The ad urges people to “live vegan” and help “end speciesism,” which is the damaging belief that — despite their extraordinary talents, abilities, and intelligence — all other animal species are inferior to humans.
“When we look at the world through another animal’s eyes, we have to realize that inside we’re all the same — and so we all deserve to live free from suffering,” says Phoenix.
His vegan plea comes amid a national PETA campaign informing people that cattle ranchers are burning the Amazon rainforest to meet the global demand for meat. More than 90% of the rainforest that’s been cleared since 1970 is used for meat production, either for grazing or for growing food for cattle, including those in the U.S. market. The United Nations states that animal agriculture is responsible for nearly a fifth of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions — and warns that a global shift to vegan eating is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.
In addition to significantly reducing their contribution to the climate crisis, every person who goes vegan saves the lives of nearly 200 animals each year and helps shut down speciesism. PETA — whose motto reads, “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way” — asks people to combat this harmful worldview by not only choosing vegan foods but also staying away from animal circuses, avoiding personal-care products that were tested on animals, and rejecting all other forms of exploitation of animals.