Activists are trying to save a "gay" bull reportedly slated for slaughter because the animal won't breed.
Benjy, a healthy pedigree Charolais bull, was purchased by an unnamed farmer living in County Mayo, Ireland, last year, the Irish Daily Mail reported. Instead of breeding with heifers on the farm, however, Benjy "appeared interested in chasing around the other bulls," Irish Central wrote. The farmer sought advice about the animal's sexuality and was told it's possible the bull could be gay.
Experts say bulls' libidos can differ.
“I can’t give you any data, but bulls do differ in their libido," Dr. Michael Baker, Beef Cattle Extension Specialist at Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, told The Huffington Post. "Whether they prefer males over females, I think would be quite rare, some are just more aggressive breeders. Bulls are generally raised for one purpose -- to breed cows. If they do not do that, then they go for meat production.”
Activists are now trying to save the bull from going to the slaughterhouse.
Gay magazine TheGayUK and the Animal Rights Action Network teamed up to start the #SaveBenjy movement. The groups want to raise enough money to buy Benjy from his owner, transport him to the United Kingdom and cover the costs of caring for him. Any remaining money will go to charities that help those in the LGBT community who are struggling with their sexuality.
The fundraiser has raised more than $6,000 thus far. John Carmody, campaign director for ARAN, told HuffPost he's "confident" the groups will reach their $8,000 goal within a day or so. He said the farmer wishes to remain anonymous.
"People across Ireland have been fantastic offering donations," he said. "[W]e were able to show that this animal is not a number, nor a sandwich, but more so another sentient being just like a dog or cat who wants to live."
Carmody says the effort is for more than just Benjy.
"As a gay man myself, I know only too well what it is like to be treated indifferently, that's why I hope we can give Benjy a second chance in life whilst helping to bring attention to the problems facing all gay people everywhere around the world, and of course the many other Benjy's that are brought to slaughter on a daily basis who are not so lucky," he told TheGayUK.
A representative for Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwich confirmed to HuffPost that it has offered Benjy a home once ARAN raises enough funds to transport the bull.
UPDATE: ARAN announced Tuesday that "The Simpsons" co-creator Sam Simon has offered to pay for Benjy's transportation to the animal sanctuary, according to the Associated Press.
"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," he said in a statement, per the AP. "It thrills me to help PETA and ARAN make Benjy's fate a sanctuary rather than a sandwich."
Simon has terminal cancer and is giving away his fortune to various charities, including those benefitting animals and fighting hunger.