Actor Joaquin Phoenix weighs in on Asha Sanctuary cattle controversy | Local News
Hollywood actor Joaquin Phoenix is coming to the defense of Asha Farm Sanctuary owner Tracy Murphy.
In a statement issued by a representative on Thursday, Phoenix, who won the 2020 Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of the lead character in the “Joker,” said authorities who arrested Murphy on a grand larceny charge for holding a heifer and steer that wandered onto her property should have shown more “compassion and mercy.”
“To so harshly punish a woman who was simply showing kindness to two individuals who had wandered onto her property is astounding,” Phoenix said in a statement issued by his social impact advisor, Michelle Cho. “There was an opportunity here to show compassion and thank you To allow these peaceful creatures to remain without fear or anticipation of harm for the rest of their lives.
Phoenix said he applauded Murphy for “standing her ground in the name of animal liberation.”
“What this merciful opportunity was met with was such a shame,” Phoenix said.
The New York State Police and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrested Murphy, 59, on Tuesday after a dispute about the ownership of the two cattle surfaced in mid-July. Police charged Murphy with third-degree grand larceny. She was remanded to the Niagara County jail for centralized arrangement.
Scott Gregson, the owner of the cattle held at the sanctuary who says the cow and steer belong to him, said he asked a few farmers to aid in retrieving his cattle with assistance from the Niagara County SPCA. The cattle were then taken away by truck to a location that he declined to disclose out of fear for their safety.
Phoenix is well known for his animal rights activism. During his Oscar acceptance speech for Best Actor in 2021 for the role of the Joker, Phoenix spoke of the exploitation of animals in farming, particularly in the dairy business. Two days afterward, he rescued a cow and her calf from a California slaughterhouse and brought them to an animal sanctuary.