Joaquin Phoenix is a big animal lover and now he’s being recognized for it.
On Monday, PETA announced that the “Joker” star is being named its 2019 Person of the Year, following in the footsteps of luminaries like Oprah Winfrey and Pope Francis.
Phoenix, who has been a vegan since he was three years old, recently appeared on a PETA billboard in Times Square, joined California lawmakers in announcing a ban on travelling wild-animal circuses, and led a memorial service at a National Animal Rights Day march cradling a dead chicken.
“I don’t want to cause pain to another living, empathetic creature,” he said during the “Joker” press tour. “I don’t want to take [their] babies away from [them]. I don’t want to force [them] to be indoors and fattened up just to be slaughtered. It is absurd and barbaric.”
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said, “Joaquin Phoenix never misses an opportunity to turn the spotlight away from himself and onto animals’ plight and to set a great example of walking the vegan walk. PETA is proud to kick off awards season by honouring his dedication to showing everyone that when it comes to feeling fear, pain, and love, a human being is no different from a hen or a hamster.”
Phoenix has also been involved in a number of other animal rights projects over the years, including producing and narrating documentaries focused on the issue.