A bull named Benjy, bought for breeding purposes by a farmer in Ireland, had been slated for slaughter by his owner after he proved "unproductive," showing a sexual interest for other bulls, not cows. But thanks to an online campaign, and the support of one of Hollywood's most philanthropic animal-lovers, the "gay" bull will now live out his life on a sanctuary.
Shortly after news of Benjy first appeared in The Connaught Telegraph earlier this month, the Irish group Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) announced plans to intervene.
"I want to get this animal into a sanctuary either here or in the UK, where it can peacefully live out the rest of its natural life," ARAN director John Carmody told the Telegraph.
The group was able to convince Benjy's owner to sell him, and folks from the Hillside Animal Sanctuary in the U.K. said that they were willing to care for the bull for the rest of his life - but saving Benjy and ensuring a happier existence for him wouldn't come cheap. So ARAN partnered with online magazine TheGAYUK to start a crowdfunding campaign to raise the £5,000 [$7,830] needed to cover Benjy's purchase and living expenses.
Within a week of launching on Crowdfunder, the campaign received more than £4,000 [$6,270] in backing. But in a surprise move on Tuesday, Hollywood writer-producer Sam Simon stepped in with a £5,000 donation toward Benjy's future, more than securing the bull's life on the sanctuary for years to come.
"All animals have a dire destiny in the meat trade, but to kill this bull because he's gay would've been a double tragedy," Simon said in a statement.
This isn't the first time that Simon has given generously to animal causes. Since being diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer two years ago, The Simpsons' creator has pledged to donated his entire $100 million fortune to charities supporting children and animals.
Media focus on Benjy's proclivity toward other bulls has been instrumental in garnering support for his cause, despite the fact that one need not look far to find other examples of homosexuality in the Animal Kingdom. While describing an animal's sexual orientation in human terms can be problematic, ARAN hopes to leverage the attention Benjy has received as a "gay" bull to point out that other cows are facing slaughter every day.
"We not only want to save Benjy, but we want to use this unique opportunity to reach the public with the plight of all animals on factory farms and slaughterhouses in the hopes of raising awareness that every single day, is a Benjy day for animals worldwide."
Every year, more than 42 million cows are killed on factory farms in the United States alone - each of whom are unique as individuals, but whose lives are all too often overlooked.