James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Thu Apr 18 16:22:38 UTC 2002

>From Reuters, April 18, 2002

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) - A Brazilian animal protection group has sued power utility Light alleging that its campaign against illegal power connections, known as "cats," blackened the image of the felines and contributed to their ill-treatment.

"We want no money, just for them to stop referring to cats in their ads, as it gives a negative perception of cats to many people, especially children," Isabel Nascimento, head of Suipa animal protection society, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Illegal connections consisting of many interlaced wires can often be seen hanging from power lines in poor areas of Rio, resembling nests or cats. "Gato" means "cat" in Portuguese, but it also means "thief."

Rio de Janeiro''s main power distributor Light, majority owned by Electricite de France, has been on a crusade since February against power siphoning from the grid amid an energy shortage in the country.

Its wide media campaign featured meowing cats, calling to "say no to the cat."

Suipa says the campaign is too "aggressive" and could spur violence against cats. It alleges that the number of abandoned cats had grown 60 percent since February, and that a larger number of cats than usual had recently been found mutilated.

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