People

Published: Friday August 22, 2014 MYT 9:40:00 PM
Updated: Saturday August 23, 2014 MYT 4:11:14 PM

The Simpsons’ co-creator is an angel to chinchillas

Fighting his own battle with cancer, Hollywood mogul Sam Simon devotes his fortune to rescuing animals from pain and cruelty.

For his latest good deed, the 59-year-old Simon has bought a chinchilla farm in Southern California to save the adorable rodents as part of a drive by animal rights activists to close the breeding facility. In what all parties described as a “win-win” deal, 90-year-old owner Lurlie Adams was able to offload the farm to Simon for US$50,000 (RM158,436).  

In addition to buying the farm, Simon donated US$100,000 to the San Diego Humane Society to care for the 425 rescued chinchillas, which have now been moved to larger cages. They will eventually be offered up to pet owners for adoption at a cost of US$25 each.

“This is your last day of abuse,” Simon told the animals as he walked, accompanied by a nurse, through the facility’s cramped rows of mesh-wire cages on the day of the sale. “This is your first day of freedom.”

Angel of chinchillas: Hollywood mogul Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons, looks at cages at a chinchilla farm after he financed the purchase of the facility by PETA in order to rescue over 400 chinchillas and close the business in Vista, California. – Reuters

Activist group People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which helped broker the Aug 19 sale behind the scenes, is hailing the closure of one of California’s largest breeders of chinchillas. PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange says that Adams, who has been trying to sell the farm for three years, signed a contract saying the land will never again be used to rear the animals.

The farm’s former owners, Adams and her husband, opened the Valley View Ranch in Vista, about 40km north of San Diego, in 1966 after answering an ad that said they could be millionaires if they raised chinchillas. Adams says that she was unaware PETA were involved until the sale had gone through. “I didn’t find out until today that they’re shutting it down and adopting the animals out.”

Simon, whose portfolio also includes Emmy awards for his work on TaxiCheersThe Garry Shandling Show and half a dozen other projects, was diagnosed with metastasized colorectal cancer in 2012. He has long been active in philanthropy and is particularly keen on causes that involve children and animals.

In June, he rescued Sunder, an Indian elephant that had been shackled in a temple in India, beaten and starved. Before that, he paid for the rescue and relocation of bears in the US state of Georgia. “I have a desire to help animals,” says Simon. “The question of whether it makes financial sense, it’s my money and I get to do what I want with it. It’s an expensive hobby I picked up at the end of my life.” 

Expensive, but worth every cent. – Reuters

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, People, People, Animal, Sam Simon, The Simpsons, co creator, Hollywood mogul, chinchilla, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, philantropy, philantropist, fur industry

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