Circus Shows Elephants Despite Ban; Will They Be in Poughkeepsie?
A circus is advertising elephants as the main attraction in Poughkeepsie, despite a statewide ban signed by the Governor last year.
The Garden Brothers Circus is set to perform at the Mid Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie this Friday, April 20. They will be presenting three shows at 1:30pm, 4:30pm and 7:30pm. Every year when the circus comes to town so does controversy, and this year is no different
The Garden Brothers Circus is one of just a handful of smaller circuses that still operate in the United States. After the public's changing attitudes over using exotic animals for entertainment, Ringling Brothers found it difficult to continue to draw crowds, so they shut down in 2017 after almost 150 years of operation.
New York State officially banned the use of elephants in circuses two years ago. The law says that elephants can no longer be used for entertainment in live shows. Because of that, the Garden Brothers Circus did not feature elephants last year when it rolled into town, but this year they are heavily promoting the fact that the "elephants are back."
Flyers and free tickets scattered around town feature photos of the elephants with the announcement that they have returned to the show. The Garden Brothers Circus website also prominently features photos of the animals and declares in all-caps that "ELEPHANTS" are a part of the show on the description for the Poughkeepsie dates:
GARDEN BROS CIRCUS presents a fast paced 90 minute show in a Theatrical European 3 ring setting featuring the Human Pyramid, ELEPHANTS, Daring Aerial Artists, 6 Motorcycles in the Sphere of Fear, the Crazy Cossack Horse Riders, Chinese Acrobats, Death Defying Trapeze, Contortionists, the Funniest Clowns, Jugglers as seen on America’s Got Talent, not enough room to list anymore!!!
We reached out to the Mid Hudson Civic Center and they informed us that the circus was merely renting their space, but they were told that there would be no elephants at the show, only smaller animals like goats and horses.
A representative from Stellar Entertainment, the company which runs the Garden Brothers Circus, confirmed with us that they are, in fact, still using elephants in their circus and that the animals will be a part of their shows in Albany. The three Poughkeepsie shows, however, will not be featuring elephants, despite all of their advertising to the contrary. It was unclear if the elephants were taken off of the bill due to protests or the limited amount of space inside the Civic Center. We were told that Poughkeepsie was the only New York show where elephants would not be included as a part of the entertainment.
Technically, the New York ban on elephants does not start until 2019, so it is not illegal for the elephants to appear in Albany or any other New York show this year. Many animal activists, however, are surprised that the circus would continue to use elephants after the ban was signed, and applauded by most of the public in 2017.
We want to know what you think. Are you disappointed that elephants won't be a part of the show in Poughkeepsie this year? Or are you happy that the ban will finally go into effect next year, finally ending the use of elephants in local circuses? Tell us your opinion on our Facebook page or in the comments section below.