Brigitte Bardot’s citizenship may soon be changing. The 78-year-old French former film star is a passionate animal-rights activist who is angry that a local zoo has threatened to euthanize two elephants suffering from tuberculosis. Bardot personally appealed to French President Francois Hollande to intervene on their behalf. If they are put down, Bardot announced, then she intends to move to Russia.
Addressing Hollande in a statement hosted by her Brigitte Bardot Foundation's online site, Bardot said, “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.”
The elephants, known as Baby and Nepal, have been the subject of much public scrutiny in France since Parc de la Tete d'Or, the zoo that currently cares for them, announced its intention to euthanize the animals. Lyon's administrative court sided with the zoo, which claimed that the 42-year-old elephants posed a danger to other zoo animals and visitors.
The court ordered the animals to be killed last month until Gilbert Edelstein, the circus master who originally owned them, stepped in. Edelstein’s petition to grant the elephants a stay until after Christmas was signed by more than 22,000 people, and the animals were temporarily let off the hook, according to This French Life.
On Wednesday, Bardot added her voice to the protest, entreating Hollande to issue a reprieve for the Indian elephants. In an interview with Le Parisien, Bardot argued that the ailing animals could be saved with proper veterinary treatment and that her foundation could relocate them to a more comfortable home.
But, on Friday, when Bardot’s call to action had not yet elicited any response from Hollande, she threatened to expatriate.
Bardot’s threat to leave the country comes just one day after renowned French actor Gerard Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship. Depardieu, who is a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, announced his intention to leave France due to the government’s intention to raise taxes on wealthy residents. In contrast, Russia taxes the incomes of its citizens at a flat 13 percent rate under certain circumstances, the Guardian reported.