Animal farm

Brazil’s Animal Farm

This week, President Jair Bolsonaro was bitten by a rhea — a large ostrich-like bird — while trying to feed the animal in the garden of the presidential palace, in the capital city Brasília. Clearly, the incident went viral, with the social media hordes lampooning the president. Mr. Bolsonaro has been infected with Covid-19 since last Monday. Fortunately, the disease doesn’t harm birds, meaning the rhea is doing well. 

The week in Brazil has been quite ‘animalesque.’ Besides the bird attack, a veterinary student in the capital was bitten by a cobra, leading to a serious investigation about animal trafficking, which happens to be behind only drugs and gun smuggling as the most profitable criminal business worldwide.  

Both cases were compared to George Orwell’s famous 1945 novel Animal Farm, which in Brazil is translated as “The Animals’ Revolution.” Some keen social media jokers have suggested the rebellious animals are looking to overthrow the government in the 2022 elections. 

And last month, First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro “adopted” a Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog, naming him Augusto Bolsonaro, The social media frenzy around this new pup lead to the dog’s actual owner being identified — it turned out Mrs. Bolsonaro hadn’t adopted the animal at all. In the end, Augusto only stayed with the First Family for 12 days, longer than some of Bolsonaro’s cabinet ministers have remained in office.

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