Families Eat Lizards and Animal Waste to Combat Hunger

Drought, pandemic and economic crisis leave residents of the interior of Rio Grande do Norte with no food option

Renata Moura

"The last time I ate meat was over a month ago. That's when I helped skin a cow."

Adailton Oliveira lives in Senador Elói de Souza, a municipality in Rio Grande do Norte that declared a state of public emergency due to the drought. He recalled that the cow was dying of weakness, hungry, and had to be slaughtered by its owner.

The pieces were cut where they fell. Adailton, 52, says he ate "the hand," one of the front paws. With his wife, Sebastiana. He made the cut last for 20 days on an improvised wood stove.

The family's foodstuffs are counted. The R$170 of Bolsa Família "doesn't amount to anything," says Adailton, and the pandemic's emergency aid is over.

This report on hunger in the region adds to those of other Brazilians across the country.

This year, images of ox bones being fought over by residents of Rio de Janeiro and sold as an extra product in a butcher shop in Santa Catarina gained notoriety.

And, in Fortaleza, prime and second-rate meat bones were also included on the list of items in some butcher shops, when they had been previously given away.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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