Phoenix (L) and friend Michelle Cho (photo by Robert Sud)
Academy Award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix attended a vigil for slain animal activist Regan Russell, who was killed a few weeks ago by a truck transporting pigs to slaughter outside Toronto.
“Regan Russell spent the final moments of her life providing comfort to pigs who had never experienced the touch of a kind hand”, states Pheonix. “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”.
Phoenix joined more than 100 activists last Thursday to gather at the Smithfield-owned Farmer John slaughterhouse in Vernon to pay their respects to Russell, age 65, a former model and one of the pioneers of Canada’s animal rights movement as well as an activist for racial justice, gender equality, and other human rights causes including her disruption of a 2017 Bill Cosby event in support of #MeToo.
“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”, remarks Pheonix. “My heart goes out to the Toronto Animal Save community and to Regan’s lifelong partner, Mark Powell.”
Donate to Russell’s GoFundMe to gain justice for her death by helping her family carry on her legacy and seek to repeal Bill 156 in its entirety.
Bill 156 makes it a crime to uncover and report the truth about the treatment and unsanitary conditions of farm animals and animal processing facilities.
“In pursuing justice, we have this to say; it does not end with a senseless death or a major meat distributor”, states Russell’s husband Mark Powell. “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”.