Less than two weeks after his Academy Awards speech decrying mankind’s plummeting of the Earth’s resources and its treatment of cows in the dairy and meat industry, Oscar-winning actor, vegan, and activist Joaquin Phoenix is walking the walk. In a video shared on Thursday by animal rights nonprofit Farm Sanctuary, Phoenix is seen rescuing a mother cow and her newborn calf from a Pico Rivera slaughterhouse, and personally delivering them to another facility held by Farm Sanctuary. Phoenix dubbed the rescued cows Liberty (that’s the mama) and Indigo (her baby), and offered a statement to accompany the video. Watch below.
“I never thought I’d find friendship in a slaughterhouse, but meeting Anthony [Di Maria, president/CEO of the slaughterhouse] and opening my heart to his, I realize we might have more in common than we do differences,” Phoenix said. Di Maria said, as seen in the video, that whenever a cow on his property gives birth to a calf, he refuses to separate them. Though they reach a detente by the clip’s end, they initially engage in some verbal sparring over the use of the words “harvested” vs. “murdered” to label what happens to the animals at the slaughterhouse.
“Without his act of kindness, Liberty and her baby calf, Indigo, would have met a terrible demise,” Phoenix said. “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 was also accompanied by representatives from the advocacy group LA Animal Save, which regularly hold vigils for slaughtered animals.
“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,” Phoenix said.
To refresh, upon winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in “Joker,” Phoenix said: “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. 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.”