THE MAN behind the fundraising effort to save the global phenomenon that is Benjy the “gay bull” is from Limerick.
John Carmody, Raheen, is campaigns director with Aran – Animal Rights Action Network – which has helped raise over €10,000 to save the Charolais bull from the frying pan. Magazine The Gay UK also helped to initiate the appeal and lead the LGBT call for his rescue. Co-creator of The Simpsons, Sam Simon even stumped up £5,000 after hearing about the story in Hollywood.
John spoke to the Leader in between taking calls from Russian TV and Fox in America.
“This all broke about a week ago when our local supporters in County Mayo expressed their concern for a bull we now know as Benjy who was going to be put to slaughter all because he was showing a sexual preference for male bulls.
“A local journalist got wind of this story from the farmer who I am now in touch with. There is no way in the world the farmer or the journalist thought this would go to literally every corner of the world,” said John.
The story has the power to change people’s way of thinking about animals too, he says.
“It has given us a huge opportunity to get people to connect the dots and our ultimate goal is not only to save Benjy. Up to last week most people would never have questioned whether bulls or cows would have these feelings. We know that dogs and cats have them, we’ve got that but it seemed the buck stopped when it came to these types of animals. But now we are able to bridge that gap,” said John, who encourages people to keep donating.
“The farmer is not getting the €10,000. The animal needs to be bought, transported to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwich and pay for his care there,” he said.
There has been a herd of media wanting to interview the farmer and meet Benjy but they managed to stay out of the glare of the spotlight.
“The farmer has remained completely anonymous. The only footage he would allow is amateur footage,” said John.
But John is planning a December photo call in Dublin where the press can photograph the bull.
“What could be better than to present Benjy with a Christmas gift that will literally last a lifetime, by giving him a one way ticket to freedom,” said John.
The story has left many farmers scratching their heads as it is not uncommon for a bull to show no interest in the fairer sex.
Limerick IFA chairman, Aidan Gleeson said if there is a bunch of young bulls together, gay or straight doesn’t come in to it as they jump on each other.
“That animal has landed on his feet and is going to live a very long and happy life, and good look to him. Saying whether an animal is gay or straight – and that is not saying anything against the gay community – but projecting that on to animals is a step we can’t really take,” said Aidan.