Joaquin Phoenix saves cow and calf from slaughterhouse

Joaquin Phoenix has backed up his powerful acceptance speech at the Oscars on animal rights with action.

In video footage released by Farm Sanctuary on Thursday, the Joker actor was filmed saving a mother cow and her calf from a Los Angeles slaughterhouse.   

Phoenix visited the Manning Beef slaughterhouse to see if owner Anthony Di Maria would give up any animals.

Di Maria said any animal at the slaughterhouse is there to be harvested. To which Phoenix replied, "murdered".

Di Maria then agreed to release a mother cow and her calf. 

Phoenix named the mother Liberty and the calf Indigo and offered a statement to accompany the video. 

"I never thought I'd find friendship in a slaughterhouse, but meeting Anthony and opening my heart to his, I realize we might have more in common than we do differences," he said.

"Without his act of kindness, Liberty and her baby calf, Indigo, would have met a terrible demise.

"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. 

"As a result, Liberty and Indigo will never experience cruelty or the touch of a rough hand."

Phoenix is a vegan and a strong advocate for animals rights.

He recently ran an animal equality protest in central London and participates in events promoting veganism.

He also narrated filmmaker Shaun Monson's popular 2005 documentary Earthlings, which looks at animals suffering in factory farms.