François Hollande faces Brigitte Bardot over rescue of two sick elephants from a Lyon zoo
Monday 07 January 2013
A problem even larger than Gérard Depardieu faces the French government this week. Should President François Hollande intervene to rescue two sick elephants in a Lyon zoo?
The fate of Baby and Nepal, Asian elephants exiled from a circus for bad behaviour, has hung in the balance for almost three years. They are suspected of carrying the human form of tuberculosis. In theory, by government edict, they are to be given lethal injections by Friday of this week.
A petition on the internet calling on President Hollande to save the elephants has gathered over 70,000 signatures. France’s most redoubtable campaigner for animal rights, retired actress Brigitte Bardot, has threatened to emulate Mr Depardieu in seeking Russian nationality if the president fails to save Baby and Nepal. Ms Bardot, 78, has written to the president offering to save the elephants by paying for their removal from the animal park in Lyon, their quarantine, upkeep and veterinary bills. If the elephants die, she says she will seek a Russian passport, leave her seafront villa in Saint Tropez and move to Russia. The fact that Russia has a poor animal rights record and is one of the world’s leading fur producers has not deterred her.
Can Baby and Nepal, aged 42 and 43, be saved? In theory, they can. Treatments have been developed in zoos in the US but they are costly and carry the risk of transmission of the disease to human carers.
The elephants were removed from Pinder Circus in 1999 and were first diagnosed as TB carriers in 2010. Herds of farm animals must be destroyed by French law if TB infection is found or suspected. No such clear law exists for wild animals. In the last few days, however, the Conseil d’État, the supreme arbiter of the legality of government decisions in France, has agreed to consider the case. The death sentence cannot be carried out until the council gives its ruling, probably this week or next.
If the council members give the thumbs down, only President Hollande can save the elephants and, in theory, prevent Ms Bardot from fleeing Saint Tropez for Russia in mid-winter.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: We are currently looking for a Geog...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...