Vegan actors Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara led a funeral procession for animals through West Hollywood on Sunday for National Animal Rights Day (N.A.R.D.), the New York Daily News reports.
Phoenix and Mara, who have been partners since 2016, walked side by side carrying the lifeless body of animals in a show of respect for the trillions of animals killed each year. Marchers carried a black and white banner that said “This is how we, the human race, treat animals. Do you want to be part of this?”
Other celebrity supporters of the march include vegan hardcore punk vocalist Toby Morse, model and “Baywatch” star Donna D’Errico, and body artist and activist Jody Steel.
Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara
“They were catching fish, and I guess to stun them they were throwing them against the side of the boat,” Phoenix said. “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.”
“I don’t know how to explain it. I think it made me distrustful, and angry and frightened of humans, humanity,” the plant-based celebrity continued, recalling the strong impact the experience left on him.
“I just thought it was such a gross abuse of power in a way,” he explained. “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.”
Since that moment, Phoenix has spoken out for animals on a number of occasions; he has partnered with animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to urge people to stop eating meat and wearing animal products.
He also provided a voice over for 2018’s “Dominion,” a hard-hitting Australian documentary film exploring the reality of animal agriculture and our use of animals for entertainment.
Mara and Phoenix began dating in 2016. The star of 2015’s “Carol” was also a narrator for “Dominion.” Though she has spoken little about her diet, Mara is a vegan like her sister Kate. She is also the founder of Hiraeth Collective, an ethical and sustainable clothing brand.
“In fast fashion, you can find faux leather boots that are really cheap, but while it’s cruelty-free in the animal sense, I didn’t necessarily know where those things were made, or if they were cruel toward humans,” Mara told Vogue in a February 2018 interview. “I didn’t want to compromise on either thing, and I wanted pieces that were made to last. So it really came out of my own need.”
Vegan “Stranger Things” star Sadie Sink wore the brand’s clothing at last year’s Kids Choice Awards.