Global Witness ‘Last Line of Defence’ report notes death of Regan Russell in Canada
Since 2012, Global Witness has been documenting the deaths of land and environmental defenders around the world.
Their most recent report – Last Line of Defence – notes that at least 227 land and environmental defenders were killed in 2020, including Regan Russell who died in Burlington, Ontario, Canada on June 19, 2020.
The 65-year-old activist was run over and killed by a transport truck in front of Fearman’s Pork Plant as she attempted to give water and comfort to the pigs in the trailer of that truck before they were driven into the slaughterhouse.
Weeks after she was killed, the Halton Regional Police Service charged the driver of that truck with careless driving causing death. Toronto Pig Save and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) later protested outside the Halton police station in Oakville saying that the driver should instead face criminal charges.
Actor Joaquin Phoenix has stated: “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.”
On June 18 of this year, Global News reported that mourners gathered outside Fearman’s Pork Plant to mark the one-year anniversary of Russell’s death.
That article adds: “Russell was one of many who spoke out against the Food Supply Protection Act, which received royal assent in June 2020 and came into force in early September. The law is supposed to limit interactions between the public and any element of the food supply business including farm animals, truckers and farmers. Penalties under the law include a fine of up to $15,000 for a first offence and $25,000 for subsequent offences tied to trespassing or obstructing vehicles carrying farm animals.”
Global News further notes: “Animal rights groups, such as Toronto Pig Save, Animal Save Movement and Animal Rebellion, had been vocal about the bill, launching petitions and websites opposing the legislation in the past year.”
A 2019 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that the West’s high consumption of meat and dairy is worsening the global climate crisis and described plant-based diets as a major opportunity for mitigating climate change. According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, farming livestock is responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Global Witness highlights: “Defenders are our last line of defence against climate breakdown. It has become clear that the unaccountable exploitation and greed driving the climate crisis is also driving violence against land and environmental defenders.”
To read the full Global Witness report, please click here.