PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pittsburgh city councilwoman who’s running for mayor is defending Facebook pictures of herself riding a circus elephant and a camel, saying she just wanted to “see how they’re taken care of.

Democrat Darlene Harris posted a picture of herself atop the Shrine Circus elephant and another riding the camel . The circus was at PPG Paints Arena over the weekend.

Darlene Harris (Facebook Photo)

Harris, who’s running against Mayor Bill Peduto in the primary, rejected critics’ claims that circus animals are abused, saying, “Those animals are taken care of better than some people take care of people.”

 Harris says council members were invited to a circus tour after Council President Bruce Kraus sponsored an ordinance to ban shows featuring trained animals. Harris opposes the measure.

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