The New York Times puts it best: France was punished Thursday for not taking proper care of a 10-inch citizen.
The European Union's highest court said that if France doesn't adjust its policies to protect the Great Hamster of Alsace, it could face as much as $24.6 million in fines. The Times adds:
The Great Hamster, which can grow up to 10 inches long, has a brown-and-white face, white paws and a black belly. There are thought to be about 800 left in France, with burrows in Alsace along the Rhine. That is an improvement: the number had dropped to fewer than 200 four years ago, according to figures from the European Commission, which brought the lawsuit in 2009.
The case, reports CNN, goes back three years and the court said that "the measures implemented by France in 2008 were not adequate to enable effective avoidance of deterioration or destruction of the breeding sites and resting places of the European Hamster."
On this blog, we don't take sides, but... look at the face on that little critter:
Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on June 7, 2011 in Hunawihr, eastern France, in a breeding center dedicated to the reintroduction of the specimen, shows a Great Hamster of Alsace.
A picture taken on June 7, 2011 in Hunawihr, eastern France, in a breeding center dedicated to the reintroduction of the specimen, shows a Great Hamster of Alsace. Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images