When you witness the horror that really happens behind closed doors and slaughterhouses to farmed animals all over the world, it’s impossible not to be affected by it.
Joaquin Phoenix joined international animal protection organisation, Animal Equality, on Tower Bridge in London yesterday morning, in advance of the 73rd BAFTA ceremony, in a daring action to draw attention to animal agriculture being a leading cause of climate change.
Phoenix and other activists dropped a 390 square-foot banner that read “Factory farming is destroying our planet. Go vegan” from the iconic bridge as a plea to the public to break its dependence on animal products.
Joaquin said "I think we have a personal responsibility to take action right now and one way that we can mitigate climate change is by adjusting our consumption and by going plant-based.
"I feel sometimes like it’s not being talked about enough. So I’m just encouraging people to learn more about eating plant-based and to make a difference to make whatever personal impact they can on the climate emergency."
He added: "When you witness the horror that really happens behind closed doors and slaughterhouses to farmed animals all over the world, it’s impossible not to be affected by it and to realise that we have to do something drastic to stop it.
"So I’m just doing my part and trying to amplify the voice of these activists that are out every day, doing something, taking action, and the least I can do is take some time off today and come here to talk about this issue."
Throughout the action, Joaquin and other Animal Equality activists held placards showing the suffering of animals in factory farms, as well as the devastating impacts of animal agriculture on the environment and climate. Joaquin also handed out leaflets and talked with people passing by about a plant-based diet.
Sharon Núñez, the president of Animal Equality, , said: "Joaquin's dedication to animals and the environmental cause is extraordinary, he sees the absolute need for us to have serious conversations around the devastation that factory farming is having on animals, our planet, and our health."
She added: "Factory farming is a major contributor to water and air pollution as well as deforestation. At the same time, animal agriculture accounts for 14.5 percent of greenhouse emissions according to The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN.
"A vegan diet is one of the best ways to reduce our impact on the planet – by changing what we eat, we can change the course of our future."
Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from Animal Equality. Image: Victoria Jones/PA