Daily Telegraph. 19 May 2010.
Brigitte Bardot in protest over Bucharest dog cull.
The French actress Brigitte Bardot has said that “Romania will not be able to evolve” as a country if it introduces a law to cull thousands of stray dogs in Bucharest.
Brigitte Bardot has written an open letter to Romanian MPs to protest about the mass cull Photo: AP In an open letter to Romanian MPs, Bardot, a passionate advocate of animal rights, condemned plans to introduce a law that would allow street dogs to be killed if they remain unclaimed after seven days. “Romania will not be able to evolve if it continues to takecruel decisions against sensitive creatures, which are under the protection of European law,” the actress wrote.
“Stray animals, neglected and threatened on the streets, mirror the fear of a country which fails to approach the future based on the principle of voluntary responsibility.” She begged MPs, currently debating the law, to reject the legislation and to avoid the “illusory traps of drastic and expedite measures.” This is not the first time the Bardot has leapt to the defence of Romanian dogs. In 2001 she donated £98,000 to a sterilisation scheme for Bucharest’s strays.
The film star’s latest intervention added to heated debate in Romania about what to do with the dogs that roam the streets of the nation’s capital. City authorities claim that up to 100,000 strays live in Bucharest, and that over 2,000 people have already been bitten this year. Last year, hospitals treated 11,000 bite victims, with medical bills for treatment coming to £341,000.
With Romania facing severe austerity measures owing to the financial crisis, Bucharest’s leaders claim that the city can no longer afford to maintain the upkeep for captured strays and hospitals bills for those bitten, and also argue that culling is a more humane than allowing the dogs to live wretched lives on the streets. But animal rights groups have described the cull plans as barbaric, calling instead for increased sterilisation.
The problem of Bucharest’s strays dates back to the days of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. To make way for the grandiose building schemes the leader favoured thousands of houses were razed to the ground, and with people re-housed in small flats pet dogs were often abandoned.