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Regan Russell

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Regan Russell
Regan Russell Regan Russell.jpg
Regan Russell protesting outside a slaughterhouse
19 June 202019 June 2020
🏳️ Nationality
💼 Occupation
Fashion model
Animal rights activism
🏡 Home townHamilton

Regan Russell (1955–19 June 2020) was a Canadian animal rights activist, who was killed by an animal transporter whilst demonstrating outside a slaughterhouse in June 2020.


Regan campaigned for animal rights for over 40 years. Her activism began in 1979, when she was 24.[1] Her first protest was against seal culling outside a government building in Winnipeg. Six years later she read Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals and became a vegan.[2] Regan was also an advocate for Black Lives Matter and indigenous rights.[3] Filmed while protesting against a zoo, Russell declared that "People say we’re breaking the law by storming. How do you think women got the right [to vote]? How do you think slavery was abolished? People stood up and broke the laws — because they’re stupid laws."[4]


On June 19, 2020, Russell attended a protest outside of Fearmans Pork with Toronto Pig Save. According to her husband, "There was an arrangement that the drivers would stop and allow for two minutes for the watering of pigs and recognition, and then the drivers would proceed."[5] At 10.20 am, Russell was struck by a lorry,[2] despite reports that she attempted to jump out of its path.[6] According to her friend Tita Zed, she was always careful around the vehicles; "I do remember that Regan was hyper-vigilant about the cars and trucks around us, and she grabbed my arm more than once."[7] Regan's husband stated, "Whatever it cost, she would pay ... Sometimes it's money. Sometimes, it's this."[8]

After an investigation, the driver was cited with the Highway Traffic Act offence of careless driving causing death, which is not a criminal offense because the act was not intentional.[9]

In Montreal, Joaquin Phoenix attended a memorial demonstration where he was quoted, "While her tragic death has brought upon deep sorrow in the Animal Save community, we will honour 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."[10]

The slaughterhouse was asked to release the pigs in the truck which killed Regan to a sanctuary. The request was refused.[3] PETA persuaded an Iowa farmer to give them two pigs that would otherwise be sold for slaughter; PETA named the pigs Regan and Russell, and sent them to an animal sanctuary..[11] In London, protestors locked and glued themselves to the road outside of the Canadian embassy during a week of action in memory of Regan[12] In Naples, a 'sit-in' was held outside of an abattoir in Russell's memory[13].


  1. Vives, Judith (June 25, 2020). "La sospechosa muerte de una defensora de los animales atropellada por un camión". La Vanguardia (in Spanish).CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Craggs, Samantha (June 26, 2020). "'My life ended' Friday: Regan Russell's supporters want justice, Bill 156 overturned". CBC. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Casey, Liam (June 19, 2020). "Protester dies after being hit by truck outside slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ont". The Globe and Mail.
  4. Van Dongen, Matthew (June 19, 2020). "'Animals were her life': Hamilton woman Regan Russell killed while giving pigs water outside Fearmans slaughterhouse". The Hamilton Spectator.
  5. Bambang, Sadewo (June 22, 2020). "'Protect what she stood for': Family of killed activist calls for continued fight against animal abuse at Burlington slaughterhouse vigil". Inside Hamilton. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  7. Clifton, Merritt (June 20, 2020). "Pig transport truck kills animal advocate Regan Russell outside slaughterhouse". Animals 24-7.
  8. Fernadez, Alexia (June 26, 2020). "Joaquin Phoenix Attends Vigil for Animal Rights Activist After She Died Outside a Slaughterhouse". Yahoo! News.
  9. Rosella, Louie (July 20, 2020). "'Outrage': Truck driver charged in incident at Burlington slaughterhouse that left animal rights protester dead". InsideHalton.com.
  10. Furdyk, Brent (June 27, 2020). "Joaquin Phoenix Attends Vigil Honouring Canadian Animal Rights Activist Who Died Giving Water To Pigs Outside Slaughterhouse". Entertainment Today.
  11. Craggs, Samantha (June 29, 2020). "Joaquin Phoenix speaks out about death of Regan Russell: 'We will never back down'". CBC.
  12. Christian, Carlos (June 26, 2020). "Animal rights activists block traffic by gluing themselves to road outside London's Canadian Embassy". The Union Journal.
  13. Sorrentino, Pasquale (July 2, 2020). "Sit in di protesta pacifico degli attivisti al macello di Atena Lucana, in memoria di Regan Russel". Giornal del Cliento (in Italian).CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)

External links[edit]

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