Two days after Joaquin Phoenix won the first Oscar of his career for the Joker, the actor rescued a newborn calf and her mother from a slaughterhouse in Los Angeles.
In a video released by Farm Sanctuary, an American animal protection organization, Phoenix visits a Pico Rivera slaughterhouse with his fiancée Rooney Mara and a delegation of the Los Angeles Animal Save activist group.
The 45-year-old actor rescues the calf and her mother from the Manning Beef slaughterhouse, which does not kill the calves and their mothers.
After speaking with Anthony Di Maria, the CEO of the slaughterhouse, Phoenix escorts the cow and her calf to a facility used by Farm Sanctuary in the video.
Phoenix and Di Maria debate the terms of “harvest” and “murder” in reference to what happens to the cows at the slaughterhouse.
According to the press release, the cow named Liberty and the baby calf named Indigo are the fifth mother and child rescued from Manning Beef.
“Any time a calf is born on my property, I refuse to take the mother away from its baby, because I won’t do it,” Di Maria told Phoneix in the video.
Phoenix released a statement through Farm Sanctuary, saying: “I never thought I’d find friendship in a slaughterhouse, but meeting Anthony and opening my heart to his, I realize we might have more in common than we do differences.”
“Without his act of kindness, Liberty and her baby calf, Indigo, would have met a terrible demise. Although we will continue to fight for the liberation of all animals who suffer in these oppressive systems, we must take pause to acknowledge and celebrate the victories, and the people who helped achieve them,” Phoenix said.
He continued: “Shaun Monson, Amy Jean Davis, and the entire LA Animal Save community, have taken their pain of bearing witness and turned it into effective, diplomatic advocacy for the voiceless. As a result, Liberty and Indigo will never experience cruelty or the touch of a rough hand. My hope is, as we watch baby Indigo grow up with her mom Liberty at Farm Sanctuary, that we’ll always remember that friendships can emerge in the most unexpected places; and no matter our differences, kindness and compassion should rule everything around us.”
During Phoenix’s Best Actor speech at the 2020 Oscars, he touched on the cruelty of the food industry toward animals.
“I think whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice — against the belief that one nation, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control, and use and exploit another with impunity,” the actor said.
He continued: “I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we’re guilty of is an egocentric worldview — the belief that we’re the centre of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby. Even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. And then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”
“And I think we fear the idea of personal change because we think that we have to sacrifice something to give something up but human beings, at our best, are so inventive and creative and ingenious, and I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop, and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.”