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Animal rights activist killed while holding vigil outside slaughterhouse

Last Updated Jun 19, 2020 at 4:20 pm EDT

Halton Regional Police investigate after a woman was killed in a collision with a vehicle near a slaughterhouse in Burlington on June 19, 2020. (HUGUES CORMIER/CITYNEWS)

A long-time animal rights activist died after being hit by a truck while protesting outside a slaughterhouse west of Toronto on Friday, her friend said.

Anita Krajnc, co-founder of the group Toronto Pig Save, said the victim was one of a handful of activists with her organization holding a vigil outside a pork processing plant in Burlington, Ont., on Friday.

A news release from the Animal Justice organization identified the victim as Regan Russell.

“She was in front of the truck when it ran over her,” said Krajnc, who wasn’t at the vigil, but relayed what one of the witnesses saw.

The group plans to hold an all-night vigil in honour of their friend 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, in her 60s, 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 provincial legislation that protects farmers from animal rights activists who trespass on their property.

Animal Justice said Regan Russell died at a protest outside of a Burlington slaughterhouse on June 19, 2020.

Toronto Pig Save, along with many other animal rights activists, vociferously protested the passage of the bill, which they referred to as the “ag gag” bill.

“There was a feeling to bear witness to the pigs and this person, our friend, was showing compassion and love to the animals for years,” Krajnc said.

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.

“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.

She was later found not guilty of criminal mischief when it went to trial.

Sofina, which owns Fearman’s Pork, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.