Here’s What Inspired Joaquin Phoenix to Go Vegan 40 Years Ago

Joaquin Phoenix, a longtime vegan activist and Mercy For Animals supporter, recently sat down for an interview with Collider where he not only discussed his new thriller, You Were Never Really Here, but shared the event that led him to veganism. Like the Academy Award-winning actor, interviewer Steve Weintraub is an animal rights supporter.

Phoenix told Weintraub about the moment he decided to go vegan:
Really it was seeing these fish being killed when I was on a boat as a kid. I guess to stun them they were throwing them against the side of the boat. I just had a profound strong reaction. It felt like a real injustice. It wasn’t just me, it was my siblings, all of my siblings, except for the youngest, Summer, she wasn’t born. My mom was pregnant with her. I don’t know how to explain it. I think it made me distrustful, and angry, and frightened of humans, humanity. I just thought it was such a gross abuse of power in a way. I think that during that moment we knew that we were not going to eat meat anymore. We said to our parents, “Why didn’t you tell us?” It’s amazing. I remember my mom’s face, I remember her crying. She didn’t know how to answer. It became very obvious we weren’t going to eat meat anymore.
The animal rights conversation continued as Phoenix recalled how the family cut out dairy after going vegetarian. “Then my brother, a few months later, said: ‘We shouldn’t be using dairy either. It’s not killing them, but …’ Then we became vegan and my sister Summer was born vegan.”

The actor’s story of compassion is truly inspiring. And Phoenix is the real deal. The actor narrated our 2014 undercover investigation into a Walmart pork supplier and presented an award at our annual gala in 2015.


What’s more, MFA spotlighted the actor in our summer 2016 edition of Compassionate Living magazine. And last year, Phoenix and his partner, actress Rooney Mara, attended MFA’s all-vegan music and food festival, Circle V.


As if that weren’t enough, he narrated the powerful documentary Earthlings and is an executive producer of What the Health, now streaming on Netflix.

Phoenix has dedicated his life to creating a kinder world for farmed animals. By going vegan, you too can spare countless animals a lifetime of misery at factory farms. Pigs, cows, chickens, and other farmed animals suffer horribly. These innocent animals face unimaginable cruelties, from painful mutilations and restrictive confinement to violent handling and gruesome deaths.


Phoenix once said, “It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.” So what are you waiting for? Join the millions of people who are helping protect farmed animals by switching to a compassionate vegan lifestyle. Click here for vegan tips and tricks. Also check out our Pinterest page for thousands of recipe ideas.