Iconic French film star and singer Brigitte Bardot has claimed that Paris should not host next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games due to an objection to animals being used for sport.
Bardot, President of animal protection organisation the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, claims it is “madness” for Paris to stage the Games.
In addition to potential animal rights abuses, she is concerned that the violent scenes at last year’s UEFA Champions League final around Paris 2024 venue the Stade de France show the city is not ready.
“The first thing Paris should have done was to refuse the Olympic Games,” the 88-year-old Bardot told French newspaper L’Équipe.
“It is an additional madness which comes at a crucial moment when Paris is disfigured, when the debt which falls to us is abysmal, when the unleashed violence is not controlled, when the dramatic events which have occurred at the Stade de France have still not been settled.
“If you want to fart higher than your ass, you risk ending up in insurmountable rubble.
“As for animals and horses in particular, they will once again be the first victims of this relentless desire to ‘appear’.”
Though the use of animals in sport has long been cause for debate, it was thrust into the spotlight at the re-arranged 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The modern pentathlon competition saw German trainer Kim Raisner sent home after hitting horse Saint Boy.
The actions were widely condemned and prompted animal welfare groups to call for equestrian events to be removed from the Games.
Bardot achieved international recognition in 1957 for her role in the film And God Created Woman.
In 1959, Simone de Beauvoir’s essay The Lolita Syndrome described Bardot as the first and most liberated woman of post-war France.
Although she withdrew from the entertainment industry in 1973, Bardot remains a major popular culture icon and an influential figure in French society.
Paris 2024 is set to take place from July 26 to August 11 next year and features three equestrian sports in dressage, eventing, and jumping.
Show jumping is also set to feature in the modern pentathlon events in what could be the last edition of the Games that horses are involved with the sport.
Bardot claimed that every aspect of equestrian sport is painful and unnatural for the horses.
“Horseback riding is a sport that deviates too much and in a brutal way from the nature of the horse, which is not a vehicle but an animal of extreme sensitivity, which is no longer taken into account,” she told L’Equipe.
“The innate barbarity of the human being is revealed in broad daylight, in full view of the world during horse shows.
“The ‘cavalier’ way in which one treats one’s mount says a lot about the suffering of horses.
“The spurs in the flesh, the brutality of pulling on the reins which saw their jaws, the horribly painful blows of the whip which only serve to exhaust the horse which is already giving the best of itself.
“And the races of ‘trot’ which are a real ordeal for the animal in the forcing with roughness and cruelty to thwart his millennial pace which is to gallop to gain speed and to which we inflict the ‘trot’ of race, which is absolutely scandalous and anti-nature.
“All of this should be reviewed and corrected.
“All these military and testing rules should evolve, soften, never forgetting that ‘the horse is man’s noblest conquest’.”