Joaquin Phoenix & Rooney Mara To Produce Film On Animal Ag & Zoonotic Pandemics

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Hollywood actors Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix are producing a new documentary movie called The End of Medicine, which will focus on the link between animal agriculture and zoonotic diseases. The production of the film began in October last year, before the current coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a standstill, and is predicted to be released sometime next year. 

Vegan celebrity couple Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara are executive producers of The End of Medicine, a film written by Keegan Kuhn, the filmmaker behind the award-winning 2014 documentary Cowspiracy, and directed by Alex Lockwood, the British director of BAFTA-winning 73 Cows and PETA-produced Test Subjects

The new documentary explores the scientific research into public health emergencies, the role of animal agriculture and our continued destruction of the natural world in fuelling these diseases, as well as the rise of antibiotic resistance

The science is irrefutable. Modern animal agriculture will continue to make us sick if we don’t radically change our patterns of consumption.

Rooney Mara & Joaquin Phoenix

Renowned scientists will be interviewed in the movie for their testimonies and research into how “superbug” outbreaks – including the Covid-19 pandemic – have all originated or been driven by the world’s hunger for meat, which has given rise to intensive animal farming. The current coronavirus pandemic is only the latest in a slew of zoonotic diseases to emerge after swine flu, MERS, SARS and Ebola. 

Read: Preventing another pandemic – the link between coronavirus and livestock farming

The latest report by the U.N. titled Preventing the next pandemic listed rising consumption of animal protein and unsustainable agricultural intensification as a result of demand for animal-based foods were listed among the seven major causes of zoonotic disease emergence. To date, 60% of all the 1,400 microbes known to infect humans have originated from animals.

“We hope that The End of Medicine is an eye-opening call to action and ignites a spark of willingness to change our habits,” Mara and Phoenix said in a joint statement. “The science is irrefutable. Modern animal agriculture will continue to make us sick if we don’t radically change our patterns of consumption.”

“With this film, we hope to shine a light on the extent to which animal agriculture and environmental destruction contribute to these emerging threats,” said Lockwood. 

Production for the documentary is expected to be completed by the end of this year, with the film’s likely release set for 2021. 

Both actors are well known for their activism in promoting veganism and plant-based diets as the ethical and environmentally-friendly choice. Earlier this year, the Joker lead actor made headlines for his speech at the Oscars, where he accepted the Academy Award for Best Actor. Phoenix was widely praised for using his platform in his winning speech to spotlight a number of global inequalities, from human injustices to animal welfare and climate inaction. 

Lead image courtesy of Michael Buckner / Shutterstock.


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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