There was an outcry from the Mail, other newspapers, animal charities and the public. The Roberts family expressed their anger and concern over what the worker had done to Anne, whom they thought of as a "family pet", not just a circus animal, but the pressure on them became so intense that they agreed to let the elephant be moved to a new home. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/10/anne-elephant-owners-interview

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