Actress Bardot threatens to become Russian if French authorities 'kill' elephants

French actress Brigitte Bardot has threatened to follow her colleague Gerard Depardieu and apply for Russian citizenship ­­­– though for a different reason.

Renowned actress and animal rights campaigner, 77-year-old Bardot said that she will have to become Russian in case the French authorities do not drop their plan to put down two sick elephants at a zoo in Lyon.

“If those in power have the cowardice and impudence to kill the two elephants Baby and Népal despite all the proposals made by my Foundation … then I have decided to ask for Russian nationality in order to escape this country which has become nothing but an animal cemetery,” Bardot said in a statement written in French and posted on the web site of her animal rights foundation on Friday.

The two elephants have been suffering from tuberculosis, and the city authorities have insisted that they should be put to sleep as they pose a threat to other animals in the zoo and its visitors. Backed by Bardot, a public campaign urging to save the elephants has collected thousands of signatures.

Bardot’s statement came day after the Kremlin announced its decision to grant a Russian passport to French actor Depardieu, who has recently renounced his French citizenship after the Socialist government proposed a top income-tax rate of 75 percent on high-wealth residents. In comparison, Russia has the fixed tax rate of 13 percent.

Bardot has  also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has done more to protect animals than all French presidents.

“I think he is a very humane person. Each time I ask him something, he basically helps. He has done more to protect animals than all our presidents put together,” Bardot said in an interview with Nice-Matin newspaper.

Putin has gained a reputation as an animal lover during his years as Russian president and prime minister. Putin has many pets and boasts a long list of photo-ops with wild animals.

Bardot called Putin the "president of my heart" after he banned the hunting of young seals.

First published in RIA Novosti.

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