Animal rights come to Brazil's Carnival for a show with no feathers

Aguia de Ouro samba school to present theme on raising awareness of animal rights. The most committed can join the parade with their pets through the initiative, "Your Pet on the Avenue"

SAO PAULO, Feb. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Brazil's Carnival is recognized worldwide. It astonishes the world with its beauty, grandeur and the joy of all those people, as the biggest Carnival celebration in the world. It has years and years of tradition behind it, with all kinds of celebrations all over the land. But undoubtedly, the parades that take place in the sambadromes, both in Sao Paulo as well as Rio de Janeiro, attract the most international attention with the shows they put on. Defying Brazil's Carnival conventions, and embracing a greater awareness of animal rights, the Paulistana samba school, Aguia de Ouro ('Golden Eagle') - [] - has teamed up with one of the country's major activists to help increase the visibility of this subject. The school will not use any feathers at all in its show.

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It is estimated that every year, the 26 parades of special groups in Sao Paulo (14) and Rio de Janeiro (12) cost something on the order of US$35 million. In this setting, more than 19 tons of feathers are used for embellishment and to make the party happen from an aesthetic standpoint. A Carnival without feathers seems impossible to most carnavalescos, who use them in countless circumstances - whether it is to produce more dazzling costumes or even to hide the trim on the floats.

In each parade about 750 kilos of feathers are used, selling at an average rate of US$330 per kilo, in other words, each samba school consumes more or less US$330,000 in feathers, which works out to more than US$8.5 million just for the major productions. "These statistics are just for the special groups, but throughout all of Brazil there are so many celebrations with shows, and feathers are always present. It's an endless story, with a lot of death behind the celebration," as carnavalesco Amarildo explains.

Specifically for the festival, the most commonly used are duck, pheasant and ostrich feathers. The ostrich feathers are grand and imposing. Contrary to appearances, though, they are not "given away" by the creature as if they had fallen out naturally. On the contrary, they are mostly pulled out by force. Ostriches go through this process their whole life long. Pheasants, on the other hand, and also geese, are often bred in captivity just to have their feathers yanked out. "We had to do a lot of work to develop alternatives for a Carnival without feathers. We replaced them with elements made from plastic PET bottles," he concludes.

Your Pet on the Avenue

One float will be devoted to stories from the movies featuring animals as great stars. It will be carrying a big screen displaying more than 80,000 photos of persons engaged in the cause with their pets. The project "Your Pet on the Avenue" will help the school, and some of the proceeds will be allocated to the Rancho dos Gnomos Ecological Sanctuary Association (Associacao Santuario Ecologico Rancho dos Gnomos), which takes in animals of various species.

To participate, just click on the link [], fill out the registration form, make a donation of US$15, US$30 or US$60 via Paypal, and send the photo you'd like to see appearing in the parade. Aguia de Ouro will be the 7(th) samba school to appear on the Avenue on February 24, on the first day of parades by the schools in Sao Paulo's Special Group. When the school enters the avenue, the participants will receive an e-mail announcing the start of the parade. "We want the whole world to be on the avenue with their pets, whatever they may be," Amarildo exclaims. []

Honors and Attractions

With the slogan "Love is repaid with love," the school will bring to the avenue a variety of references touching on this subject. Dogs, because they have such a strong bond with people, are in first place, but many other animals will also put in an appearance.

Among those honored are the whale Tilikun, the gorilla Harambe, and the Brazilian jaguar Juma. One single float portrays the story of these animals: the orca from Orlando's SeaWorld in the U.S., featured in the documentary 'Blackfish; the gorilla, who was killed in a zoo in Cincinnati (OH) after he grabbed a 4 year-old boy who fell into his enclosure; and the jaguar who was put down by the Brazilian Army after the Olympic torch passed through the city of Manaus, Brazil, during the 2016 Olympic celebrations.

Their stories, as matters of worldwide concern, are told to draw in an ever increasing number of persons to reflect on how much animals suffer when kept out of their natural habitat, which often leads to their death.

"Animal rights have made it to samba," exclaims the school's carnavalesco, Amarildo de Mello. He goes on to say that this giant step forward proves how Brazil is on the path to greater awareness, but makes it plain that the country is still a beginner in this subject when compared to the rest of the world. "We are continuing in the effort to prove to the greatest possible number of people that animals deserve our respect," concludes Luisa Mell, ambassador of the school and one of Brazil's leading activists in this cause.

Other stories will be represented in the parade. Besides the movies, the school also addresses the issue of circuses, emphasizing that the ring is not the forest, and taking a position against the use of animals in circus spectacles. There will also be a wing of the parade in honor of seeing-eye dogs, who will be leading blind people and their relatives in the parade.

Characters such as Snoopy, Scooby-Doo, Rin Tin Tin, Santa's Helper (from the Simpsons), as well as animals created by Brazilian cartoonist Mauricio de Sousa, will also appear.

Samba theme song 2017 - Aguia de Ouro

Dawn has broken, the sun is upI'm a passionate one in the paradeWho truly loves youAnd will never make you sufferIf a flood comes I won't forget youLike Noah didLost in towers of BabelBut I will always be with youCharacter of great storiesThrills on the silver screenStar that inspiresIt's yours, the walk of fame of my carnival

Makes children laughWhen the villain failsA valiant hero, and oh so funnyAttraction of animated cartoons

Today my Aguia comes to askFor mankind to reflectIt is a new era, a new viewThe ring is no forestNor is the pool an oceanLike Luisa Mell doesDefend all animalsProtect these companionsWho guide and assistAnd who risk their lives for usThey are angels sent from heavenWho clamor for a better future

An artist's soulLady or the TrampFriend of the worldYour gaze is a caressCourt the moon in my shedLove that never ends

Technical Sheet

Aguia de Ouro Sidnei Carriuolo | President Amarildo de Mello | Carnavalesco Renato Candido | Director

Activists Luisa Mell | Instituto Luisa MellLuli Sarraf | Celebridade Vira LataMariana Castro | ItPetBlog

Contact:Lola []+55 11 30469575 +55 11 959043004 []

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