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Circus expected to draw spectators and protestors to Benton Twp.

Courtesy: Carson & Barnes Circus

Happening tonight, the Carson and Barnes Circus will be performing at The Orchards Mall in Benton Township. Protests are also planned.

The circus has already started setting up. Protestors will also out there today.

Those protestors are expected to be there about an hour before both circus shows tonight.

The mall's general manager say he will have extra security there.

Carson and Barnes headlines themselves as the World's Biggest Big Top Show with two house of fun and excitement for children of all ages.

It is everything you imagine a circus to be, with acrobatics, music, dancing – and animals.

Organizers say they are protesting to "warn audiences of the behind-the-scenes suffering of animals in traveling circuses."

Some of the protestors have shared videos of alleged abuse by circus animal trainers and mention that Carson and Barnes has been cited more than 100 times.

Carson and Barnes sent us a statement.

The general manager says the animals are inspected regularly by the USDA and state authorities. They are seen by a veterinarian and not allowed to travel without a clean bill of health. That veterinarian is also the main vet for the Tulsa Zoo.

The zoo’s statement says in part, “Animal activist groups will no doubt continue to distort the care and commitment we have for all of our animal family members. Rather than take their word at face value, we invite all families in your community to come see for themselves how our animals are truly thriving at the Carson & Barnes Circus.”

The general manager of Orchards Mall has no concerns about the circus. He says it is bringing much need attention and funds to the mall which is trying to generate more foot traffic.

The Circus performances will be tonight at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

You can go early at 3 p.m. and watch the elephants being washed by the fire department, free of charge.

There is also a midway, a petting zoo and elephant and camel rides.

Address: 1800 Pipestone Road, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

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