Brigitte Bardot is threatening to follow Gérard Depardieu’s example and apply for a Russian passport.
The aging sex symbol’s announcement isn’t because of the controversial 75 percent tax on France’s super-rich — recently dismissed by a French court as unconstitutional — but over the treatment of two circus elephants.
According to The Guardian, the two elephants, Baby and Nepal, are currently owned by a touring circus and are thought to be carrying tuberculosis.
On Friday, a court in Lyon, southern France, ordered the animals should be put down as a precautionary measure.
In protest, Bardot posted a statement on the website of her animal welfare charity — “Brigitte Bardot Foundation” — today.
“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’s missive comes a day after Depardieu’s new citizenship became official.
The Frenchman has been at the center of a public war of words with the French government over President Francois Hollande’s moves to raise taxes on rich French citizens. Earlier this week, the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had personally signed a decree granting Depardieu Russian citizenship, BBC News reports.
Today, the elephant’s owners, Cirque Pinder, said they will appeal the court’s order and have launched a petition to gather public support for a reprieve for the elephants. Thousands have already signed it, including Bardot.
According to the BBC, the ex-actress sent a letter to President Hollande earlier this week asking him to intervene, but she is still waiting for a reply.
After debuting in Roger Vadim’s 1956 film And God Created Woman, Bardot became an international symbol of female perfection. Latterly, however, the 78–year-old’s focus has been animal rights activism and disadvantaged social groups.
Following her retirement from films in the 1970s, Bardot became a recluse except to protest in person at specific events such as the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival during which sheep are ritually slaughtered.
In 2008, Bardot was convicted for a fifth time in 11 years for “incitement to religious hatred” after she said the Muslim community was “destroying our country [France] by imposing its acts,” said The Guardian.