A CIRCUS set for the Great Yorkshire Showground has been cancelled, after police launched an investigation into claims of animal cruelty at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus.
The event had been due to take place at the Yorkshire Event Centre for four days next month, but was scrapped on Tuesday after footage emerged of a groom at the circus apparently abusing an elephant.
A spokesman for Yorkshire Agricultural Society, which runs the centre, said it had cancelled the booking “following allegations at the weekend regarding treatment of one of the circus elephants”.
Chief executive Nigel Pulling said: “In the light of the film footage we have contacted the organisers and said that we do not wish the circus to go ahead at the showground and a cheque with a full refund is being sent.
“With regard to circuses, we have had a ‘no animals in performances other than horses’ policy for at least 10 years and were horrified at what we saw.”
The elephant, Anne, was no longer a part of the main show, but appeared at the interval for photographs with spectators.
The Bobby Roberts Super Circus last performed at the showground in 1998.
A statement on the circus’s website said the Bobby Roberts family had viewed the footage now under investigation and “share the outrage at what appears to have taken place in their absence”.
“The film shows an employee hitting our elephant Anne with the back of a pitchfork in order to make her move to one side while her stabling was being cleaned out. This is not acceptable nor is it necessary,” they said.
Harrogate resident Jim Marshall said he had been “utterly sickened” by the footage and welcomed the cancellation of the event.