Page last updated at 06:12 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

Bardot appeal over animal slaughter at Nepal festival

Brigitte Bardot, in 2007
Brigitte Bardot is a prominent animal rights activist

Former film star Brigitte Bardot has urged Nepal's president to stop a ritual slaughter of animals in an upcoming religious festival.

The two-day Gadhimai festival next week will result in the killing of up to half a million animals.

Ms Bardot, who is also an animal rights activist, wrote to President Ram Baran Yadav, saying that the practice was "violent, cruel and inhumane".

Nepalese authorities say the mass sacrifice is an religious tradition.

"I personally find it hard to imagine that your heart can withstand such cruelty, knowing that you, being the head of the country, are ultimately responsible," said Ms Bardot, 75, in her letter to Mr Yadav.

"I have dedicated my life to protect animals and the best gift I could receive for this life-long struggle would be the announcement of the stopping of ritual sacrifice of animals."

The government has not yet reacted to Ms Bardot's letter.

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