French film legend and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has assailed what she called the "barbarism" of animal-cruelty and culling programs in Russian cities.
The 83-year-old Bardot's foundation on February 8 tweeted a letter it sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing concerns about the fate of stray animals in the country.
The letter referred to what she called culling campaigns and animal cruelty in Russia, saying that "by accepting this mass killing, you favor barbarism!"
She urged him to replace "this revolting slaughter" with sterilization campaigns instead.
Bardot reminded the president that, with the World Cup soccer tournament coming to Russia on June 14-July 15, "the eyes of the international community are turned toward you."
She also expressed concerns about the harming of bears, raccoons, foxes, and badgers at camps across Russia.
"Helpless animals are kept in narrow cages, which they leave only to be torn to bits by trick dogs," she wrote.
"All petitions and efforts to save these animals have been in vain, as training dogs to catch wild animals is still legal in Russia," she added.
Based on reporting by AP and TASS