Joaquin Phoenix hasn’t been wasting his acceptance speeches during this film awards season, addressing issues like global warming, the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations, and animal cruelty, not just on a superficial level, as if to tick these point-scoring boxes, but with actual calls for action and call-outs of the celebrity elite for their hypocrisy. But a day after he talked the talk at the Oscars, Phoenix walked the walk, putting his latest preaching into practice by saving a mother cow and her calf from a slaughterhouse.
Upon accepting the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as the Joker, Phoenix said as part of his speech:
“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.”
Farm Sanctuary, an animal protection organization that rescues many animals and gives them a peaceful life in their sanctuaries, has released a video of Phoenix visiting the slaughterhouse Manning Beef, getting acquainted with how the mother cow and its calf live, and talking and arguing with the facility’s owner on several points and especially whether the animals there are being “harvested” or “murdered.”
In the end, however, the two seem to reach a middle ground, and apparently, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened – Animal Save, whose founder Amy Jean Davis accompanied Phoenix, has rescued four other mother-child bovine duos from this very slaughterhouse. Phoenix’s fiancee Rooney Mara and the betrothed’s mothers, and Shaun Monson, director of Earthlings (a documentary on animal suffering which Phoenix voiced), also took part in the “operation.”
“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,” Phoenix told Farm Sanctuary. “Without his act of kindness, Liberty [the mother cow] and her baby calf, Indigo, would have met a terrible demise.”
“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 added.
These words are somewhat of a positive echo of the ones he said at the Oscars:
“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. We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity.”