The ‘Joker’ star has been a vegan since he was three years old, and in light of his continued support of animal rights, non-profit organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have honoured him with the title of their 2019 Person of the Year.
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said: “Joaquin Phoenix never misses an opportunity to turn the spotlight away from himself and onto animals’ plight and to set a great example of walking the vegan walk. PETA is proud to kick off awards season by honouring his dedication to showing everyone that when it comes to feeling fear, pain, and love, a human being is no different from a hen or a hamster.”
The 45-year-old actor recently appeared on a PETA billboard in Times Square in New York City, and frequently campaigns for animal welfare.
Earlier this year, the star joined California lawmakers in announcing a ban on travelling wild-animal circuses, and led a memorial service at a National Animal Rights Day march cradling a dead chicken.
And during a press tour for ‘Joker’, Joaquin said he would never “cause pain to another living, empathetic creature”.
He said: “I don’t want to cause pain to another living, empathetic creature. I don’t want to take [their] babies away from [them]. I don’t want to force [them] to be indoors and fattened up just to be slaughtered. It is absurd and barbaric.”
Joaquin has his own pet dog, and has previously said he was “concerned” when he first introduced his pooch to his girlfriend Rooney Mara’s dog, because he thought they wouldn’t get along.
Thankfully, after some time, the two mutts eventually became "best friends" and now the couple love curling up with their pets together.
He said: "I have a dog, and my girlfriend has a dog.
"They do [get along], and I was actually quite concerned about it because my dog is amazing with people, but sometimes doesn't do well with other dogs. It was a long process to get them [to co-exist].
"But now they're best friends. We were all curled up last night, and it was super sweet."