Gerard Depardieu and Brigitte Bardot

Gerard Depardieu

The French actor Gerard Depardieu is angry because he has to pay more taxes than less wealthy (or even poor) French people and he finds that unfair because he works very hard for his money (and thus he seems to suggest others (such as nurses or street cleaners) work less hard and thus should earn much less). Indeed, a tax of 75% for people earning more than €1 million is exaggerated but then they probably can find many ways to reduce this. In protests against these taxes he moved to Belgium, even trying to become Belgian while he could make suggestions to the French government how to implement a fairer tax system so everyone is more or less treated in an equal matter.

Although after becoming Belgian he will have to pay Belgian taxes as a Belgian citizen and no longer as a foreigner. And Belgians know their taxes are one of the highest in the world, up to 50% when only earning above €35,000. (Although if I think about it, this is incorrect for those with lots of money because they can choose from many tax reductions ordinary people can't choose from while ordinary people have to pay higher taxes to compensate for the lost revenue. That is probably the reason why Belgium is a tax haven for many rich). Further, if Belgium accepts too many wealthy French people, the good relations between France and Belgium may become less good.

This weekend Mr Depardieu met the Russian President Putin who granted him the Russian nationality. It also seems Mr Depardieu has many friends amongst Russian politicians, many who are not known to be very democratic. Nevertheless, it seems he feels the need to join Russia and praise President Putin because he thinks his own country no longer functions properly. He hails Russia's culture and intelligence and indeed many good came from Russia. But it seems he also called Russia a great democracy, and not a country where the prime minister calls one of its citizens shabby. Does he mean human rights are not broken in Russia because the rich do not have to pay high taxes while there are no poor?

Ones Mr Depardieu lives in Russia, he may learn about the faith of the girls of Pussy Riot, fellow artists of whom some are in prison for protesting against the democrat President Putin. But also other people (managers, artists, ...) who were in favour but afterwards disagree with Russian leaders should be wary with some ending up in prison, others fleeing the country while someone being murdered with polonium poison (some claim by the Russian authorities). Of course, many move out of Russia because they want to represent Russia in the world. But, it seems money makes blind (Mr Depardieu will disagree).

And the meeting between Mr Depardieu and President Putin: Mr Depardieu and President Putin hugged each other as if they are old friends, as if President Putin doesn't use the actor as only a small piece of a power game.

Brigitte Bardot

Also the French actresses Brigitte Bardot claims she wants to become a Russian citizen because she is angry a French court in Lyon ordered the killing of two elephants as a precautionary measure because it seems they have TB. Many animal activists demand a second opinion concerning their illness as they don't believe the animals are ill but have to die because they are too expensive to support.

I agree that a second opinion should be possible from a veterinarian chosen by the activists (then they can not blame the government of cheating) while one appointed by the court can check whether the veterinarian does his/her job properly. If the animal activists are sincere when they say they want to save the elephants then they will be more then willing to pay for the cost of the veterinarian so it doesn't cost society a cent.

But when the animals really have TB and it is concluded they can't be cured while they can transmit the disease to other animals, then (although elephants are one of my favourite animals) people should accept they have to be euthanised in a humane way (in many countries people have to suffer in a non-humane way because euthanasia is not allowed). Or when the government decides they can't wait because of the risk the animals cause to others is too big, then they can go ahead with the euthanasia but should allow an investigation afterwards. Many animal lovers, although reluctantly, will accept that animals should not suffer or cause other animals or humans to suffer.

However, when the animals are killed without a second opinion, then even more people will believe the conspiracy theories that governments have a second agenda, hiding things for people or not allowing a second independent opinion.

If the animals are ill and can be cured (and if science can be used to cure the animals then it should be used to save them), but indeed curing the animals or keeping them alive is too expensive for society, then the authorities should mention this and give people a choice: if people want to keep the animals alive then they should contribute to the costs so society does not have to bare all of it. However, if they don't want to contribute to the costs then people should stop their hypocrisy and accept the authorities decision (it is always easier to defend rights when it doesn't cost anything than to loose some wealth for someone else's rights).

I understand Brigitte Bardot supports animal rights (indeed animals should be treated in a fair way) and is sincere in trying to save the two elephants. Therefore I am convinced she would spent some of her wealth on the cost to support the animals while society pays its part (e.g. provide housing). I also believe she should be reasonable and accept that moving to Russia is not the best solution.

Indeed, if she thinks laws are wrong in her country, she could try to get elected and then try to change the laws (that is called democracy: everyone should have a chance to get elected). If politicians notice people support people from the animal rights movement, then other politicians will be more willing to vote on animal rights in the hope she will loose during the next elections as voters will return to the real politicians who also show an interest in animal rights (the danger can be that these opportunists may think they should be too animal friendly to please a section of the public and thus vote for laws that are too restrictive, allowing them to be able to forget about those rights in future. E.g. to please animal rights activists they may decide animal research is no longer possible and thus research into diseases and new treatments may end while it is correct to demand laboratory animals are treated correctly and should not suffer needless; this can result in better scientific results). She can also lobby the public who can then demand from their politicians to have more concerns about animal rights.

But when she becomes a Russian citizen, then she has no longer rights to lecture the French because it will no longer be her business. Then she has to look into the animal rights movement of Russia, and then she may loose her Russian citizenship very soon for being too critical as I always heard animal rights are very limited in Russia. Although maybe it would be a good thing for the Russian animals if she becomes Russian.


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