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Bardot protests New Jersey bear hunt ‘carnage’

French actress turned animal rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot on Friday urged authorities in New Jersey to halt what she called the "scandalous carnage" of an annual bear hunt.

Wildlife officials in the state say the six-day cull is needed to control a growing population of black bears. With two days of hunting to go, a total of 369 black bears have been killed, the Division of Fish and Wildlife said on its website.

Last year, 592 bears were killed, or what hunters call “harvested.”

Bardot, who left her sex symbol days behind to devote herself to the plight of a variety of animals worldwide, wrote to Republican Governor Chris Christie, saying the hunt “tarnishes the image of your state.”

Her Fondation Brigitte Bardot takes inspiration from Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, who said countries’ greatness could be judged on their treatment of animals. “What can we think about the state of New Jersey where 592 bears are condemned to death?” Bardot wrote.

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France’s Asterix park to shut down dolphin show

A major amusement park in northern France said on Monday it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium, the day before lawmakers start to debate new animal welfare rules.

France's Asterix park to shut down dolphin show
France has long discussed imposing stricter rules on using wild animals in amusement parks. Illustration photo: AFP

The dolphin shows are a popular attraction at Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, but have long been a target of animal rights activists.

“We've been thinking about this for several years,” the park's managing director Nicolas Kremer told Le Parisien newspaper, saying the site wanted to focus instead on rides and other shows.

He said the dolphins would be transferred to other aquariums in Europe in the next two months, adding: “Reintroduction in a natural environment is not possible for these animals raised in captivity.”

A ban on captive breeding of dolphins and other marine mammals as well as their use in shows is a key part of the draft law, with the debate due to begin on Tuesday.

A previous effort to outlaw the practices by decree in 2017 was thrown out by the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, but animal rights group have kept up pressure for the ban.

“These associations think that captivity is abuse, but I can tell you that we have always ensured the wellbeing of our animals,” Kremer said.

The park, based on the beloved Asterix the Gaul comics, is hoping to reopen for the busy summer season on April 3rd if coronavirus restrictions are lifted by then.

READ ALSO: Disneyland Paris to begin 'phased reopening' in July