Bobby Roberts: The animals just love to work

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The Independent Online

I have spent my entire life working with elephants all over the world and everyone rates me one of the best. I have been working with these animals since I was five. People who say this is cruel don't know what they are talking about.

The elephants love it. The longer you are with them, the more they get to know you. It is like having a dog; you have them for life. The animals love to work: when they hear the music they just want to get out there. I have had more trouble with people than I have with elephants. People say, "Are they dangerous?", but there are more people hurt on the roads than by animals.

The audience loves them. Ninety per cent of people who come to circuses do so to see the animals. It is only a real traditional circus when there are animals. You train an elephant the same as you train a dog, a horse or even a person. Horses like to stand on two legs naturally and so do elephants. It is a natural thing for them to do. When you shout they come to you; they know exactly what you are saying. You do get opposition but they just don't realise. I had 15 elephants at one time. There are a few Britons working with elephants abroad, quite a lot in Ireland.

My last elephant has been retired for eight years. My granddaughter does most of it now. Obviously, I hope to see it carrying on for the next generation.

The writer is an elephant trainer