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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
No big tent for elderly elephant
Anne the elephant (picture from Captive Animals Protection Society)
Anne no longer performs tricks in the circus
The last touring elephant in Britain will not enter the big tent in Ayrshire after animal campaigners raised objections.

Anne, who is aged 54 and suffers from arthritis, is believed to be one of the oldest elephants in Europe.

East Ayrshire Council agreed with the Bobby Roberts Super Circus that Anne would not be used for commercial purposes during the run in Kilmarnock.

Animal rights campaigners welcomed the decision.

At a meeting on Monday, the council's licensing panel decided, with the agreement of Mr and Mrs Roberts, that the elephant would not take part in any public performance or any other commercial venture.

Picture taken

Ross Minett of Advocates for Animals told the BBC Scotland news website that Anne no longer performed tricks in the circus.

However, audience members were able to have their picture taken with her during the interval.

"We are very pleased that East Ayrshire Council took our concerns seriously and has put restrictions on the use of Anne the elephant," said Mr Minett.

If Anne was taken away from her familiar surroundings, and the company of those she loves, she would quite simply pine away and die
Bobby Roberts

"The conditions the council has imposed regarding how the circus can use Anne gives a clear message that traipsing an old and arthritic elephant around the country and using her for public entertainment is completely inappropriate."

Advocates for Animals plans to ask the council to consider banning all animal circuses from its land.

The campaign group will also be asking Dumfries and Galloway to stop Anne being used for commercial purposes when the circus travels on to Dumfries.

Bobby Roberts Super Circus could not be reached for comment.

However, in a statement on its website Mr Roberts said he was "surprised and saddened" by a campaign to "retire" Anne.

'Entirely fictional'

He said: "Anne is a member of our family and we have grown up together.

"Our standards of animal husbandry are excellent, Anne gets the best possible veterinary care and is lovingly looked after 24/7."

He said claims that Anne was still performing were "entirely fictional", adding: "Anne is retired from the circus ring and has been for some time.

"Our opinion is that if Anne was taken away from her familiar surroundings, and the company of those she loves, she would quite simply pine away and die.

"It would be a most unkind separation which would be far more detrimental to her wellbeing than continuing the way of life which she has known for many, many years."


SEE ALSO
Circus ban call for wild animals
12 Mar 06 |  Scotland

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