Natalie Blanton: Eco-Travel Discoveries in Brazil

Dear Nicora Family,


Wow. 1 week deep in Brazil. And while I stand by my “belly of the beast” comment from last week – it is truly fascinating to see how open people are to talking about environmental degradation due to animal agriculture, particularly here in the south. “Vegano” is a common identity/word here in São Paulo, complete with diverse vegan designated shops and restaurants, including a fully “vegan park” (think U.S. flea markets). Animal rights is one of the main, most momentous social movements here in this state and that is really exciting/refreshing to witness.


So much of Brazil’s cattle industry is unbridled and reckless in their rainforest destruction because of global north/Western diet demand and political corruption. It has been cited that 70% of the rainforest demolition is to make way for cows to graze, or aggressive mono-cropping of grains to then be fed to animals imprisoned in feedlots or CAFO’s relentlessly strewn across the globe. This hunger for cow meat and flesh has lead us down a truly terrifying road – the slash and burn of our planet’s lungs, the systemic erasure of indigenous people and their roots, and destruction of a vast, and diverse array of rainforest dwelling species and their habitat. So, here I am in Brazil. Trying to add my voice in the fight against these systems of oppression.


Yesterday was the court case to which I was the International Human Rights Observer for Animal Rights Activists here in São Paulo. To recap from last week: a member of Brazilian Parliament is suing 5 individuals for their critiquing his non-animal friendly policies on social media. Not only is this a horrific infringement of civil rights, it is also just embarrassing for that MP (Izar). To top it off, the MP did not show to this hearing, but merely sent his lawyers – who, with increasingly bad taste, and audible to the entire room, made plans to get BBQ for lunch after the hearing. Note: this MP supposedly has an animal protection political platform AND this was a room full of folks devoted to stopping cruelty to animals, in all forms. This is what we are up against. This is not a joke. And we will not stop fighting. In the end, the case is moving forward. The lawyers on both sides recognized the need for the MP to be present and I do feel that this case will set a new precedent for some version of  “freedom of speech” in Brazil. Think about how often we criticize our representatives, senators and hell, president in the US and get away with it…


After all? Animal rights = earth rights = human rights. And that cannot be ignored, or silenced. It was an honor to hear from, and stand with, these whistleblowers yesterday – and I will absolutely keep you updated on the trial.


Thanks for continually choosing compassion with every meal, fashion endeavor, or political action.


With gratitude,




Read Natalie's First Journal Entry Here


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