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Joaquin Phoenix has paid tribute to an animal advocate who was killed earlier this month by a truck transporting pigs to slaughter in Canada.

Regan Russell, 65, a long-time member of Toronto Pig Save, died after a collision at a vigil at Fearman’s Pork – a processing plant in Ontario, Canada.

Phoenix attended a vigil last week to commemorate Russell. More than 100 people attended the event at the Smithfield-owned Farmer John slaughterhouse in Vernon.

‘Tragic death’

In a statement sent to Plant Based News, Phoenix said: “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 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.”


An investigation is currently being conduction by Halton police who released a statement saying: “Our Collision Reconstruction Unit remains on scene to conduct an investigation.

“We extend our sincere condolences to the friends and family of the deceased.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.