The circus was in town at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center this past Friday and a handful of animal abuse protesters were out in force.

The grand-daddy of them all, The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus zip up their big top for the final time on May 7 in Providence, Rhode Island but other smaller circuses are still touring the country. According to the Putnam Daily Voice, one of those smaller outfits called The Garden Bros. Circus came to Poughkeepsie this past Friday along with a dozen protesters who showed up with signs protesting the use of animals that tour with the circus.

 

Ringling Brothers stopped using elephants as part of their shows in the spring of 2016 due to the concerted efforts of animal activists and PETA. The US Department of Agriculture was also a factor for the removal of elephants in the Garden Bros.Circus after the USDA cited them for "forcibly striking an elephant with a bullhook," "for not providing adequate veterinary care," and "for not providing wholesome and uncontaminated food."

I've been lucky enough to actually see many elephants in their natural habitat during a safari trip to the Sabi Sabi Game Reservea 128,000 acre wild life reserve in Kruger National Park in South Africa. Up close these amazing animals are majestic to watch. We were out on a safari run in an open air jeep one afternoon when we came around a corner and there was an elephant blocking our path while munching on a huge tree branch. It was a surreal experience especially since I was on a cell phone talking with I-95 at the time. Here's a photo of us during the trip. In the back seat are Rich Evans and his wife, the safari contest winners, Mindy, Mary Scanlon behind the wheel, Opie our safari guide, and Christine who owned 'The Africa Desk' that was located in Brookfield. A trip I will never forget!