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The co-creator of The Simpsons intervened to save a gay Irish bull before his death

Sam Simon passed away yesterday.

Sam Simon Source: Tonya Wise/Invision/AP

Updated 11.44am

YESTERDAY, SAM SIMON passed away after a long battle with colon cancer.

The Simpsons co-creator was an animal rights activist, and made headlines in Ireland (along with the rest of the world) last year after his surprise intervention in the story of a gay bull in Mayo.

Benjy featured on an episode of RTÉ’s Countrywide, after local journalist Johanna McNicholas broke the story, where it was revealed that his owner planned to send the bull for slaughter as he wouldn’t mate with heifers – he was more interested in other bulls.

Animal rights groups both here and in the United Kingdom jumped into action, attempting to raise money for the purchase and transport of Benjy to a sanctuary.


The #SaveBenjy hashtag gained traction and caught people’s attentions around the world, but when £1,000 short of their £5,000 target, there was an unexpected intervention.

The co-creator of The Simpsons stepped into to cover all of the initial costs.

Simon said that PETA had contacted him and explained Benjy’s story.

“I felt compelled to help,” he said in a statement last November.

Ireland Gay Bull Source: AP/Press Association Images

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. It thrills me to help PETA and ARAN make Benjy’s fate a sanctuary rather than a sandwich

Benjy travelled to the Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk, which is home a range of animals including dogs, horses, sheep, pigs, and fowl.

Within days, it appeared as though he was already spotted having a chat with a young bullock at the sanctuary.

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Simon spend the last years of his life presiding over The Sam Simon Foundation.

This charity, founded in 2002, works to train dogs rescued from shelters to work as assistance dogs, such as hearing dogs, visitation dogs, and dogs for veterans.

This wasn’t his only charitable endeavour. Simon had a long history of philanthropy, donating millions to organisations like PETA and Save The Children over the years.

He previously said he gets “great pleasure” from it, and doesn’t feel as though it is an obligation.

Simon continued this even in death, donating his fortune, worth as much as $100 million, to charity, The Wrap reports.

Originally published 9.28am

Read: Benjy sets sail for the UK >

More: Co-creator of The Simpsons Sam Simon who saved Benjy the bull has died aged 59 >

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Nicky Ryan

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