Sam Simon, a leading animal activist better known as a co-creator of "The Simpsons," has saved yet another life. This time, a thoroughbred racehorse named Valediction that may have been only months away from incurring a serious injury on the track.
Simon, 58, announced back in 2013 that he had been diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. As a result, he vowed to give away his substantial fortune in the service of animals. "One of the things about animal rights, which is not the only thing that I care about in this world, is that your money can bring success," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I see results. There is stuff happening, really good stuff, every week. I'm not sure you get that with a lot of disease charities."
Simon agreed to purchase Valediction after PETA president Ingrid Newkirk called him and shared with him the horse's troubled story. The animals rights organization had an undercover investigator work with Valediction's trainer and his assistant for more than four months, recording conversations that led to an expose in the NY Times chronicling significant cruelty to racehorses.
“We wanted to know exactly what happens to thoroughbreds in a top racing stable,” Kathy Guillermo, the senior vice president for PETA, said. “It was devastating to see sore, exhausted, drugged horses every single day. Some were in so much pain it hurt them even to stand, yet they were trained and run anyway.”
Valediction, already suffering from earlier injuries on the track, was being prepped to race yet again when a frontman for Sam Simon purchased the horse for $60,000.
“Valediction was in pain, arthritic and had suffered a fracture, and yet he was being prepared to race again, to wring every last dollar out of him,” Newkirk told NBC News. “If Sam Simon hadn’t stepped in to rescue him, I think it’s a safe bet Valediction would’ve had a catastrophic breakdown, that his next race would have been his last, and then, like most spent racehorses, he could’ve become hamburger.”
Valediction is now spending his remaining days at a farm in Loudoun County, Va. According to vets, the extent of his injuries means he'll never have to endure someone riding him ever again.
“When you watch them talk about Valediction as a rat and now you know he’s a in a pasture someplace, it makes you feel good," said Simon.
Check out the NBC News video with Sam below.
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