Phoenix then took the cows to Farm Sanctuary in Acton, California, where animals live together without the threat of being killed.
The good deed was shared in a video on YouTube by Farm Sanctuary – an American animal protection organisation – and shows Phoenix being showed around the Manning Beef facility by Anthony DiMaria, the president and CEO of the slaughterhouse.
The video starts with an explanation that the rescue mission “was not planned” and then shows Phoenix and Di Maria debating over whether cows at the facility are “harvested” or “murdered.”
When Di Maria explains that animals at his slaughterhouse “perish in less than 60 seconds”, Phoenix responds, saying: “I don’t need really any science to see with my own eyes and hear how an animal responds to pain.
“You’re the only one that you know of that has the process that you have, so that means a majority of them don’t have that,” before adding that other slaughterhouses separate mothers from their calves.
Di Maria then interjects, reassuring Phoenix that he never takes calves away from their mothers. He adds that a baby was born on the grounds just one week ago and has been isolated with its mother.
In light of Di Maria’s belief in not killing mothers and babies, Phoenix asks to take Liberty and Indigo from the slaughterhouse and the CEO agrees before the video shows a white truck pulling up to the area.
The mother is lead to the vehicle by members of Farm Sanctuary while Phoenix carries the calf out of the gates.
The clip shows the truck driving off into the mountains before arriving at Farm Sanctuary where Liberty and Indigo are shown galloping around at their new home.
In a statement alongside the video, Phoenix said he realised that he and Di Maria “might have more in common than we do differences”.
“Without his act of kindness, Liberty and her baby calf, Indigo, would have met a terrible demise,” Phoenix said.
“Although we will continue to fight for the liberation of all animals who suffer in these oppressive systems, we must take pause to acknowledge and celebrate the victories, and the people who helped achieve them.”
The Inherent Vice star went on to thank those involved with the short film, including the LA Animal Save community, for ensuring that Liberty and Indigo “will never experience cruelty or the touch of a rough hand”.
“My hope is, as we watch baby Indigo grow up with her mom Liberty at Farm Sanctuary, that we’ll always remember that friendships can emerge in the most unexpected places; and no matter our differences, kindness and compassion should rule everything around us,” Phoenix said.
“I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe that we’re the centre of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources,” Phoenix said as he accepted the award for best actor.
He continued: “We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and when she gives birth, then we steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable.
“And then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”
Last month, Phoenix left the SAG Awards after-party early to attend a pig vigil outside a slaughterhouse in Los Angeles.
During the vigil, Phoenix comforted the animals as they made their way to the slaughterhouse by offering them fresh water and explained to vlogger Jane Velez-Mitchell his reason for being there.
“Most people don’t really know of the torture and murder in the meat and dairy industry,” Phoenix said in a video shared on Facebook.
“I’ve seen it for what it is, so I have to be here.”