By World News Report Bureau
Pets outnumber children in Brazil the fifth largest nation in the world sharing a border with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador.
Brazil has the unique distinction of having the greatest variety of animals — more than any country in the world. It is home to 600 mammal species, 1,500 fish species, 1,600 bird species, and 100,000 different types of insects.
There are 52.2 million pet dogs in Brazil while the number of children aged 0 to 14 years is 44.9 million, reported Brazil’s G1 news website.
Brazilians have nearly 36 million pups and small dogs at home–more per capita than any country in the world, according to a Euromonitor survey.
That is because of Brazil’s rapidly expanding middle-class population.
In the last nearly one decade the purchasing power of average Brazilian household has shot up significantly while the family size has decreased as a result of effective family planning norms. Young Brazilians live in small homes. They start earning early but marry late and think of having children last. In between when they feel bore or lonely, they keep a small pup.
This is where our story takes a little twist as there are two kinds of dogs in Brazil– pets and the most neglected stray dogs.
Some 44.3 percent of Brazilian households have at least one dog. Each household has 1.8 dogs on an average, Xinhua reported.
The pets dogs owned by upper-class Brazilians are pampered by their owners.
But as far as the stray, wild or abandoned dogs are concerned, less said the better. No one cares for them, many of them are not even fed properly.
The same goes for pets who grow old or seriously ill- their owners simply abandon them at places far from their home. Greater São Paulo a small island is one such place where most Brazilians abandon their pet dogs when they get sick. It’s an island populated by stray and abandoned dogs many of whom die of disease or starvation, but no one cares.
Cats, though less favoured by Brazilian households, are still numerous.
The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) estimated that 28.9 million households — or 17.7 percent of the total — own at least one cat, averaging 1.9 cats per household.
But Brazilians are somewhat derelict in performing their duty as pet owners.
According to the IBGE, only 75.4 percent of owners had vaccinated their pets against rabies during the 12 months before the survey was taken in 2013. Yearly rabies vaccines are mandatory in Brazil.
(with inputs from IANS)