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Animals have lost a stalwart ally with the passing of PETA Honorary Director and entertainment giant Sam Simon.
Immediately after Sam was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he summoned me to his hospital room to help him draw up his unique “bucket list”. Sam didn’t want to climb Mount Everest or go skydiving. He wanted to save animals’ lives.
Sam said that the last two years of his life — in which he worked with PETA to close bear pits; rescue an abused elephant in India; send lone roadside zoo chimpanzees to a sanctuary; and find homes for hundreds of chinchillas, a camel, and even Benjy, the bull condemned to death in Ireland for being “gay” — were the happiest of his life. He took boyish delight in throwing open cages and letting animals run and jump and climb and swim for the first time in years — or the first time ever.
I’ll bet following Ringling’s announcement that it will be retiring all its elephants, Sam died with a smile on his face, knowing that elephants were on their way out of the circus, something that, together with the closure of SeaWorld, he dreamed of and talked about all the time.
President PETA US
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
16th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
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