A Crowdfunding initiative has been successful in raising the funds to save Benjy, the gay bull from being sent to the slaughterhouse, by paying for him to be able to finish his days on a sanctuary. Since his plight was first published in the media, Benjy has become a celebrity. The farmer who owns him, who has asked to remain anonymous, came to discover through multiple attempts to have the bull inseminate his heifers that it was not going to work.
Benjy, despite testing as fertile and able to perform the function, just had a preference for the other bulls, and no interest at all in the females. Once a veterinarian confirmed that it was sexual orientation that was the barrier to the bull being able to fulfill his intended task, the farmer made the decision to bring another bull in for the insemination and prepare Benjy for slaughter. Hearing of his situation, and of the reasons for it, from a local news story, a Twitter campaign using the hashtag of #saveBenjy began to attempt to keep the bull from losing his life for the sake of his sexual orientation. As that began to take off, several groups got together to launch the crowdfunding campaign for the £5,000 necessary to secure him a spot at the Hillside Animal Sanctuary located in Norwich.
The cause was taken up by the Animal Rights Action Network in Ireland as well as The Gay UK to get the crowdfunding off the ground. In the past week of raising funds, a large chunk of the goal was met. In the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) joined the effort, and when the goal was only £1,000 away, a famous name stepped in after hearing about the story. Sam Simon, co-creator of the popular Simpsons franchise, donated the remaining money needed to save Benjy the gay bull from that Irish slaughterhouse.
Since his cancer diagnosis in 2012, Simon has been engaged in multiple charitable endeavors. He has reportedly decided to invest his time and money in the causes about which he is passionate. He heard about Benjy through PETA, and in addition to saving him, started a foundation for rescuing and retraining stray dogs called the Sam Simon Foundation. He commented on the “dire destiny” for bovines in the meat trade, but declared that it would have been a double tragedy if the bull would have lost his life simply for being gay.
This story, aside from being a feel-good rescue of a gay bull, is also adding to the political discussion in some arenas. The existence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom has been a sore spot for those who want to advance the opinion that sexual orientation is a choice rather than the way a person, or bull, is born. The publicity this situation has received has brought that heated discussion back to the forefront of public consciousness, with one bull right in the middle. Benjy may have been saved from that slaughterhouse, but being the famous gay Irish bull makes it unlikely that he has retired completely from the spotlight.
By Jim Malone