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Meet Brigitte Bardot: French Actress Turned Animal Rights Activist

Born in 1934, Brigitte Bardot is a famous singer, actress, dancer, and model who starred in French 50s and 60s films. Films she’s starred in include And God Created Woman and Contempt. She retired from acting in the 1970s and instead devoted her time to animal activism. Bardot is known for famously saying, “I gave my beauty and youth to men, I am going to give my wisdom and experience to animals.”

In 1987, Bardot auctioned off her own jewelry and personal belongings so she could start her own animal rights organization. Today, that organization is known as the Fondation Brigitte Bardot, France’s leading animal protection NGO. Fondation Brigitte Bardot has its own sanctuary in Normandy and continually lends support to other animal rights organizations.

In 2012, Brigitte Bardot sent a personal letter to France’s Philippines ambassador expressing her concerns for Mali, an ailing, solitary elephant confined to a small enclosure at a Philippine zoo. In her letter, Bardot requested that the sick elephant, Mali, be transferred to a sanctuary in Thailand where she can roam freely with other elephants. Her request was backed by Jane Goodall and famed veterinarian Dr. Mel Richardson. As a result, an online petition for Mali’s release went viral. The petition garnered more than 40,000 signatures. Unfortunately, Mali is yet to be freed from her tiny, concrete enclosure.

More recently, in 2013, the iconic star called for an end to grocery store Fortnum & Mason’s foie gras sales. Foie gras is a popular food dish consisting of the enlarged liver of a goose or duck. But in order to enlarge the liver, the ducks and geese must be force fed. A metal rod is jammed down their necks several times a day, and the over-stuffing of the liver results in increased pressure on the lungs. The practice is widely detested by veterinarians and animal activists alike and the sale of foie gras has already been banned in several countries. PETA renamed Fortnum & Mason’s, “Force-Fed and Murdered.” But thanks to the awareness that Bardot has brought to foie gras sales, thousands of people have elected to boycott Fortnum & Mason’s.

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Kissed By A Pit is a Charity Challenge with a Hint of Slobber

kissed by a bit challenge
Look at that face! Who could say no to that? Image: via Facebook.

Pit bulls have a bad rap. Often perceived as mean and aggressive, these dogs continue to be feared and misunderstood by the American public. Pit bulls are the most bred dog in the United States, but are often confined to shelters because people are only familiar with the breed’s enduring bad reputation. Even more alarmingly, according to Esquire, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized in shelters annually, and experts estimate that nearly 1 million of those dogs are pit bulls.

Organizations such as 400 Paws, Safe Humane Chicago, and other animal advocacy programs know that pit bulls are intelligent, loyal, and gentle creatures, and are working hard to raise awareness about their real traits. Recently, Dog Park Publishing, a company that makes products that celebrate pit bulls, encouraged dog lovers to partake in the “Kissed By A Pit Challenge.”

The Kissed By A Pit Challenge is an initiative to raise awareness about pit bulls, debunk misconceptions about the breed, and partake in a massive social media conversation about animal rights and advocacy. Just like the #IceBucketChallenge, participants are encouraged to shoot a video or snap a photo of themselves being kissed by a pit bull, share it on social media, and donate $5 to their local animal shelter. The Kissed By a Pit Challenge not only raises funds for understaffed animal shelters, it shows love for pit bulls, while helping to change their image.

Dog Park Publishing co-founders Alisa Weberman and Jonathan Korzen recently told The Huffington Post, “We are thrilled with the response we have already received,” of the number of challenge participants. “It means we are showing pit bulls in a positive light and raising money for rescues and shelters across the world.”

Various celebrities took part in the Kissed By A Pit Challenge including Kevin Bacon, Adam Rose, Sophia Bush, Kelli Giddish, Tom Hardy, and many others. Their participation lent even more visibility to the cause, and helped to spread further awareness about this lovable breed.

Learn more about the Kissed By A Pit Challenge by visiting www.dogparkpublishing.com.