A CIRCUS boss has hit out after animal rights campaigners urged Sheffield families to boycott the show because it uses an elderly elephant.
The Bobby Roberts touring circus has sparked controversy across the UK over the use of Anne - a 54-year-old Indian elephant riddled with arthritis.
Although Anne doesn’t perform in the show, which leaves Sheffield on Monday, she is transported from town to town each week, so visitors can pay 5 to have their photograph taken with her.
Craig Redmond, campaign manager for the Captive Animals’ Protection Society, urged people to boycott the show, being staged at the Don Valley Bowl, and added: “CAPS is not opposed to circuses, only the use of animals.
“We would encourage people to avoid those circuses that still use animals and instead visit one of the many excellent circuses that rely on only human skills.
“In the 21st century there can be no excuse for continuing to allow the treatment of animals in this way.”
But Moira Roberts, Bobby’s wife, claims Anne is being given the best possible care and added that the circus has the full support of Government department Defra.
She said: “We have a statement from Defra saying that Anne is being looked after very well. I can categorically state that the best place for Anne is with us. “She has been with the circus for 50 years and we have always loved and cared for her.
“She gets plenty of exercise and all the food she needs. We do charge people to have photographs with her but this only goes a small way towards paying for her upkeep.
“I think it is great that children can have their photos taken with a fully grown Indian elephant - where else in the country can you get this?
“We have nothing to hide and if the people of Sheffield really had a problem with us they would vote with their feet - but all our shows have been popular and well attended.”