The Academy Award/Oscar-winning “Joker” actor and vegan animal rights activist Joaquin Phoenix participated on June 26th at a vigil for Regan Russell with over 100 other animal rights activists.
The vigil was held at the notorious Farmer John slaughterhouse located in Vernon, California, and owned by corporate animal agriculture giant Smithfield foods.
Phoenix (Peta’s 2019 person of the year) has been to the Farmer John vigils many times in the past including most famously after his Oscar win in which he gave an emotional speech for the animals and specifically mentioned the cruelty of the dairy industry.
Regan Russell who was an activist most closely associated with the Animal Save Movement started by Anita Krajnc was by all accounts purposely murdered by an animal transport truck driver while giving water to the pigs on board the vehicle as she and other had done hundreds of times before.
Regan took her last breaths outside of a Fearmans Pork slaughter facility in Burlington, Ontario, Canada on June 19th of this year. She was an outspoken and brave activist her friend recount.
Standing for gender equality, racial justice, and human rights in addition to her animal rights activism she was an example of who we should all strive to be.
Joaquin spoke about Regan and her activism during an interview for People magazine while at Fearmans saying:
“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 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 new bill like other “ag-gag” laws keeps whistleblowers from showing the truth and the reality of what happens behind slaughterhouse walls and so-called farms.
Bill 156 takes it even further though by making it illegal for activists to “interact” with farmed animals in order to document their conditions and treatment.
The law also prohibits “persons from interfering with a motor vehicle that is transporting farm animals and from interfering or interacting with the farm animals in the motor vehicle without the prior consent of the driver of the motor vehicle.”
Regan was intent on this being her last vigil until Bill 156 was repealed but instead that day ended up being her last ever vigil thanks to a driver who saw her as little more than a nuisance.
Joaquin continued to speak out for Regan and against Bill 156 saying:
“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, My heart goes out to the Toronto Animal Save community and to Regan’s lifelong partner, Mark Powell.”
Mark Powell has hired legal counsel in the wake of Russell’s murder in an attempt to both fight for the justice she deserves and to hopefully overturn the new “ag-gag” law that some believe encouraged the driver to run her over.
“In pursuing justice, we have this to say; it does not end with a senseless death or a major meat distributor,” Powell said.
“This is not just a fight for vegetarians, vegans, and animal-rights activists. This is a fight for the sanctity of our rights as free citizens to demonstrate for what we believe in. We seek to repeal Bill 156 in its entirety, and let it be known we believe Regan’s blood is on the hands of those that supported this vile legislation.”
On June 28th the Animal Save Movement that Regan so loved and supported held a memorial service in her memory with her family, friends, partner, and over 200 fellow activists on the very spot where she was slain in Ontario.
Many at the memorial vowed to continue the fight to strike down the anti whistleblower Bill 156 both for the animals and for Regan.
Joshua Powell Regan’s stepson has created a crowdfunding campaign (linked here) called “Justice for Regan” that he will use to continue Regan’s fight into the future.
The local Burlington, Ontario police have yet to respond to questions submitted from media including Vegan News but say they are actively investigating the death of Regan Russell.
Her memory lives on and fuels activists both that she knew and many she never knew. Her death is becoming a catalyst for change.
“She died fighting for what she believed in, whatever it cost, she would pay. Sometimes it’s money. Sometimes, it’s this.” – Regan’s partner Mark Powell
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