Bolsonaro got his dog to sign a law against animal abuse

Bolsonaro got his dog to sign a law against animal abuse

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has signed a bill with his dog Nestor to increase the penalties for those who abuse pets. He appeared happy, Nestor a little less

(photo: SERGIO LIMA / AFP via Getty Images) If Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro doesn't care too much about the fires in the Amazon rainforest or the Covid-19 epidemic , the welfare of animals seems to be particularly close to his heart. Only the domestic ones, though. Recently approved by the Brazilian Congress, a new national legislation provides for more severe penalties than the previous one for those who mistreat dogs and cats, with fines and imprisonment between two and five years (previously a regime with penalties of up to 12 months was in force). Violators may even be prohibited from adopting animals again.

The signing ceremony at the Planalto Palace soon became a source of internet memes for Brazilians and the rest of the world, and for well-founded reasons: Bolsonaro had photographers immortalize himself having his his dog Nestor the legislative text, and several other dogs were brought to the ceremony (among others, a pit bull victim of machete abuse in a city in the Southeast).

Many commentators believe that the new law is nothing more than an attempt to improve Bolsonaro's image as a leader, following a pattern well known to many populists. It is difficult for the law to be effectively enforced in Brazil - a country with a vast territory, where central institutions have not always taken hold - but in the meantime Bolsonaro can play the photo opportunity with man's best friend. Nestor, however, had the expression of someone who feels used.

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