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Hollywood actor Rooney Mara visits animal sanctuary and vegan cafe The Retreat in High Halden

By Rachael Woods

Hollywood actor Rooney Mara stunned visitors when she swept into an animal sanctuary and vegan cafe.

The Oscar-nominated actor, star of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and romantic drama Carol, is also the girlfriend of Hollywood A-Lister Joaquin Phoenix, who had been expected to make an appearance.

Rooney is a committed vegan and dropped into The Retreat, in High Halden, near Tenterden, to the surprise of visitors.

Rooney Mara visited The Retreat at High Halden
Rooney Mara visited The Retreat at High Halden

The 34-year-old actor follows in the footsteps of BBC Strictly Come Dancing star Anton Du Beke who filmed a baking show for ITV's This Morning only last week after helping Bexley-based vegan athlete Carrie Hague to bake vegan biscuits.

Before that vegan celebrities, actor Peter Egan and A Place in the Sun presenter Jasmine Harman, were guests at The Retreat, which has an animal hospital and equine rescue centre.

Rooney Mara (second right) picture with her team and The Retreat staff
Rooney Mara (second right) picture with her team and The Retreat staff

The Retreat in Cripple Hill is entirely funded by donations and looks after up to 1,000 animals at any one time, with £500 per day running costs.

Owner Billy Thompson said of yesterday's visit: "Rooney showed such kindness to the animals and enjoyed asking the team questions about the sanctuary.

"She spent time with our rescue pigs being filmed to show how pigs enjoy being with humans, just like dogs, and also to tell of their plight when they are deprived of bedding materials, wallows, shade from trees and family members."

Vegan activist Rooney and her partner Joaquin Phoenix recently marked national Animal Rights Day in West Hollywood on June 2 by carrying the carcasses of factory-slaughtered animals in a funeral procession, wearing black T-shirts with the slogan 'Our Planet. Theirs Too'.

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Tenterden

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