Celebrity endorsements are big business. Some professional sports people can make more from having their name associated with products than from wages or winnings. Likewise having a celebrity’s name or image associated with your product is very effective advertising.

It’s no different when it comes to campaigns and fundraisers. Having a famous name backing your cause assures you of media coverage, especially if you can create a link.

Probably the strangest new celebrity is Benjy the so called “gay bull”. The animal rights group ARAN spotted an opportunity and stepped in to rescue Benjy from being fattened for beef.

Animal rights groups

So what do the multitude of animal rights groups including PETA and HSUS basically believe? Most will be familiar with animal welfare groups like the ISPCA but these are fundamentally different. The rights groups treat animals almost as humans, believing that using animals for any work or commercial purpose is the same as slavery.

The more extreme treat meat as murder and milking as stealing. Even AI and disbudding calves are opposed as being contrary to nature, and animals should be free to roam if not in a sanctuary for their protection.

I say “rescue”, but in reality he was purchased from the farmer.

Similar groups around the world have access to huge fundraising ability through high profile personalities. This time the status of the bull himself has been used to start a crowd-funding campaign.

The target of stg£5,000 should have one certain Mayo farmer smiling all the way to the bank. It seems by the latest reports that the target has now been well exceeded. All this despite the ARAN website recommending that no animal should be bought as it only encourages breeding for money.


Where this policy of not exploiting animals falls down in this case is the plan to use Benjy to highlight their cause and “bring national attention to all animals farmed” according to John Carmody of ARAN. I fail to see how this is different to any animal acting in films, or horses pulling carriages, or guide dogs for the blind, all of which are being opposed.

Calling the bull by a name is normal as all pedigree stock are named. What is not normal is the attempt to make this a gay rights issue. It is just another way to humanise Benjy. If it was an issue then some deserted wives organisation should be shouting for the cows left behind, and a children’s group representing the weanling bulls Benjy apparently took a shine to. In fact I similarly believe the calling of working animals as slaves trivialises the phenomenal work of human rights groups.

Animal transport

Meanwhile, ARAN must be delighted there are ships approved to carry livestock so that their new working bovine can travel to England, despite their opposition in conjunction with CIWF to live exports.

Strange world!