A CIRCUS elephant at the centre of an abuse scandal will move to a new home imminently, the Northamptonshire circus owners have revealed.
Arthritic 57-year-old elephant Annie is set to leave her home at Bobby Roberts Super Circus owners Bobby and Moira Roberts, aged 72 and 68 respectively, who have always maintained they did not know the elephant was being beaten, have said.
Mrs Roberts made the announcement following increasing pressure to re-home Annie following the release of covert footage by pressure group Animal Defenders International (ADI) showing the Asian elephant being beaten 48 times.
She said: “It has always been our plan to move Annie to a new home within the next two years – it will now be sooner rather than later. It will be a place of our choice and it will not be a zoo, reports she is going to Whipsnade are not true.
“We are making the final arrangements and should be in a position to say where tomorrow. She is not fit to travel so will not be going abroad.”
Both Northamptonshire Police and the RSPCA have been investigating allegations of abuse at the circus and it was reported Whipsnade had sent a veterinary expert to examine the elephant, with the possibility of providing a home for her.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “We visited Annie yesterday with a vet to examine her and talk to her owners about the possibility of living out her last days in a sanctuary or safari park. In the meantime we will be monitoring Annie to ensure her safety and wellbeing.
“The Government is due to make an announcement in the next month or so and we hope this evidence will show that only a ban on wild animals can prevent such acts from happening again.”
Northampton North MP Michael Ellis also voiced concern about Annie. He said: “I was shocked and disgusted when I saw the despicable footage of Annie being attacked. It is wicked and utterly sickening that this beautiful animal has been treated in this way. I have always had concerns about animals being in circuses and over the last year have received in the region of 30 letters on the subject.”
More than 4,000 people signed a petition calling for Annie to be re-homed.