You might know Sam Simon best as the co-creator of “The Simpsons.” To 420 chinchillas being held in horrible conditions at a California breeding facility, though, he’s a hero. He just used his money and influence to save them from electrocution.
Simon, a longtime animal activist, partnered with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to provide the necessary funding to buy out the entire operation at the Adams Valley View Chinchilla Ranch in Vista, Ca.
The facility’s elderly owner, Lurlie Adams, had been trying to sell the farm for three years. Recently, she indicated she’d have to kill all 420 chinchillas at the facility and sell their pelts if she couldn’t get rid of them otherwise. That’s when PETA and Sam Simon jumped into action.
Adams was reportedly happy to take $50,000 for all the chinchillas — an amount that Simon provided to PETA to close the deal. Adams didn’t know PETA was behind this sale until the contract was signed.
One Little Advertisement Means a Fur Farm is Born
Adams and her husband began breeding chinchillas in 1966, when they saw an advertisement promising they could make millions raising the little furry critters. Over time, their ranch became one of the biggest chinchilla operations in California. Unfortunately, while the ranch presented itself as a pet breeder to the outside world, the reality was much darker.
Adams said the chinchillas which didn’t “work out” as pets were slaughtered and skinned for their pelts. The poor creatures were killed by means of “toe-to-ear” electrocution, which PETA says “immobilizes animals but leaves them fully conscious as they experience all the pain of a full-blown heart attack.” According to PETA, the American Veterinary Medical Association calls this method of euthanasia “unacceptable.”
While alive, the chinchillas lived in rows of tiny cages, isolated from one another. They got no real veterinary care. In fact, Adams told PETA she splinted little broken legs herself. She even performed limb amputations using wire snips and a few drops of brandy. Truly, these chinchillas lived and died in hell.
Watch PETA’s video of this incredible rescue here (warning, there’s some “before rescue” undercover footage that includes a demonstration of the electrocution process):
A Hero in a Time of Personal Crisis
Diagnosed in 2012 with metastasized colorectal cancer, Simon has since been aggressively spending his many millions on animal causes and feeding hungry families. As Care2 reported back in July 2013, Simon has been doing amazing things — buying up roadside zoos and circuses to free the animals, making major endowments to animal rights organizations, providing heathy vegan meals for needy families, and much more.
Since we shared that story, Simon has furthered his good work for animals. In January 2014, he funded the rescue and transport to sanctuary of 17 captive bears living in dank concrete pits at the Black Forest Bear Park in Helen, Ga. He was also the financial force behind the highly anticipated June 2014 rescue of Sunder, an elephant who’d been living for many years in a temple in India, shackled, beaten daily and starving.
“I have a desire to help animals,” Simon told Reuters. ”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.”
This Chinchilla Farm Will Never Open its Doors Again
Simon was present for the PETA rescue operation at the Adams Valley View Chinchilla Ranch, despite his fragile health. Reuters reports that he walked through the rows of tiny steel cages, telling the captive chinchillas, “This is your last day of abuse. This is your first day of freedom.”
Part of this deal includes a provision in the sale contract that the Adams property may never again be used to raise animals. In addition to the $50,000 for the purchase of the chinchillas, Simon also gave $100,000 to the San Diego Humane Society for their care while they await adoption as pets.
Sam Simon is still kicking butt on behalf of the animals, months past the date doctors gave him to live. May he live as long and as comfortably as possible. He’s a true hero for all animals who are suffering or in need. We salute you, Sam, and we thank you.
Photo credit (main image): Thinkstock