The central challenge we face is the severe economic and political crisis plaguing Brazil. Harsh austerity is being imposed across the board and, as usual, those who are most marginalized, most voiceless, most in need, are the ones bearing the brunt of the suffering. The few services that existed for both homeless people and homeless animals have been slashed or eliminated altogether.
In 2016, my husband successfully ran for a seat on the Rio de Janeiro City Council. He featured programs to help the homeless population, as well as animal rights, as a centerpiece of his campaign, only to find, upon taking office, that the finances of the city, the state and the federal government are so dire that obtaining any funding for such programs is virtually impossible. One of the first announcements of Rio’s newly elected conservative mayor was the elimination of the office that provided services to the city’s animal population.