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Bardot threat to quit France in elephant row

Former screen goddess Brigitte Bardot threatened to follow Gerard Depardieu in asking for a Russian passport, in protest not at tax rises, but at the treatment of two elephants.

The animals -- Baby and Nepal and owned by a touring circus -- are thought to be carrying TB and were ordered to be put down by a court in Lyon, yesterday as a precautionary measure.

Bardot's threat comes a day after fellow actor Depardieu caused a storm in France by becoming a Russian citizen in protest at high tax rates proposed by the government.

"If those in power are cowardly and impudent enough to kill the elephants... then I have decided I will ask for Russian nationality to get out of this country, which has become nothing more than an animal cemetery," Bardot said.

Owners Cirque Pinder also said they would appeal to save the elephants, which first tested positive for TB in 2010, but have since been kept in a zoo in Lyon away from the public.



rights

Bardot, who rose to fame as a screen siren in the 1956 film And God Created Woman, has become increasingly controversial with her outbursts on animal rights, but also on gays, immigrants and the jobless.

Since retiring in the 1970s she has become a semi-recluse, devoting herself to her foundation for animal rights, and has frequently taken aim at Eid al-Adha, when Muslims ritually slaughter sheep.

In 2008 she was convicted for a fifth time in 11 years for for incitement to religious hatred, over a 2006 tract in which she said the Muslim community in France was "destroying our country by imposing its acts'.

hnews@herald.ie