PARIS (AP) _ Brigitte Bardot has acknowledged ordering the castration of a donkey she was keeping for a neighbor, but she says she should be above suspicion because of her concern for animal welfare.

Bardot, a former film star who has devoted herself to animal causes, said in a statement issued Sunday that the donkey Charly was castrated by a veterinarian under anesthesia.

She said she agreed to keep Charly for a Lyon businessman, Jean Pierre Manivet, but the donkey's amorous interest in an elderly female donkey already on the grounds was so excessive as to endanger the female.

Manivet subsequently complained that his donkey was castrated without his consent.

Bardot said she tried unsuccessfully to contact Manivet before ordering the operation.

''I think I am above suspicion as to the way I treat and care for animals, whether they are confided to me or belong to me,'' she said in a statement.