November 2011

OK, this has been one of our tougher years…..

Now finalizing work on the Anne case. Many will recall our undercover investigation of the winter quarters of Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus and the footage of Anne the elephant. After months of analysis of recordings, preparation of evidence, expert witness testimony and preparation of the case with our lawyers, we laid the file before magistrates. Talks with the Crown Prosecution Service finally secured their agreement to take the case. The initial hearing is 1st December.

Although the case arouses strong feelings, we’re urging everyone to refrain from demonstrations outside the court or any other action that might disrupt the trial. That will not bring justice to Anne – allowing the courts to administer justice is what Anne and other animals need you to do now.

This is an important case. It is the UK’s first prosecution of a circus under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and only the second circus prosecution in UK judicial history. Due to the nature of the business there are notorious difficulties in gathering evidence in travelling circuses. The previous prosecution of a circus in the UK, under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 (replaced by the AWA) also resulted from an investigation and private prosecution by ADI, which was later taken forward by the CPS. That case resulted in the convictions for cruelty of the directors of Mary Chipperfield Promotions and their elephant keeper.

The week before last, we went to Washington with the lovely Jorja Fox (Sara Sidle in CSI) and venerable Bob Barker (award-winning Price is Right U.S. TV star) – both great champions of animals and we’re proud to have them as ADI Ambassadors. Together with the wonderful Congressman Jim Moran, they launched our new bill, HR3329, Traveling Exotic Animals Protection Act about the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.

And just a few days earlier, the U.S. Central District Court of California in Los Angeles reviewed the file for the case against Have Trunk Will Travel for their misleading statements about the training of their elephants – Tai was used in ‘Water for Elephants’ and Rosie was used in ‘Zookeeper’. We await progress on this one.

Meanwhile back in the UK, the battle continues over the Coalition Government’s proposals to regulate animal circuses – this is their answer to the unanimous votes of the Backbench MPs in Parliament, who want to see a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. So we’ve put together a special report outlining exactly why licensing and inspection regimes for travelling animal circuses don’t work.

The UK Government has also been gathering evidence in their public consultation for the new legislation on animal experiments.  This will draw the provisions of the new EU Directive into UK law: We submitted nearly 90 pages of technical information on animal use and replacements and will be providing MPs with technical briefings on all the key issues.

We got the Peru circus animal ban this summer, following the Bolivia ban.

And just last week, Colombia’s Chamber of Deputies voted through the first stage of a new bill.

Finally, for anyone who missed the landing of the Lion Ark in February, read about it here.