Immediately after winning a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2020, Phoenix bore witness to pigs being sent to slaughter. He can be seen in the same attire he wore to the event when Jane Unchained News asked him why he attends these vigils. His response is simple, “Because I have to.” He goes on to say, “I think we have a moral obligation to talk about it and to expose it for what it really is.” By ‘we’ he means anyone who is aware of what goes on in the meat, dairy and egg industries, so that our collective voices bring awareness to those still in the dark—or in denial.
Shortly after his Oscar win in 2020, Phoenix saved two cows from slaughter. Two documentaries were made about these cows, Liberty—who is the mom and was named after Phoenix’s sister with her okay—was released in 2020. Indigo, which provides on update of Liberty’s calf, premiered on April 22nd this year.
Phoenix’s journey hasn’t been 100% perfect, and I doubt any vegan’s journey is. For example, in the past he’s taken roles when it called for him to use horses. I say ‘use’ not ‘ride’ because horses in the entertainment industry are used, and often abused. He regrets these choices, which he won’t make again.
I have an aversion to watching TV shows or movies that depict horses in some sort of human battle—when they are made to fall by having their heads aggressively pulled in one direction, and then falling on the hard ground, stabbed by fake swords, or whipped, spurred and run so hard that they are foaming at the mouth. All those scenes I find disturbing, and I don’t watch them. How many horses have sustained injuries while making entertainment for humans? How many have had to be euthanized?
Horses are brutalized each year in rodeos, the racing industry, and on busy city streets pulling carriages in heat and humidity for tourists. They have become slaves to humans for one reason: money.
Like all animals, horses are not here for our entertainment, or our consumption. Yes, that’s right, horses are killed for human consumption, even here in Canada. Canadian icon Jann Arden is on a mission to end the overseas live horse transport. Horses are regularly shipped in inhumane conditions to be killed for wealthy folks to eat raw.
While it’s not like anyone needs her permission to do so or that she has the power to prevent them from doing so, I’m not in agreement with her comment in a recent W5 report when she said, “If you want to eat horse meat, eat horse meat.” In my opinion, there are already far too many species used for human consumption. Nobody needs to eat horse meat. But my feeling is she said this to mollify those who eat horse meat and to refocus on the issue of live animal transport.
Arden goes on to say, “To watch horses go to their deaths, it’s horrible. I wish I’d never seen it; I wish I’d never heard it. It will be with me for the rest of my life. But because I’m able to bear witness, I can help them.”