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Thursday, January 26, 2023

What Joaquin Phoenix Says About New Photobook on Animal Cruelty

Activism to stop animal cruelty is often laughed off by people, brushed under the carpet, or just dismissed as something frivolous. But when celebrities become vocal about the cause, it garners a lot of attention.

Similar is the case with a newly published photobook that shows the true face of animal cruelty. Hidden: Animals in the Anthropocene has gained immense popularity, especially due to its connection with ‘Joker’ actor Joaquin Phoenix.

animal cruelty
A macaque performs in a popular street show in Jakarta, known locally as Topeng Monyet (Mask Monda)

Compiled with the work of world’s 40 most renowned photographers, the photobook’s foreword has been given by Phoenix. A vegan from many years and a passionate advocate for animal rights, Phoenix says that the images in the book reveal some of the “darkest, most unsettling places in the world”.

joaquin phoenix
Steel barriers, concrete floors, tiled walls and push-button technology make up the habitat of the modern day dairy herd.

Published by animal welfare nonprofit We Animals Media, the hardcover shows the hidden reality of the abuse, cruelty and suffering in animal products industry across the world. ‘Hidden’ exposes the brutal torture suffered by millions of invisible animals in our lives: those we eat and wear, those we use in research and entertainment, and those we sacrifice in the name of tradition and religion. The 320-page collectible hardcover offers more than 200 images spanning six continents.

animal cruelty
A sick pig left to die on the floor of a farm corridor.

In an interview with Beet, Phoenix had said, “Our society conditions us to believe that humans are superior to other species; within this, it also wants us to think that some animals are meant to be eaten while others should share our homes. Wealthy industries churn out dazzling advertising campaigns and propaganda to lure children, parents, and other consumers into believing falsehoods that make us ill, exploit entire communities and wreak havoc on our planet. We are entrenched in the ideology that animals are here for us to use. We capture them, cage them, wear their skin, eat their flesh, and poison their bodies in the name of science. There will never be a scenario in which the infliction of fear and pain on a vulnerable individual creates a benefit to humankind.”

animal cruelty
In slaughterhouses, cows are immobilized by having a blade thrust into their spinal cord, a process known as pithing.

Phoenix has been an unabashed advocate of animal rights and his speech at the Oscars last year proved to be highly instrumental in furthering the cause of animal welfare. Phoenix and his wife Rooney Mara are also producing a new documentary titled ‘The End of Medicine’, which draws attention to the relation between zoonotic diseases and animal farming. The vegan couple had said in a statement, “These factory farms warehouse thousands of animals that wallow in their own waste with limited or no airspace. [This] routinely [creates] conditions for the proliferation of superbugs and zoonotic pathogens.”

(Images in the story have been sourced from We Animals Media)

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