Joaquin Phoenix is standing up for what he believes in. Less than two days after accepting his Best Actor Oscar with a speech that was largely about animal rights, the 45-year-old actor helped to liberate a cow and her newborn calf from a Los Angeles slaughterhouse.
Phoenix joined Los Angeles Animal Save during his visit to Manning Beef in Pico Rivera, California, one of a few slaughterhouses that does not separate a cow and her calf.
After speaking to CEO Anthony Di Maria, Phoenix, who was joined by his fiancee, Rooney Mara, as well as both of their mothers, loaded the cow and calf into a trailer to transport them to Farm Sanctuary in Acton, California, where they will live from now on. Phoenix later named the mother Liberty and her calf, Indigo.
In a statement following the rescue, Phoenix spoke about the surprising similarities he found with Di Maria.
"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 said. "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."
"... Liberty and Indigo will never experience cruelty or the touch of a rough hand," he continued. "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."
Farm Sanctuary shared a video of Phoenix's experience on YouTube.
In his Oscars acceptance speech, Phoenix spoke about the process of getting milk from cows.
"We go into the natural world and 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," he said. "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," he continued. "And I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principals, we can create, and develop, and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment."
Watch the video below for more on Phoenix's speech.