Liz Tyson, Director, and Fiona Peacock, Campaigns Officer, of Captive Animals’ Protection Society, have kindly given permission to reprint their updated statement about Anne on our site:
We recognise that the situation Anne is in at the moment is absolutely unsuitable and therefore fully support efforts to remove her from Bobby Roberts Circus. We would wholeheartedly welcome Anne’s introduction to a true sanctuary but recognise that her health, her age, the financial implications and transport issues may render this respite impossible as there is no suitable refuge in the UK or Europe.
As such, whilst we are wholly opposed to the keeping of any animal in captivity, we recognise that, under these very specific circumstances, a safari park might offer her some opportunities that she currently does not have, such the ability to form part of a social group and a wider area in which to roam.
We would therefore welcome the move, albeit with extreme caution; not least because it is widely accepted that elephants in zoos suffer more than most animals as their complex needs simply cannot be met in captivity. In recognition of this fact, the majority of zoos are phasing out the keeping of elephants.
It is our understanding that Anne is being sent to Longleat Safari Park as a temporary measure while specialists are able to fully assess her health. We welcome the opportunity for Anne to be provided with specialist veterinary care and space to roam. Specialists will then decide whether Anne is healthy enough to endure the journey to the elephant sanctuary in the US, or whether it would be in her best interests to permanently rehome her in a UK safari park.
If Anne were to be sent to a safari park, we would insist that she is given the opportunity to live out her days away from the public gaze and, as such, should be provided with a true “retirement”. This should be adhered to, even if not in keeping with the normal practices of the zoo; the emphasis must be on making her last years as stress-free and fulfilled as possible.
In addition, Anne should be given the opportunity to receive independent and specialist veterinary care.
Ultimately, it is with sadness that we recognise that there is no perfect solution for Anne and that the only true solution for her would have been the prevention of her removal from the wild as an infant. As soon as she was taken away from her family and her natural environment, the likelihood of her returning to them became less and less each year. It is as a direct result of this action, some 54 years ago, that we have arrived at this situation where she can never return and must settle for the lesser of two evils.
The only effective way to protect animals in circuses is to ensure that they are never introduced into circuses in the first place. We maintain that a ban on the use of animals in circuses is the only option to avoid stories such as Anne’s being played out for years to come.
~ Please keep an eye on their site – www.captiveanimals.org – for more news on Anne as it happens.
All this would not have been possible without the incriminating footage of cruel treatment of Anne gathered by Animal Defenders International.
Please visit www.ad-international.org
The RSPCA – www.rspca.org – which recommends to government that no more elephants should be imported into this country, reports that within a month or so, the minister responsible will make a statement on the exploitation of wild animals in circuses.
And not before time… we are asked to contact our MPs to support a ban.