Less than 48 hours after Joaquin Phoenix hoisted the first Oscar of his career the Joker star was cradling a newborn calf that he rescued from a Los Angles slaughterhouse.
A just-released video from Farm Sanctuary shows the somber 45-year-old star liberating both the calf and her mother from a Pico Rivera slaughterhouse while visiting the facility with his fiancee, Rooney Mara, and a delegation of the Los Angles Animal Save activist group.
The visit and the short film punctuated a triumphant awards season for Phoenix that saw him sweep all of Hollywood top trophies for his on-screen metamorphosis in the billion-dollar hit Joker. Phoenix used much of his microphone time along the way to promote the vegan lifestyle and to frame animal agriculture as an environmental plight.
The video, shot by Shaun Monson, shows the Walk the Line and Gladiator star escorting the cow and her calf to a facility used by Farm Sanctuary. Phoenix named the bovine refugees Liberty and Indigo, respectively.
The rescue was preceded by the actor’s impromptu discussion with Anthony Di Maria, the CEO of the slaughterhouse, and a tour of the paddocks of Manning Beef. At one point the businessman and the thespian have a semantics debate (“harvest” vs “murder”) but the footage as presented in the short film show a respectful interaction throughout.
The cow gave birth in the holding area of Manning Beef in Pico Rivera, CA. They are the fifth bovine mother and child rescued from Manning Beef by L.A. Animal Save, the grassroots group that holds peaceful vigils at area slaughterhouses. Phoenix is a regular attendee, according to the group.
Phoenix also released a statement through the activist group:
“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. 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.”