NEW YORK — French film icon Brigitte Bardot has joined the campaign to convince Pope Francis to go vegan.
In a statement last week, Bardot called on the pontiff to support the campaign of a 12-year old schoolgirl that has, to date, unsuccessfully been trying to convince Francis to embrace a plant-based diet during Lent, the Church’s annual penitential season, where Catholics traditionally abstain from meat on Fridays.
“I am Catholic but I protest against the decisions of Pope Francis who chose this name in homage to St. Francis of Assisi and did nothing and does nothing to improve the condition of animals,” she tweeted on March 13.
“His last decision to allow Catholics to feed on animal flesh during the 40 days of Lent is aberrant,” said the 84-year old life-long Catholic. “I support the association Million Dollar Vegan which revolts against this papal cruelty and respecting religious advice, invites believers to do a vegan Lent.”
In February, the Million Dollar Vegan campaign published an open letter in newspapers around the globe offering the pope a million dollar donation to the charity of his choice should he accept their proposal.
12-year-old Genesis Butler, an animal welfare and environmental activist from California signed the letter, and in response, the Vatican simply thanked her for her “care for the world, our common home.” She, in turn, counter-offered that the two meet for a vegan lunch during Lent to discuss the issue further.
In an interview with Crux, last month, Butler, who was in Rome hoping to meet the pope in person, said that she believed he should accept her offer in order to “be able to help both animals and the planet.”
“He should show leadership on this issue,” she said.