Monday, May 2, 2011

BB and the bulls

Brigitte Bardot, remember her the screen legend? Now she's more well known for her animal rights campaigning. Over the top about animals - a lot of French call her but now she's on her high horse against the French government’s decision to list bullfighting as part of France’s “immaterial heritage” "completely idiotic".

BB the star, who heads the Fondation Brigitte Bardot animal rescue charity, called the Ministry of Culture, which made the decision, the “Ministry of Ignorance”.

United Nations members are required by Unesco to keep lists of important cultural practices, which could potentially in the future be selected as forming part of the World Intangible Heritage. “The French meal” was selected as representing such world heritage last year. Now that one I'd agree with it.

Among other animal rights organisations which have attacked the listing decision is 30 Millions d’Amis who said surveys showed most French people disapproved of Spanish-style bullfighting (in which the bull is killed), which is only allowed by special permission in certain southern towns. I've seen one of these bullfights outside Nimes and must say it was too gory for me and my son, about six at the time. The only bull fights I've stomached are the Portugese ones where the bulls are killed out of the arena and it's more a sport of the bull vs the matador, not the killing.

BB cited a ban proposed last year, supported by 75 members of parliament and the mayor of Fréjus, one of the towns associated with bullfighting, which called a halt to it.

30 Millions d'amis a charity expressed its “deep indignation in the face of a decision that officialises and approves the barbarity of this spectacle.”

Many in France shave expressed surprise that their country should be the first to list such a practice, as opposed to Spain which is much better-known for it. Sorry for the short post but I'm in Pittsburgh - after a red eye flight from the La/LAtimes Book Festival - and up early for NYC
Cara -Tuesday and headed for Boston on Wednesday Beth!


  1. No problem on animal rights. However, Bardot is not for human rights for many people. She has been tied to the anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, racist National Front in France.

    Here's a section of an article from The Independent from Aug. 22, 2009 about this:

    "In the last decade, she [Bardot] has shown alarming signs of racial intolerance, and the expression of her views has landed her in l'eau chaud many times. Her fourth husband, Bernard d'Ormale, is an ex-adviser to Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front, and Bardot has spoken out intemperately against France's 5m Muslim immigrants. She's been fined and convicted of "inciting racial hatred" – especially the part in her 2003 book, A Scream in the Silence, when she talks about previous generations of French people who've "given their lives to push out the invaders". Last June, a judge said she was sick of charging Bardot with racial offences. Much of France is sick of hearing the same sentiments from her famous lips.

    It's sad to think that the woman who, from 1970 to 1980, was the face of Marianne de France – the evolving female sculpture which represents France's dedication to liberty and republicanism – has come to despise modern France and to symbolise race hatred and bigoted suspicion."

  2. Hi Cara - the EU has a lot of blind spots doesn't it?

    Have a lovely trip.

  3. I, too, am surprised that France would list bullfighting as part of its heritage before Spain would.

    Barring that oddity, though, heritage is heritage. One may decide which aspects of one's cultural heritage are worth preserving and celebrating, but one cannot retroactively rewrite that heritage. (And yes, I have attended bullfights in Spain. A chilling, thrilling, scary experience it was.)

    I agree, too, that Brigitte Bardot's public declarations in recent decades make it appear that she values animals more highly than she does people -- or people of certain races and religions, at least.
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