Vegan Protester Dead After Being Struck by Trucker Outside Meat Plant

Burlington authorities have issued charges against a truck driver who was involved in the death od a vegan protester outside a meat processing plant on Harvester Rd.

On June 19, 65-year-old Regan Russel was struck by a truck driver outside Fearman’s Pork Plant on Harvester Rd. Halton Regional Police say no evidence suggests the driver struck Russel intentionally. The police were called around 10:20 a.m. to Harvester Rd. for reports a pedestrian has been hit.

The accident happened when Russel, who was a long-time animal rights activist, was serving water to the pigs that were driven to the slaughterhouse.

Russel was at the plant participating in a “vigil” with a local animal rights group. The vigil was a response to Bill 156 (Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020), with which the government can issue escalating fines, starting at $15,000 for the first offense and $25,000 for subsequent offenses” to protesters who interfere with livestock haulers.

The animal rights group in which Russel was a member have marched to demand “justice” for her death. “Charges should be laid against the truck driver and Brussels Trucking company. Brussels’ operating license should be revoked,” was one activist group’s petition for actions to be taken following Russel’s death.

Anita Krajnc, the founder of the Animal Save Movement, said the following about Russel: “Regan was a kind, elegant, strong, and courageous person,… She was a mentor to others, and she always did activism with kindness in her heart.” 

Krajnc added that Regan was among a handful of activists holding vigil outside the pork processing plant on Friday.

Being a co-founder of the Toronto Pig Save movement, Krajnc drew international headlines in 2015 when she was arrested while giving water to the pigs on a hot day. She was dismissed from the charges for criminal mischief. 

The trucker, a 28-year-old man from North Perth, Ont., was charged with one count of careless driving, causing death under the Highway Traffic Act. Still, the police say there is no evidence to suggest a criminal act took place.

Russel’s family is petitioning for a coroner’s inquest after the incident. 

Shane Martinez, a lawyer for the animal rights movement, states that the inquest will give a full picture of what happened to Russel. Martinez added that they “believe there was video that captured the entire incident. We haven’t had a chance to see that video yet. We believe it’s in the possession of the police.”

The petition came on the same day when the Toronto Pig Save group held a Justice for Regan rally in downtown Toronto last week against Bill 156. Krajnc suggested the opposite – a “Regan Bill of Animal Rights.”

Krajnc added that such a bill would “protect the right of protesters to protest in safety, defend whistleblowers, recognize the personhood of pigs and other animals, and replace meat subsidies with subsidies to transition our food system to a completely vegan, plant-based one.”

The death of Russel has gained worldwide attention in vegan and animal rights activist circles. Actor Joaquin Phoenix and friend Michelle Cho were photographed holding signs with #SavePigs4Regan and Rest in Power Regan.

Joaquin Phoenix and Michelle Cho holding banners supporting the Justice for Regan movement.