A statement by a former Ringling Bros. employee misrepresented the events before and after the death of our 2-year-old lion Clyde, including false allegations that our company and employees were withholding information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture [news story, Aug. 8].
Ringling Bros. is fully cooperating with investigators. We spoke with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about Clyde's death and will continue to make ourselves available throughout its investigation.
Further, Clyde died on July 12, not July 13 as Frank Hagan alleged, and 13 lions (including Clyde) were traveling with the show, not 14. Mr. Hagan said he was one of the two handlers in charge of the lions, but he was not an animal handler. Further, it is inaccurate for him to claim that he was terminated on a "pretext"; he was terminated for a cause unrelated to Clyde's death.
Feld Entertainment always cooperates fully with USDA officials and instructs its employees to do the same. On July 16 the USDA conducted an unannounced inspection in Fresno, Calif., and Ringling Bros. cooperated in that inspection. Contrary to Mr. Hagan's assertion, Ringling Bros. counsel was not in California on that date.
The Post story did not mention that the 12 other lions traveling with Clyde were examined by a veterinarian and found to be healthy. As a precautionary measure, however, Ringling Bros. immediately began transporting its lions and tigers by truck after Clyde's death and has been reviewing its operational and transportation procedures for big cats. Ringling Bros. continuously reviews and modifies animal care practices to ensure the safety and well-being of its animals.
No one is more upset by Clyde's death than Ringling Bros. The health and welfare of its animals is paramount to Ringling Bros.'s core mission of showcasing animal and human interactions and relationships.
Vice President of Circus Operations
Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey