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Tories won't meet with Bardot over seal hunt
20 Mar 2006
CBC News

French actress Brigitte Bardot won't be getting a warm welcome from politicians when she travels to Canada this week to protest the seal hunt.

Both Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn have refused to meet with Bardot on her visit to Ottawa Wednesday.

"I think giving people like that attention and publicity just furthers their cause," Hearn told CBC News.

Brigitte Bardot, visiting an animal kennel in the Paris suburb of Levallois,
December, 2004. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Bardot, 71, was one of the first international celebrities to take aim at the seal hunt.

In 1977, she travelled with the activist group Greenpeace to the ice floes off Canada's East Coast, where she was photographed holding a baby harp seal, known as a whitecoat.

The star of And God Created Woman hasn't been back to Canada since.

She now runs the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, an animal-rights group that is calling for an international boycott of Canadian products until the annual hunt comes to a halt.

Killing whitecoats has been banned since 1987, but hunters still harvest older seals each March and April.

British singer Paul McCartney and his wife, Heather Mills McCartney, made a high-profile visit to Prince Edward Island in early March to complain about the continuing East Coast seal hunt.

They visited the ice floes off Quebec's Magdalene Islands, where they were photographed with seals, and later debated Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams on CNN's Larry King Live.

The McCartneys' trip was arranged by the Humane Society of the United States.

Williams has accused such animal rights groups of using the seal hunt to raise millions of dollars in donations by using outdated video and photographic images of the hunt and quoting misleading statistics about the current state of Canada's seal population.

The Brigitte Bardot Foundation's website says the group has more than 57,000 donors in more than 60 nations around the world.

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