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Sunday, 9 January, 2000, 10:10 GMT
Bardot dogs Putin over animal rights

Brigitte Bardot Brigitte Bardot has become a fervent animal rights campaigner

French actress-turned-animal rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot is considering visiting Russia's acting president after an exchange of e-mails and letters.

The French star began the exchange with a message asking Vladimir Putin to take steps to abolish dog-fighting in Russia and she has since written offering to help draw up animal welfare laws.

I hope ... humans will at last behave humanely towards each other and towards animals.
Brigitte Bardot
Mr Putin wrote back agreeing the issue needed to be looked at and inviting Ms Bardot to Moscow.

He praised the former sex symbol and her Brigitte Bardot Foundation, an animal rights organisation, as a "remarkable example of uncompromising civic values".

Ms Bardot, who has been a passionate animal rights figure since finishing her acting career, said: "I am extremely moved by the magnificent compliment paid to me by Mr Putin.

"I hope with all my heart that this sensitive and brave man will give Russia the grandeur and impact which are its strength, and that humans will at last behave humanely towards each other and towards animals.

Dancing bears Dancing bears: Another cause for the ex-actress
"I plan to go and thank Mr Putin when the current difficulties are over. I wish the Russian people, whom I love, and Mr Putin, whom I respect, a year 2000 in harmony with the power they represent and the serenity to which they have the right."

Ms Bardot added that she was moved by Mr Putin's response to her plea for new laws, in which he said: "Humans must always remain human, with each other and towards animals."

In his message to Ms Bardot, Russia's acting president said he "agreed that the attention paid to this problem, which affects many other countries as well, is insufficient."

And he wrote: "The Russian authorities have to confront a host of problems ... but I hope a bill [to outlaw dog-fighting] can be prepared soon."

Ms Bardot twice last year became involved in animal rights issues in eastern Europe by helping to save a family of wolves in southern Hungary and writing to the Bulgarian president to protest against the exploitation of dancing bears

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Vladimir Putin: Spy turned politician

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