Reading Time: 2 minutes Joaquin Phoenix rescues a cow and her calf from slaughter
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Vegan Joaquin Phoenix has won a major award for rescuing a cow and her calf from slaughter.

The Oscar-winning Joker star was awarded a PETA Libby prize for ‘Most Inspiring Act Of Kindness To Animals’.

Animal rescue

Back in February, Phoenix negotiated the release of the two animals from Manning Beef. The cows – named Liberty and Indigo – will now live out the rest of their natural lives alongside other rescued animals at the Acton branch of Farm Sanctuary.

The rescue, which was also attended by Phoenix’s vegan fiance Rooney Mara, Los Angeles Animal Save Founder Amy Jean Davis, Farm Sanctuary and  President and Co-founder Gene Baur.

Vegan Joaquin Phoenix

Earthlings director, Shaun Monson, also attended – documenting the event in a short film.

The film shows Phoenix speaking to slaughterhouse owner Anthony DiMaria. Phoenix says: “I don’t need any science to see with my own eyes and hear how an animal responds to pain. Right? That’s undeniable.”

“What if I tell you that here, an animal will perish in 60 seconds?” asks DiMaria. “It has to. That is the most humane, humane harvest process in the country.”

Phoenix replies: “You are the only one you know of that has a process that you have. So that means the majority of them don’t have that. And it’s not only just the death, it’s the process leading up to that death, right? Raising it, the transportation, the separation from the family.”

Talking about the animals presently at the facility, Phoenix and DiMaria quibble over terminology, with the actor repeatedly saying the animals will be ‘murdered’, and the slaughterhouse owner preferring the word ‘harvested’.

Phoenix: ‘More in common’

DiMaria then offers Phoenix and Bauer the chance to rescue the mother and baby – as he will not kill mothers and their offspring. The film documents that this is an exception to the rule at most slaughterhouses.

Phoenix said: “I never thought I’d find friendship in a slaughterhouse, but meeting Anthony [President/CEO of the slaughterhouse] 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.

“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.

“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.”

‘Compassionate celebrities’

“These compassionate celebrities didn’t let the pandemic stop them from walking the walk when it comes to kindness to animals,” Marta Holmberg, PETA senior director of youth programs, said in a press statement about vegan Joaquin Phoenix and other winners.

“PETA is honoring the superstars who are leading by example and proving that helping animals can be as simple as whipping up jackfruit enchiladas or buying a vegan lipstick.”

Other Libby winners include Tabitha Brown and Billie Eilish among others.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.