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Joaquin Phoenix: The Voice for Vegan Activist

Updated on July 31, 2020


He had the Oscar speech that broke the internet. Joaquin Phoenix utters "...I think the greatest gift that it’s given me, and many people in [this industry] is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless. I’ve been thinking about some of the distressing issues that we’ve been facing collectively...We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal."


For decades, the oscar winning actor Joaquin Phoenix has been a very vocal activist for vegans and Mercy For Animals supporter. Phoenix has been on the big screen since he was 8 years old, alongside his famous late brother River Phoenix. Since then he has had lead roles in academy award winning movies like "Walk The Line" (2005), "He"r (2013), and his most recent role as the "Joker" (2019). Phoenix has stated in the past how big blockbuster movies were not a fulfilling enough role for him. One role that has always been fulfilling for him is the role of standing up for the forgotten victims of the world, animals.


In a 2019 interview Phoenix states, "I've been vegan since I was three years old. At that age me and my siblings witnessed fish being killed in a really violent way. It was obvious that it was something that we did not want to participate in or support." Shortly after that fishing trip Phoenix's entire family converted to veganism.
During his career, Phoenix has taken many opportunities along the way to help the animals and the planet. Before attending and winning the first tribute actor award at the Toronto International film festival, he led a protest against animal cruelty at the St. George transit station. The transit station was plastered with animal rights posters, he took time out of his day right before the big ceremony to protest with the advocacy group Toronto Pig Save. Phoenix is the type of celebrity that uses his fame to promote and encourage animal rights and other causes close to his heart.
On the opening weekend for the Joker, Phoenix attended movie screenings all around Los Angeles wearing an advocacy group called Animal Liberation Front sweatshirt. Phoenix's activism is nothing new. Back in the 90's he was raising awareness for veganism by starring in advertisements about saving turkeys on Thanksgiving. He encouraged families to instead indulge in a plant based meal.
Another cause that Phoenix tries to convince people is to stop using animals for fashion purposes. Ahead of the 2018 New York fashion week, he appeared on a controversial billboard ad located right outside the event. The nonprofit organization PETA teamed up with Phoenix for the ad, it read "Cruelty does suit me. Wool hurts, wear vegan."


Phoenix also contributes his voice to animal rights films, he narrated the 2005 documentary "Earthlings" which exposes societies over exploitation of animals for economic profit. Similarly, he also narrated parts of the 2018 documentary "Dominion" which explores the way in which humans and animals interact. It looks at how animals are exploited for human benefit for things like food, clothing, and entertainment. According to the Daily Mail, one journalist commented on the film saying "I believe it should be compulsory viewing for all omnivores." The film shows combined footage from hidden, handheld, and drone cameras of never before seen clips of how horrendous the empire of animal agriculture really is.


Phoenix believes he has a mission to spread awareness about the importance of veganism for the animals, planet, and human health. His activism has had such a powerful impact on Hollywood that now the Oscar pre-party events dinner have all gone plant based. Many other high profile celebrities praised Phoenix's for his actions. Phoenix activism and moral obligation is what makes him the cover boy for veganism.

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