French Sex Symbol Fights for Elephants’ Rights

Photo by Keith Evans. Some rights reserved.

Photo by Keith Evans. Some rights reserved.

Brigitte Bardot: in the 1950’s and 60’s, she was renowned for her iconic looks, hailed as a sex symbol of a budding French cinema movement and as a “locomotive of women’s history” (Simone de Beauvoir’s words, not mine, though I will say that she gives shockingly great performances in both Contempt and Viva Maria!, and probably others I haven’t seen). Today, she is known mostly as an animal rights activist, as well as for her… uniquely prickly world view? (for the record, this is the first time I’m hearing about her racial fines).

As an animal rights activist, Bardot has stirred that pot yet again this week, when she threatened to exile herself from France for the rest of her life and seek Russian citizenship instead if French President Hollande fails to save Baby and Nepal, two sick elephants currently residing in a Lyon zoo. A petition on the internet sprung up demanding that the French government not follow protocols to put down any animal with a TB infection (which is what Baby and Nepal appear to have). Bardot and the signees of the petition are asking to override this protocol, and ask instead that they do everything they can to attempt to save the animals’ lives. The Conseil d’Etat is considering the case, and a ruling on the fates of Baby and Nepal will be given either this week or next. If they rule against the petitioners, only President Hollande can save the elephants and preserve Brigitte Bardot’s status as a French icon.

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