Watch Joaquin Phoenix rescue a cow and her calf after advocating for animals in Oscars speech

Joaquin Phoenix carries a baby calf away from a slaughterhouse. (Photo: Shaun Monson)
Joaquin Phoenix carries a baby calf away from a slaughterhouse. (Photo: Shaun Monson)

If there were any doubts about whether Joaquin Phoenix was sincere in his Oscars speech advocating for animal rights, this should clear them up.

The Joker star rescued a cow and her baby from the Manning Beef facility in Pico Rivera, Calif., and took them to Farm Sanctuary in Acton, Calif., where they can live together in peace, without threat of being slaughtered.

The move came a day after Phoenix spent his time at the podium, while accepting the Best Actor trophy for his turn in Joker, decrying the way humans treat all of the natural world. He specifically cited the plight of cows. “We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and when she gives birth, then we steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable,” Phoenix said. “And then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”

Grassroots group Los Angeles Animal Save captured Phoenix’s efforts in a moving, 8-minute video.

It shows him touring the Manning Beef facility with Anthony DiMaria, the president and CEO. They argue a little over whether cows there are “harvested” or “murdered.” Then, Phoenix literally carries the calf out of the gates. Both animals, which Phoenix named Liberty (the mother) and Indigo (the baby), are later shown galloping around at their spacious new home.

A message at the start of the video explained that, when Phoenix spoke at the Oscars, his visit had not yet been planned.

Joaquin Phoenix rescues a cow and her calf. (Photo: Shaun Monson)
Joaquin Phoenix rescues a cow and her calf. (Photo: Shaun Monson)

Phoenix released a statement with the footage: “I never thought I’d find friendship in a slaughterhouse, but meeting Anthony [president/CEO of Manning Beef] 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.”

A news release about the rescue noted the Walk the Line star regularly attends L.A. Animal Save’s peaceful vigils at local slaughterhouses.

Phoenix’s advocacy work doesn’t stop there. He was reportedly the person who convinced the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the Golden Globes, to offer its first all-vegan menu this year.

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