Reading Time: 2 minutes Vegan actor Joaquin Phoenix rescued two cows from slaughter last year, and both now live at Farm Sanctuary Credit: Gary Smith
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Vegan actor and animal advocate Joaquin Phoenix featured in a short documentary detailing a slaughterhouse rescue he undertook last year.

Titled ‘INDIGO’, the Shaun Monson-directed film features Phoenix and his journey to rescue a cow and her calf from Manning Beef in California.

Additionally, it includes Phoenix’s visit to the rescued animals which now live at Farm Sanctuary. It was released on Earth Day this week.

Joaquin Phoenix

Phoenix named the cows after his sister, Liberty, and nephew Indigo – who passed away several years ago.

The rescue came after LA Animal Save called the Joker star following his famous Oscars speech last year.

In the film, Phoenix talks frankly about the rescue. He said: “The baby seemed kind of frozen in fear…

“You really get a sense of what they must be feeling – how terrifying their lives have been this far.”

He explained that once he dropped them off at Farm Sanctuary, the animals were nervous and skittish.

However, he got the chance to meet some of the other rescued cows. And, the video shows him interacting with them. ‘There was clearly a unique soul in there’, he said.

Farm Sanctuary visit

You can watch the short film on YouTube here

‘It came as a great release in knowing they were rescued from this factory of death, that they’d be rescued from imminent slaughter. 

‘And yet it felt a little bit unresolved because I wanted to see them completely liberated. I wanted to see them as free as possible’, he added in the film.

A year on, he revisited the cows with his sisters. He said ‘it was incredible to see them’ in their natural behavior.

Following the rescue, Joaquin Phoenix received a PETA major award for the ‘Most Inspiring Act Of Kindness To Animals’.

Animal agriculture

Phoenix explained the environmental detriment of animal agriculture is ‘undeniable’.

He added: “It’s also an acknowledgment of not only the destruction they feel at our hands but the environment as a whole.

“By our actions, we either have the choice to continue to destroy other beings and the environment. Or – we begin the process of reversing the damage that we’ve done.”

Phoenix in INDIGO

Joaquin Phoenix talks candidly in the film about the rescue from a ‘factory of death’ Credit: Gary Smith

The documentary ends with hard-hitting statistics regarding global meat consumption and its impact on the environment.

Meat production is estimated to ‘double’ by 2050, it states. This is a vast increase on the already ’80 billion animals currently slaughtered every year’.

Moreover, it concludes: ‘Climate change is imminent if we do not adopt a plant-based lifestyle’.

You can find out more about Farm Sanctuary here

Emily is a News and Features Writer for Plant Based News. She has previously worked as a journalist in Devon, UK, reporting on local issues from politics to the environment.