Belfast Telegraph

Joaquin Phoenix latest star to join PETA anti-wool campaign

The famed animal activist became a vegan when his parents killed fish in front of him.

Joaquin Phoenix is urging Christmas shoppers to stay away from wool this holiday season.

The Her star will feature on a huge People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) billboard, posted on Los Angeles' busy Beverly Boulevard/Fairfax Avenue cross-section on Tuesday (13Dec16).

In the ad, the longtime animal advocate poses in a vegan wool Brave GentleMan suit, alongside rescued sheep and the line: "Cruelty Doesn't Suit Me. Please Leave Wool Out of Your Wardrobe."

"When PETA sent me that video of this undercover investigation of what happened in these shearing farms, that was really eye-opening," Phoenix explains in an exclusive video interview with PETA. "The whole environment, it's incredibly (violent)... The only option is to not use wool. That's become abundantly clear."

Joaquin follows Alicia Silverstone as the latest star to sign onto the organisation's anti-wool initiative.

PETA investigators have exposed the evils of the international wool industry, revealing sheep are punched in the face, jabbed with electric clippers, slammed to the floor, and stomped on by impatient workers, who are often paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast, violent work that can lead to gaping wounds on sheep's bodies. The wounds are then stitched closed, without giving the animals any painkillers.

Phoenix has appeared in two previous videos for PETA. The first, in 2013, featured the Gladiator star pretending to drown, a message intended to highlight the cruel way most of the planet's billions of fish eaten annually are killed.

It was a bad experience with fish when Joaquin was only three that he claims started him on his path against creature cruelty.

“There were five kids and we literally screamed at our parents and said, ‘We are never going to eat meat again.’ Because we were on a boat, and they were catching fish, and they were throwing fish against the side of the boat in order to kill them."

He continues with the unpleasant memory, "They are flopping around, and it was undeniable that it was brutal, barbaric and horrible for us, and so we said that. I remember my mum not being (able) to answer and we said, ‘Why didn’t you tell us that’s where meat came from?’ And she didn’t know what to say. I feel like I have this memory of seeing her crying."

Then last year (15), Joaquin made another video for PETA highlighting China's barbaric use of dog leather. His video included scenes shot in a Chinese warehouse of dogs having their throats slit and some even being skinned while still alive. He called the footage "the worst thing I've ever seen".

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