A day after winning the Academy Award for Best Actor—and subsequently making a headlining acceptance speech in which he spoke to the plight of mother cows and their babies used in animal agriculture—Joaquin Phoenix helped to liberate a cow and her newborn calf from a Los Angeles slaughterhouse and bring them to Farm Sanctuary, America’s premier farm animal sanctuary and advocacy organization, where they will live out the rest of their lives in peace. Phoenix named the mother Liberty and her daughter Indigo.

Phoenix said, “I never thought I’d find friendship in a slaughterhouse, but meeting Anthony [President/CEO of the slaughterhouse] and opening my heart to his, I realize we might have more in common than we do differences. Without his act of kindness, Liberty and her baby calf, Indigo, would have met a terrible demise.”

Phoenix was joined at the slaughterhouse by his fiancée and fellow activist Rooney Mara, both his and Mara’s mothers, Earthlings Director Shaun Monson, LA Animal Save Founder Amy Jean Davis, and Farm Sanctuary President and Co-founder Gene Baur. The group worked with employees onsite to rescue Liberty—who had recently given birth at the slaughterhouse—and her newborn calf Indigo.

Phoenix added, “My hope is, as we watch baby Indigo grow up with her mom Liberty at Farm Sanctuary, that we’ll always remember that friendships can emerge in the most unexpected places; and no matter our differences, kindness and compassion should rule everything around us.”

Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur said, “The difference between being at a slaughterhouse versus a sanctuary is profound and palpable, and I’m deeply grateful when animals escape the kill floor and are given a chance at life.”

It’s hard to imagine an experience more terrifying for a mother—or for her baby—than to give birth at a slaughterhouse. Witnessing the birth tugged at the heartstrings of the slaughterhouse owner—and not for the first time. This is the fifth mother-child bovine rescue secured by LA Animal Save from Manning Beef.

LA Animal Save founder Amy Jean Davis said, “As a new mother myself, I immediately understood the profound bond between this mother cow and her calf, a bond all of us have with our babies. Unlike most mothers in the modern food system, Liberty will have the chance to raise her baby Indigo, instead of being separated and killed. I’m so thankful to Joaquin for his help saving them from slaughter.”

Phoenix concluded by saying, “Although we will continue to fight for the liberation of all animals who suffer in these oppressive systems, we must take pause to acknowledge and celebrate the victories, and the people who helped achieve them. Shaun Monson, Amy Jean Davis, and the entire LA Animal Save community, have taken their pain of bearing witness and turned it into effective, diplomatic advocacy for the voiceless. As a result, Liberty and Indigo will never experience cruelty or the touch of a rough hand.”

Special thanks to documentary filmmaker Shaun Monson for producing and directing this beautiful video.