Europe

Benjy the gay bull saved from slaughter by Simpsons creator

  • 18 November 2014
  • From the section Europe
Benjy the gay bull Image copyright Joanna McNicholas
Image caption 'Glowing' at the news: Benjy the gay bull saved from the abattoir

A bull branded gay, has been saved from the slaughterhouse by charity donations, including £5,000 from Sam Simon, co-creator of the Simpsons.

Benjy, from County Mayo, Ireland, was destined for the abattoir after showing more interest in breeding with other bulls than cows.

Gay and animal rights campaigners launched a joint online campaign to save Benjy. It went viral.

Homosexual behaviour has been observed in 1,500 animal species.

'Large lamb'

Benjy's story first came to light when his owner mentioned to friend and local journalist, Joanna McNicholas, that Benjy was not fulfilling his farm role, and would have to be reluctantly sent for slaughter.

Ms McNicholas said: "He looks like a large lamb. He's very gentle and very quiet."

After Benjy's plight appeared in the Connaught Telegraph, it was picked up by the Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) in Ireland.

The Gay UK, an online daily magazine for the gay community, launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise £5,000 to buy Benjy and transport him to an animal sanctuary.

Bart and Benjy

In less than a week the campaign has raised over £9,000, including the surprise donation from Mr Simon on Tuesday morning.

Mr Simon was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012.

He is vegan and has donated to several projects to rescue animals from cruelty.

"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," said Mr Simon in a statement.

He said he was glad to help "make Benjy's fate a sanctuary rather than a sandwich".

Retirement

Benjy will now be transported from Ireland to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwich, and the extra funding will be used to ensure his lifelong welfare, said John Carmody of ARAN.

Ms McNicholas has not seen Benjy since the the campaign surpassed its target, but his owner reported that Benjy was "glowing" over the good news.

According to Ms McNicholas, the challenge of dealing with gay bulls in farming is not widely talked about. The animals are seen as "no good" or "useless".

Lions, penguins and cheetahs have all been observed to exhibit homosexual behaviour.

Bats are widely thought to be the animals with the highest rate of homosexuality among their male population.

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