In response to Joaquin Phoenix’s latest Oscars speech, David Finlay, an organic dairy farmer in Scotland, says his industry “can learn a lot from vegans.”
Finlay made the comments in an opinion piece he authored for inews, titled “Dairy farmers like me can learn a lot from vegans.”
He wrote the op-ed the day after Phoenix highlighted the suffering of dairy cows in his acceptance speech for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.
“I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric worldview, and we believe that we’re the center of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources,” said Phoenix.
He added, “We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”
Just hours after his Oscars win, Phoenix rescued a cow and her calf from a slaughterhouse in Southern California.
Finlay believes abandoning dairy would have “environmental and nutritional consequences.”
However, he agrees people have become disconnected from the natural world.
“Talking with people from outside our bubble challenges our assumptions and provokes us into doing better,” he wrote.
‘Building Walls Achieves Nothing’
Not all farmers agreed with Phoenix’s sentiments; some condemned Phoenix on social media following his speech.
Many trolled the “Joker” star by posting videos of themselves online drinking pints of milk. One rancher, who goes by the name The Meat Lady, called him a “pompous, entitled, first-world, out of touch, value signaling troll.”
Finlay understands the importance of creating a healthy dialogue on how to sustainably feed the masses.
“As interest in veganism surges, it’s easy for livestock farmers like me to get defensive, but building walls between polarized points of view will achieve nothing,” he wrote.
He added: “There are no simple solutions to sustainably feeding our population in a climate-conscious way, which is why sharing ideas, points of view, and experiences is so important.”
Earlier this year, Finlay announced a tour of his dairy farm—where calves and cows are kept together—exclusively for vegans. “The intention is to create a safe space where people with concerns about farming can ask frank questions,” continued Finlay. “It’s not about converting people to our cause, it’s simply about dialogue.”