Joaquin Phoenix makes impassioned plea for animal rights in Oscars speech

Joaquin Phoenix used his Oscars acceptance speech on Sunday night to make an impassioned plea for animal rights, saying humans "go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources."

"I think that we've become very disconnected from the natural world," Phoenix said as he accepted his Academy Award for best actor for his performance as the titular character in "Joker."

Saying he's been thinking frequently about "some of the distressing issues we've been facing collectively," the 45-year-old performer said humans have the belief "that we're the center of the universe."

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"We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby," Phoenix continued. "We take her milk that's intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal. And I think we fear the idea of personal change because we think that we have to sacrifice something."

"Whether we're talking about gender inequality, or racism, or queer rights, or indigenous rights, or animal rights, we're talking about the fight against injustice," Phoenix told the audience.

It's not the first time that Phoenix used an awards show stage to deliver a call to action.

At last month's Golden Globe Awards, Phoenix urged celebrities to make sacrifices. He also lauded the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hosts the Golden Globes, for serving meatless meals at the ceremony this year to raise awareness about climate change.

"I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment," Phoenix said Sunday.

Saying that he's "been a scoundrel" in the past, and "cruel at times," Phoenix told the crowd, "But so many of you in this room have given me a second chance."

"I think that's when we're at our best," he added, "when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes."