A longtime animal rights activist was fatally struck by a truck on Friday while she was protesting outside a slaughterhouse west of Toronto, her friends said.
Regan Russell, a member of Toronto Pig Save, died after being hit by a transport truck full of pigs on its way to Fearman’s Pork, a processing plant in Burlington, Ont., said Anita Krajnc, the group’s co-founder.
“She was in front of the truck when it ran over her,” said Krajnc, who did not witness the incident but had heard from other activists who were there at the time.
The death of the 65-year-old activist comes just two days after the province passed controversial legislation that hiked fines for trespassing on farms and food-processing facilities and made it illegal to obstruct trucks carrying farm animals.
Dozens of activists gathered at the plant Friday to mourn their friend.
“She was a sophisticated, well-educated woman who was very strong and always determined to do the right thing,” Krajnc said.
Russell had often joined Toronto Pig Save as they gave water to pigs on transport trucks at the entrance of the plant, she said, and Friday was no different.
“She supported Black Lives Matter, Indigenous rights and she was an intersectional vegan who understood the importance of equality in terms of racial justice and in terms of animal equality,” Krajnc said.
Camille Labchuk, the executive director of Animal Justice, said Russell was a life-long animal advocate.
“She was the most peaceful, logical, kind, compassionate person that I’ve ever met. She just stuck up for the vulnerable … we need more people like that, it’s terrible,” said Stephanie Schwartz, a fellow Toronto Pig Save activist.
right, Reagan Russel
A large number of activists have shown up at the scene, where the group plans to hold an all-night vigil in honor of Russell and the pigs she loved, Krajnc said.
“We have asked management to get some of these pigs in the truck to a sanctuary in her name,” she said.
Halton police said they received a call around 10:20 a.m. about a pedestrian who had been struck by a transport truck. They said the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The group has long protested the slaughter of pigs at Fearman’s Pork and were there Friday to protest the recent passage of law activists have dubbed the “ag-gag” bill.
Toronto Pig Save regularly holds “vigils” outside the facility, and on hot days activists will feed water to the pigs as they’re taken to slaughter.
Temperatures reached 30C Friday and much of southwestern Ontario was under a heat warning by Environment Canada.
“We have had many close calls here,” Krajnc said. “We have asked for trucks to stop for two minutes so we can bear witness, say goodbye to the pigs and give them water.”
The group drew international headlines in 2015 when Krajnc was arrested while giving water to the pigs on a hot day at the same spot.
Sofina Foods Inc., owner of Fearman’s Pork, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
And I mean…In other countries, this action in front of the slaughterhouse is called “The Save Movement” and has the same goal: to accompany the animals to their last station.
I was often there at the same actions in my city (vigils), and I have often experienced how the truck drivers drive into the slaughterhouse.
Even if an activist is at the front and peacefully shows that the only thing the activists want is to be with the animals a little bit in their last hours before slaughter, they don’t stop.
Most even step on the gas, and if you don’t jump on the side, you run the risk of being run over like Reagan Russel.
The police are always present, discreet, and at a distance, but they are not there to protect the activists, but the slaughterhouse.
What can you expect from people who torture animals, beat animals, kill animals?
That they respect human life?
Those who are in constant contact with violence are dulled.
They have no inhibitions to do the same with human life as with animals..
RiP Regan Russel!
thank you so much for everything you did for the animal’s, sadly your life was tragically taken by one of those death trucks outside farms slaughterhouse.
In our eyes, you are a hero and will not be forgotten.