Legendary French actress Brigitte Bardot has a long history of animal activism and concern over the plight of our furry friends. But the recent Australian Government decision to cull more than two million feral cats has caused the film star to lash out against the nation’s environment minister.
In Australia, feral cats have been singled out as the leading cause of native fauna loss. With more than ten per cent of continental fauna having already been gone the way of the Dodo, authorities say that the humane culling of feral cats is a top priority. “They are tsunamis of violence and death for Australia’s native species,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt told the ABC. But the plan to eradicate more than two million feral cats by 2020 has been met with stiff opposition from critics and animal welfare activists.
Ms. Bardot’s open letter to the minister is scathing in its assessment of the scheme. “The announcement made by your government regarding the culling of two million cats is appalling the whole international community. May I remind you that cats are, such as dogs, pets,” the letter reads. “Killing two million cats out of a population of 20 million is a scandal, a shame!”
According to Ms. Bardot, money would be better spent on more effective management programs instead of culling. “This animal genocide is inhumane and ridiculous; the 6 million dollars you plan to spend in destroying these animals would be much better spent in setting up a large-scale sterilization campaign. These campaigns have been proven very effective everywhere they have been experienced.”
“Killing cats in order to protect other species is scandalous,” she continues. “Indeed, you are about to scatter harmful chemicals in the wild, potentially dangerous for all species without any distinction. You expose these animals to a death under atrocious suffering. In addition to being cruel, killing these cats is absolutely useless since the rest of them will keep breeding.”
Eloquently, the actress also addressed Australia’s international reputation for somewhat barbarous methods of animal management. “The public image of Australia is disastrous: kangaroo massacres, wild horses. Your country is far from being exemplary,” she warned. “It is high time to stop these barbaric and pointless practices as they put the spotlight on your country in the worst possible way. Your country is sullied by the blood of millions of innocent animals so please, don’t add cats to this morbid record!”
In the end, Ms. Bardot says that it comes down to a basic sense of morality and emotional intelligence. “Humane cruelty is limitless,” she mused. “But changing one’s mind is proof of intelligence and humanity. I am counting on you, don’t disappoint me.”
The Minister has yet to publicly respond to the accusations, but it is clear that the damage may have already been done. Given that the planned culling has been labelled as inhumane, the authorities will no doubt re-consider how they deal with the difficult and terribly sensitive task.
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