WAV Comment – As always, I want to thank Stacey at ‘Our Compass’ Stacey | Our Compass (our-compass.org) for supplying this info to me. For Regan Russell, and for Jill Phipps, killed here in England when murdered by a livestock truck carrying calves for export, there will never be any so rightly deserved justice. The ‘system’ is fine tuned to stop the law doing what it rightly should. But we, in the animal activism world will always look and remember Regan and Jill for what they were and for what they did; paying the ultimate price for simply showing compassion to those who had never experienced it before. Mark.
Animal exploitation perpetuates normalized violence, towards all, I have never witnessed so much hostility, anger, and belligerence than from the purveyors of animal consumption. To disregard animals in such incalculable numbers and in unimaginable ways, inflicting intentional, massive, and relentless suffering and pain on trillions of animals per year, taking their lives willingly and indifferently, promotes violence towards all animals, including humans. You cannot deal in bloody violence, perpetuate and sanction it, and not have it affect others.
I can attest I saw relentless activism on behalf of the killer and not the victim, fundraisers where people happily provided thousands of dollars to the killer, not to the victim, as per normal in the animal agriculture industry: the victims are hidden and society excuses such because it personally profits and benefits from the victimization. There was no expressed remorse, regret, genuine condolences, only anger, ridicule, and mockery towards those very humans who are opposed to exploitative violence.
Even if you disagree, your opinion is meaningless to the victims, who suffer, feel pain, and die violently and unwillingly. Regan Russell is another victim of the brutal, violent, and despicable animal agriculture industry.
Source Toronto Pig Save
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The trucker who killed Regan Russell was cited with careless driving, a non-criminal charge.
Anita Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief, facing up to 10 years in prison, for giving water to pigs.
Regan Russell, 65, was violently struck and killed by a pig transport truck in front of Sofina’s Fearmans slaughterhouse on Friday, June 19, 2020. She was at a Toronto Pig Save vigil with six other activists giving pigs water on one of the hottest days of the year. She regularly attended pig vigils and on this particular day Regan was there to oppose Ontario’s “ag-gag” Bill 156, which had passed two days prior.
On the morning of June 19th, 2020, seven activists from the love-based animal rights group Toronto Pig Save were demonstrating outside Sofina Foods’ Fearmans slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. What began as a peaceful vigil (giving water to pigs and offering them comfort moments before their death) and protest against “ag-gag” Bill 156 soon ended in horror for vegan activist Regan Russell.
It was a little after 10 am as another truck carrying pigs appeared on the horizon, but something was off. Though the truck would be turning right onto a service road, the driver remained in the left lane, not moving, holding up traffic for several light-cycles. Russell, waiting at the crosswalk on the far side of the service road, eventually decided to join her companions. Suddenly, the truck lurched forward and the other activists heard a terrifying scream, but the driver kept going until security guards waved him down.
By then, 65-year old Regan Russell, a decades-long pioneer in Canadian animal rights activism had been dragged more than the entire length of the truck, and she was dead.
No criminal charges were brought against the driver due to the passing of Bill 156 just one day before, a statute designed to protect transporters from animal rights activists. Dubbed an ag-gag, Bill 156 is an undemocratic and unconstitutional piece of legislation that allows force to be used against protesters. It also infringes on the right to assemble and criminalizes activists and whistleblowers working to expose violence against animals on farms, at slaughterhouses, and in transport trucks.
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Shaun Monson (Earthlings, Unity), and featuring never-before-seen footage, There Was a Killing provides first-hand accounts and in-depth analysis from attorneys Robert Monson, Lisa Bloom, and David Simon exposing corruption and a cover-up that has allowed the animal agriculture industry to avoid the legal and economic consequences of their behavior through a law some may see as a license to kill.
Regan Russell spent the final moments of her life providing comfort to pigs who had never experienced the touch of a kind hand. While her tragic death has brought upon deep sorrow in the Animal Save [Movement] community, we will honor her memory by vigorously confronting the cruelties she fought so hard to prevent by marching with Black Lives, protecting Indigenous rights, fighting for LGBTQ equality, and living a compassionate vegan life. The Ontario government can attempt to silence us with the passage of its Ag-Gag bill -Bill 156 – but we will never go away and we will never back down.
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You know, people do things and take actions in many different forms, because they know that what is being seen by everyone is simply not right. Many know it is true, and yet continue to do nothing about it; others do get up off their butt and decide to take action; and that action comes in many forms; that is what makes us all different; and what often makes the difference in getting change. A while back I was asked why I have always been so involved in campaigns against live animal transport. It is a very long story, but the reply I gave hopefully explains a little about it. For me, when I was 8 or 9 years of age, it was that simple day, but a different one, when I witnessed something as a young lad all those years ago and decided that what I was witnessing was simply not right; so time for action. 50 years later we still have not won on this disgusting issue, but we have hell made a dent and have the vast majority of the worlds public support behind us ! – and that is positive for any campaign.
So what made you get into live animal exports so much Mark ?
I have really been an animal activist since the age of about 16. I am into the rear end of my 50’s now; but fighting for animals every day for so many years has always been a challenge and an enjoyment; I don’t regret one single day of trying to make a difference for them despite some failures (which you always get) with some issues. To say every day was ‘an enjoyment’ is probably wrong; you see a lot of bad stuff; but fighting for animals, yes, that is a total enjoyment.
Live exports; yup; lets go back to when I was around 8 or 9 years old. Like most young lads, I lived on my bike and went anywhere and everywhere I could on it, day in, day out. At the time, we lived close to one of the major motorways (freeway, autoroute; many names in many different places) that went on to the Channel port of Dover. Kent is the nearest part of England to Europe, and is still known as the ‘Gateway to Europe’ for freight and holiday traffic.
So one Sunday I was out on my bike; it was raining and quite windy, but what the hell; that was biking ! – at one specific location on this major motorway, which was a regular on my route, the official ministry staff were pulling over Dover bound freight heading for Europe, to check they were roadworthy and had all the necessary taxes and documentation that was required by law.
As a young lad; and things have not changed much ever since; I am still a bit of a truck ‘Diesel Head’ – I still love anything truck and heavy freight; I would sit on the grass near to these officials and revel in being able to see all this heavy freight being pulled over and stopped just a few metres from where I sat on the grass. This ‘official’ pull over and stop place used on the motorway was on a gradual upwards incline; so in a way, many loaded trucks were naturally going slower; which was ideal for the officials to select their ‘victims’.
Then, on that day, in a matter of seconds; things changed; and my life really has never been the same since. Looking back (down) the incline at the trucks clambering up the slope; out of the gloom and rain I saw this ‘slow goer’. The plod (policeman) stepped into the first lane of the motorway just ahead of it, pointed at the truck and then pointed towards the small lay by area where we were. In compliance with what was being said to him through hand signals, this same truck steered left onto the lay by area; where it stopped a few metres from me.
Bloody hell; I had never witnessed anything like it before. It was the big; 3 axle trailers as you often see; but instead of the usual box or tilt type; this was loaded up with 4 tiers of live sheep. In those days, (which is illegal now); the top tier had no roof for animal protection, and so the poor unfortunates on the top deck were trying to hide down below the end and side panels of the trailer; in order to get a little protection form the wind and rain which the elements threw at them. Those located in the middle of the pack were hemmed in due to stock densities; and had no chance of getting to the sides; so they simply endured all the wind and the rain; it was a simple as that.
I sat there for the five minutes or so that this truck stopped; mesmerized by what I was seeing; whilst the driver, T shirt laden in his warm and cosy cab, went through his paperwork with the officials.
I was only 8 or 9; but I knew there and then that what I was witnessing was sheer animal abuse; and the immense suffering that was being imposed on the animals on this truck that were unable to defend themselves or their rights from ‘mighty man’. Within minutes; the paperwork was obviously declared as correct, and the animal carrier pulled back out onto the motorway from its stop point to continue its journey; with so many innocent and suffering sheep aboard.
For me; that was it; mentally, I declared to myself there and then that one day when I got bigger and had a chance to do it; I would do whatever I could to stop this disgusting business that I had just witnessed – the transport of live and sentient animals over long distances.
Fifty years later, I have probably grown up now (?), and am still doing the fight. Now, public awareness of the suffering of the live trade, and the huge public support through many years of education, is so much behind us and giving the drive. That boyhood vision of taking action as a ‘grown up bloke’ eventually arose, and I never ever looked back and considered that it was time to call it a day.
When I got into my teens I was pretty level headed, but when it came to animal abuse and suffering; I became an ‘angry young Turk’; trying most things to stop their suffering. My first ever ‘proper’ demonstration was at the age of 16 when I went ‘up the road’ into London town to take part in well organised campaigns against the barbaric dog and cat meat trade in the far East.
The more I started learning about other different issues of animal suffering, as you do at such events, the more I became involved with different campaigns against the abuse. But those visions of the live export sheep that day from my childhood stayed with me; I never forgot them or their suffering; and I guess that speaking up in their defence against live transport years later became my real No.1 issue; and still is.
As time went on, the angry Turk became very involved with 2 animal rights groups locally; and as a group we were effective. At that time; animal rights was a huge thing in the UK, as it still is, but some in political circles then wanted to brand us, the animal rights advocates, as terrorists; as in those days, with bombing and killings by the IRA being a big thing in the UK; it was (probably) ‘politically convenient’ to include animal activists in the same ‘terrorist’ corner; which was wrong, as animal activists were trying to stop killing rather than supporting it; a thing which has never changed with them.
Over the years, and living near to London town, I and others from the group would often go into central London city to take part in demonstrations against the fur trade – at places like Harrods and other major fur retailers. As part of a local group, I also became very involved with trying to get travelling circuses (with animals) to stop using them in their performances. I have nothing at all against performing circuses; they can be great and fun for any family; but I do have a problem with big cats being kept in check in the ring with whips and elephants etc having to walk round on balls just to get a clap – it is pathetic and needs stopping everywhere. To this day I still campaign a lot to try and get animals freed from travelling circuses wherever it still happens in the world.
It continues; another day, another time …………………….