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Joaquin Phoenix supports Newfane sanctuary owner in cow dispute

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Joaquin Phoenix (copy)

“To so harshly punish a woman who was simply showing kindness to two individuals who had wandered onto her property is astounding," actor Joaquin Phoenix said in a statement.

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For Joaquin Phoenix, the dispute over two cows in Newfane is no laughing matter.

As a lifelong vegan with a history of rescuing cows, the Academy Award-winning actor stands in solidarity with Asha’s Farm Sanctuary owner, Tracy Murphy, after she was arrested on Tuesday, his social impact adviser, Michelle Cho, wrote in an email to The News.

“To so harshly punish a woman who was simply showing kindness to two individuals who had wandered onto her property is astounding,” Phoenix’s statement said. “There was an opportunity here to show compassion and mercy.”

Murphy was arrested and charged with grand larceny, a felony, after she refused to return two cows that ended up on her property to the Gregson family, the original owners from a neighboring farm. She has since been released, but the case continues to draw extensive media attention.

Phoenix, despite not having a strong connection to Newfane, learned of the incident on Wednesday night after hearing the cows may have been named “Joaquin,” and “Phoenix.”

After hearing the news, Phoenix wanted to make it known that he stands in solidarity with Murphy.

"I applaud Tracy for standing her ground in the name of animal liberation," the email said.

Though Murphy named the cows Little Willow and Ishamel, she did have two cows on the farm named after the actor.

Murphy’s attorney, Matthew Albert, believes he couldn’t have phrased it better than Phoenix did.

“It absolutely reflects not just what Ms. Murphy and I have really felt from the beginning,” he said. “From day one, this was an opportunity to bridge the divide between the farmer community and the animal activist community, a chance to show that we’re not that different.”  

Since Murphy’s arrest, she has received a lot of support, Albert said.

“The outpouring of support has been impressive and, from our standpoint, keep it coming. She deserves it, these cows deserve it.” he added.

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