Anne the elephant 'abuse' trial: Court shown footage

Anne the elephant
Image caption Anne was apparently filmed being beaten

Footage of a circus elephant being beaten and kicked has been shown at the trial of a couple accused of cruelty.

Bobby and Moira Roberts kept 58-year-old Anne constantly chained to the ground at a circus, Northampton Crown Court heard.

The couple from Oundle deny causing unnecessary suffering and failing to prevent an employee from repeatedly beating Anne.

They also deny failing to ensure the elephant's needs were met.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Helen Law played video footage - filmed by Animal Defenders International (ADI) - which showed the animal being kicked and hit with a pitchfork by staff.

The legs of the animal, who the prosecution allege was not receiving medication for its arthritis, could also be seen to buckle several times in the footage filmed covertly by the animal welfare organisation.

The video, filmed between 21 January and 15 February last year, showed the Asian elephant chained by one foot and one hind leg in a barn on Bobby Roberts Super Circus in Polebrook.

'Authorised casual violence'

It also showed Bobby Roberts supervising the chains being swapped from opposing leg to opposing leg by the groom, and him kicking the elephant's trunk.

Footage filmed 14 days later showed the groom kicking the animal's trunk.

The elephant can be seen to be kicked in the side and struck with a pitchfork several times during the footage.

She can also be seen to be kicked in the trunk on a number of occasions.

"The footage shows a near-on absolute lack of supervision from Bobby Roberts," Ms Law told the court.

"Bobby Roberts was quite happy to authorise casual violence towards the elephant."

She alleged the groom was trained to hit the animal and keep Anne chained to the ground.

Bobby Roberts said the members of staff were adequately trained, she added.

Mr Roberts said the groom did not follow his orders and he was unable to supervise him due to health problems which stopped him working in the barn as much, Ms Law said.

The trial continues.

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