- (Photo: Reuters/Francois Lenoir)
Former actress turned animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has threatened to seek Russian nationality after a disagreement with French President Francois Hollande over two elephants.
Bardot has taken part in a petition that is attempting to save the lives of Baby and Nepal, two 42-year-old elephants that are retired from France's Pinder Circus. The two animals have been retired since 1999 and are currently living at a local zoo. But it was recently discovered that the animals had contracted tuberculosis, according to the New York Post, a disease that is transferable between other elephants and humans.
As a result, local officials have ordered the animals to be put down stating that they pose a risk to public health. But the animal's former circus owner has begun a petition demanding that the animals' lives be spared and both elephants placed back in his care.
Bardot has proposed that the animals be left to the care of her own foundation, whose purpose it is to support the rights and proper care of animals.
"If those in power have the cowardice and impudence to kill the two elephants, Baby and Nepal, despite the numerous proposals to save them sent by my Foundation," Bardot wrote in a press statement on her foundation page, "I have taken the decision to request the Russian citizenship in order to flee this country which is nothing more than a cemetery for animals."
Bardot's move comes just after Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship to actor Gerard Depardieu, who was critical of France's tax policy. Hollande announced plans earlier to impose a 75 percent tax rate on those who make over 1 million Euros a year, prompting Depardieu to seek Russian nationality. The actor accused France of "spitting" on success and accepted his new Russian citizenship although he suggested that he would always be "French at heart."