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  • Actor and vegan activist, Joaquin Phoenix,

  • has been on our screen since he was eight years old.

  • His first every role was on the tv series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

  • alongside his late brother River Phoenix.

  • Since then, he's had lead roles

  • in academy award-winning movies

  • including 2005's Walk the Line.

  • Hello, I'm Johnny Cash.

  • And 2013's Her.

  • Hello I'm here.

  • - Hi. - Hi, I'm Samantha.

  • Most recently Phoenix starred

  • as the iconic DC Comics Batman villain in 2019's Joker.

  • - One small thing. - Yeah.

  • When you bring me out, can you introduce me as Joker?

  • The role was a departure for Phoenix,

  • who once said he didn't feel big blockbuster movies

  • were fulfilling enough for him.

  • One role that it's always fulfilling for the three-time Oscar-nominated actor

  • is standing up for animals.

  • I've been vegan since I was three years old.

  • And at that age, my and my siblings

  • witnessed fish being killed in a really violent and aggressive way.

  • And it was just absolutely obvious

  • that that was something we didn't want to participate in,

  • and we didn't want to support.

  • Two months after the fishing trip,

  • Phoenix's entire family converted to veganism.

  • Now, even his dogs are vegan.

  • He rescued Soda, a large white pit bull mix

  • from Euthanasia 13 years ago.

  • During his career, Phoenix has taken many opportunities along the way to help the animals.

  • Just hours before receiving the first Tribute Actor Award

  • at the Toronto International Film Festival,

  • Phoenix led a protest against animal cruelty

  • at the St. George subway transit station.

  • The event tour of the train station

  • which was plastered with animal rights posters,

  • it was led by Phoenix and Anita Kranjnc,

  • of the vegan advocacy group, Toronto Pig Save.

  • The only window he had was 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. today

  • and he has this big awards ceremony

  • yet he took time out to come see Be Fair, Be Vegan Toronto,

  • because it's so close to his heart.

  • So he's the type of celebrity that uses his fame

  • to promote animal rights and other good causes.

  • Phoenix agreed with Kranjnc

  • that these types of ads should be in cities everywhere,

  • including Los Angeles where he lives.

  • And we'd like to see these ads

  • in the city centers everywhere.

  • Absolutely.

  • You'd like to see it in L.A.

  • Absolutely

  • On the opening weekend of Joker,

  • Phoenix attended screening of the movie around L.A.

  • wearing an Animal Liberation Front sweatshirt.

  • The faceless direct action group

  • is funded through donations and the sale

  • of merchandise such as Phoenix's sweatshirt.

  • Phoenix's activism isn't new though.

  • Back in the 90s he was raising awareness about veganism.

  • He started an advertisement urging the public

  • to save turkeys on thanksgiving

  • by choosing plant-based food instead.

  • In 2013, he appeared in an anti-fishing campaign.

  • Phoenix is shown underwater thrashing around

  • because he can't breathe, just like fish

  • who suffocate when they are pulled from the water.

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  • Phoenix also tries to convince people

  • top stop using animals for fashion.

  • Ahead of New York Fashion Week in 2018,

  • he appeared on a thought-provoking billboard ad

  • located close to the event.

  • He wore a vegan wool suit which was designed

  • by cruelty-free label Brave GentleMan.

  • I never knew that suits were made of wool.

  • I had that rationalization, well it's something

  • that is just taken off them and there's not a lot of abuse.

  • Which seems incredibly naive and that's

  • the nice way of saying it.

  • The billboard read, "Cruelty doesn't suit me."

  • "Wool hurts, wear vegan."

  • He has also spoken out against China's dog leather industry.

  • He described footage from an investigation into the industry

  • as one of the worst things he's ever seen.

  • Dogs are taken from the streets

  • in China and beaten to death.

  • Their skin is then turned into leather accessories

  • like belts and bags.

  • Phoenix said in a campaign video against the trade,

  • "Products made from dog leather are exported

  • around the world to be sold to unsuspecting customers."

  • So if you buy leather gloves, belts, or shoes,

  • remember there's no easy way to tell

  • whose skin you're really in.

  • If you love dogs like I do then please

  • never buy or wear leather.

  • Whether it comes from a dog, a cow, or any other animal.

  • He's still starring in campaigns.

  • He appears on the New York City billboard

  • with the tag #endspeciesism.

  • The image shows Phoenix with a chicken,

  • whose eye is positioned just over his

  • so that both appear aligned.

  • He said about the campaign, "When we look at the world

  • "through another animal's eyes, we have to realize

  • "that inside we're all the same.

  • "And so we all deserve to live free from suffering."

  • Phoenix has also contributed his voice

  • to animal rights films.

  • He narrated 2005's Earthlings,

  • a documentary about humanity's exploitation

  • of animals for economic gain.

  • The film, written and produced by activist Shaun Monson,

  • looks at exploitation in the pet, food, clothing,

  • and entertainment industries as well

  • as in scientific research.

  • Animal trainers would like for the public to believe that animals

  • are coaxed into such behaviors with the promise of rewards.

  • But the truth is the animals perform

  • because they fear punishment.

  • The idea was to try a different approach

  • so it wasn't just horrible footage

  • over and over and over again.

  • But to try to sort of logically speak to people

  • and say okay look, how come we cultivate

  • love and compassion here for this being

  • but in the same breath have a total attitude

  • of aggression toward this being?

  • Phoenix also narrated parts of 2018's Dominion.

  • Similar to Earthlings, the film co-produced by Monson,

  • explores the way in which humans and animals interact.

  • It looks at how animals are exploited for human benefit.

  • The movie is so disturbing. some viewers

  • are unable to watch it in it's entirety.

  • According to the Daily Mail, one social media wrote,

  • "Got six minutes into Dominion

  • and that's all I could cope with."

  • Another added, "I believe it should be

  • compulsory viewing for all omnivores."

  • Some said they felt sick while watching.

  • And others said that although they found it difficult,

  • they forced themselves to watch the whole thing.

  • The film combines footage from hidden,

  • handheld, and drone cameras.

  • It shows never before seen footage

  • to convey how terrifying the empire

  • of animal agriculture really is.

  • A number of other celebrities helped to narrate the film,

  • including Sadie Sink, Kat Von D, Sia,

  • and Phoenix's fiance Rooney Mara.

  • Mara and Phoenix met on the set of Her but fell in love

  • during the filming of 2018's Mary Magdalene.

  • Mara is also vegan and passionate about animal rights.

  • She loves sustainable, cruelty-free fashion.

  • So much so that she founded her own

  • vegan fashion line, Hiraeth in 2018.

  • The brand is born out of a desire

  • to connect shoppers with the items they're buying.

  • Mara told Vogue in 2018, "In fast fashion,

  • "you can find faux leather boots that are really cheap,

  • "but while it's cruelty-free in the animal sense,

  • "I didn't necessarily know where those things were made,

  • "or if they were cruel towards humans.

  • "I didn't want to compromise on either thing

  • "and I wanted pieces that were made to last.