The idealistic life and violent death of Hamilton animal rights champion Regan Russell

By Jon WellsSpectator Reporter

Sun., Aug. 2, 2020timer12 min. read

On her last evening alive, on the cusp of summer, Regan Russell sat in her backyard under a towering maple worthy of the Garden of Eden.

This was off Locke Street South, around the corner from St. John the Evangelist church, where as a girl she had asked the minister if animals had souls, and why they were sacrificed to God in the Bible.

Russell felt a weariness, and also foreboding, at what lay ahead.

She planned to attend her latest animal rights protest the next morning, June 19, outside Fearmans Pork on Harvester Road in Burlington.

Activists call the weekly demonstrations “vigils,” at which they “bear witness” to pigs hauled in trucks for slaughter, talk to the animals through gaps in the ventilated trailers, and squirt water into their mouths, as drivers pause before entering the facility.

She felt despair about a law passed two days earlier in the Ontario legislature — Bill 156 — that she knew would make it harder, even dangerous, to fulfil her calling to advocate for the pigs’ living conditions and work toward stopping the killing of animals altogether.

In her backyard, Russell, who had recently turned 65, sipped a glass of wine and talked with her spouse Mark Powell.

She had been active in animal rights for 40 years.

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She cared for rabbits, raccoons and wounded squirrels; she protested at Marineland in Niagara and a sled dog breeding operation in Quebec.

She pushed the envelope in her activism and was arrested nearly a dozen times.

“Maybe it’s time for you to pass the torch to the younger generation,” Powell told her. “We can still support them any way we can.”

He was worried for her safety more than usual.

But he also knew there was no stopping her. All he could do was say his piece.

The next afternoon, a woman stood at his door.

“There’s been an accident,” she said, tears in her eyes.

“Slaughterhouse,” Powell said.

“Yes.”

“It’s not good, is it?”

“No.”

One of the trucks carrying pigs had hit and killed Russell.

Her body had been taken to hospital for an autopsy.

The ripple effect of her death was about to be felt far beyond Hamilton.

The 28-year-old driver of the truck has been charged with careless driving causing death by Halton Regional Police under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, and police say “there were no grounds to indicate this was an intentional act.” But questions remain about exactly what happened that morning.

The answer to the deeper question of why Regan Russell took her final breath standing athwart a truck loaded with farm animals, moments from their inevitable end, is both simple and complicated.


The notion that farm animals like pigs are sentient — that they feel pain, at least as acutely as a dog, cat or an infant child — is the philosophical bedrock on which activists stand.

And it’s not mere faith, suggests University of Guelph behavioural biologist Georgia Mason.

“Pigs are considered sentient by the European Union and the National Academy of Science, and every animal welfare research group in the world,” she says.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture recently issued a statement questioning animal sentience, adding: “We simply don’t know if animals are capable of reasoning and cognitive thought.”

But cognition — the ability to understand and acquire knowledge — is distinct from the ability to feel, and it’s a red herring to raise it, Mason says.

“Most recognize that animals are sentient, and it’s not the same as saying they have cognition like humans. It just means they have feelings.”

She says the issue of sentience is more controversial when considering animals such as reptiles, fish, and mammals in a developmental stage — including humans.

“There are questions about at what point a fetus becomes sentient.”

The belief that animals deserve rights in line with humans was popularized 45 years ago in the book “Animal Liberation” by Australian philosopher Peter Singer.

He argued that if one accepts that unequal treatment between humans due to differences in race, gender or intelligence is immoral, then so too is poor treatment of animals, who are physically different from people, but “morally equal.”

It would be “speciesism” to think otherwise, he wrote, and: “We have to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Regan Russell read the book in her early 20s. Its message found a hungry mind and open heart.

And then, in 1977, she read about the seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, that had attracted international attention including a visit from French film star Brigitte Bardot, who condemned “Canadian assassins” clubbing the animals.

Russell had always loved animals but now the spark was lit.

She was living in Winnipeg at the time and made a sign and stood on a street corner.

“I thought, I’ll make a sign and protest and it will all stop,” she said to a journalist in a documentary. “I thought, when everyone knows, how could it possibly continue?”

Russell was idealistic, driven, and just getting started.

She grew up in west Hamilton in the 1960s. Bill and Pat Russell named their first of two children after one of the daughters in Shakespeare’s “King Lear” — a rare name for a girl then.

Bill, a music teacher at Regan’s elementary school, took a political science degree at McMaster University on the side, during the ascendance of feminism and civil rights.

There was always lots of conversation around the dinner table.

Regan read on subjects from Socrates to Gandhi and Roman history, but did not attend college or university after graduating from Westdale high school.

She married at 19, and when her husband’s job took him out west, she followed, and worked modelling for Eaton’s. (She refused to model fur, and was ultimately arrested at a fur protest in a department store in Toronto, along with her father.)

The “Animal Liberation” book is a gateway for many activists; a “moral shock” according to Emily Gaarder, an anthropologist at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, who wrote a book about the predominance of women in the animal rights movement.

But, she adds, there are other influences, as well.

Russell married twice before meeting Mark Powell in 2001. They knew each other as kids; she was six years older and had taught him Sunday school at church.

She chose to never have children. Powell says she talked of her fear that she would never develop a strong enough connection with a child.

Instead, he says, she directed her nurturing instinct toward animals.

One of Powell’s two sons from his first marriage called Russell, his stepmother, “Snow White,” after watching her talking to animals.

Ideology is another influence on activists. Gaarder says women emboldened to vigorously advance their cause are “political thinkers making political choices.”


That was true for Anita Krajnc, who joined Russell at many animal rights protests.

Krajnc earned several university degrees including a doctorate in political science.

Into her 20s, Krajnc says she was still a meat eater who “salivated at pig roasts.” She converted to veganism after reading “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” but an incident in her early 40s flipped a switch to her calling.

She lived near a slaughterhouse in Toronto and one day, walking her dog, she came across pigs on a truck. Later that year, she helped found Toronto Pig Save.

“I never took action until I saw the pigs,” she says. “I couldn’t believe how scared and sad they were. It looked like they were in a dungeon. A pig looked at me, and I promised him three vigils a week. And we kept that promise.”

In 2015, Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief for giving water to pigs. She was found not guilty, with Regan Russell offering moral support in the courtroom.

The pair campaigned against Bill 156, the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act. Activists believe it is a draconian “ag-gag” measure that will prevent them from exposing inhumane animal treatment.

While the vigils at Fearmans are held just outside the property, at other times, including last summer, Russell and fellow activists entered the grounds to give water to pigs, as workers yelled at them to leave.

In other incidents in Ontario, members of the group “Direct Action Everywhere” have broken into animal breeding barns to retrieve ducks and pigs.

Supporters of the bill say that when activists give water to pigs or trespass on private property, it creates dangerous situations for workers and farmers and is potentially harmful to the food supply.

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Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, told The Spectator the bill will not prohibit demonstrations, “but it will be illegal to interact with livestock. It’s dangerous when they put things in the trucks, whether it is water or something else.”

He says the bill won’t prevent whistle-blowing, and if anyone at a farm or meat processing plant “sees something inappropriate, we want it reported. I have no tolerance for animal cruelty.”

Activists believe that not only are pigs and other animals mistreated prior to killing, but that eating meat is wrong.

Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice, says the food system needs to “undergo a massive shift away from eating animals and toward eating plants, to spare billions of animals from unimaginable suffering, to tackle the climate crisis, and because eating animals is a serious risk to public health.”

In an email to The Spectator, she added: “Most people are shocked to learn animal welfare on farms is almost completely unregulated in Canada, and the government doesn’t inspect or monitor the conditions the animals like pigs are kept in … The industry gets to police itself; the figurative fox is guarding the literal henhouse.”

“That is an inaccurate statement,” counters Cameron Newbigging, a spokesperson with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency enforces regulations for the humane transport and slaughter of animals, and “provincial inspectors go onto farms where irregularities are suspected or complaints are received.”

What constitutes humane treatment is spelled out in Ontario’s Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act passed in 2019, and the federal Health of Animals Act.

One example is regulations for herding animals. Activists lament the use of electric prods to force pigs off trucks; the regulations say prods are permitted on pigs at least three months old, so long as “it is not applied to a sensitive area including the belly and the anal, genital and facial regions of the animal.”

Another regulation is that pigs and other animals cannot be trucked when the shipping time is longer than 12 hours.

Sofina Foods, owner of Fearmans Pork since 2012, said in a statement to The Spectator that its pigs come from farms within a three-hour radius of the plant, “well below the travel time permitted and recommended by regulators.”

For Regan Russell and other activists, the point of opposing Bill 156 was to ensure they remain free to comfort farm animals, and keep a close eye on transport and killing techniques in the industry.

On her Facebook page on June 18, Russell called the bill “evil.”


The protest on June 19 was different than the routine vigils. In addition to bearing witness, it was intended to draw attention to the bill.

That morning, just after 10 a.m., one of the trucks hauling pigs stopped on Harvester Road before it reached the gates of Fearmans.

Activists waited on the sidewalk for their chance to give water to the pigs.

Enforcement under the new law had not yet come into effect; they could still interact with the animals as usual.

Activists say that in the past, drivers have mostly co-operated with the vigils, but occasionally have confronted protesters.

Krajnc, who was not present that day, says she was told by witnesses the truck idled further away from activists than usual, disrupting traffic, “and creating a sense of chaos.”

At the same time, she said, Russell stood apart from the others, in the driveway closer to the gates of the property, and at some point the truck started to move again.

A news release from Pig Save Toronto says Russell “tried to jump from the path of the truck before it plowed into her.” Halton police said in a news release that it was not an “intentional act.”

video documentary about Russell, posted on the Pig Save Facebook page, says she was hit and dragged by the truck and her body mangled underneath.

“One of our activists has been killed,” says a man filming the aftermath on his phone. “Jesus Christ. It finally f—ing happened.”

Within days, animal rights activists held tributes in Russell’s honour, from Argentina to the U.K. and Italy, and in Germany, where protesters hung a banner on a slaughterhouse in Berlin bearing Russell’s likeness.

In Los Angeles, actor Joaquin Phoenix held a sign at a rally that read “Save Pigs 4 Regan,” and said in a statement: “Regan Russell spent the final moments of her life providing comfort to pigs who had never experienced the touch of a kind hand.”

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) announced it had acquired two six-week old pigs from a farm in Iowa, and took the rare step of naming them after an activist: One is named Regan and the other, Russell. They will live in an animal sanctuary in upstate New York.

A march was held in Toronto, where activists called on the province to implement “Regan’s Law,” a bill of rights to protect farm animals.

Powell was among the speakers.

“It is a horrible, life-changing tragedy, for everyone she knew and touched,” he says.

One of her oldest friends, Katherine Wightman, who Russell met through modelling in Winnipeg, says Regan used to talk about being ready to die for her cause.

“She died a martyr,” says Wightman. “She could have worked until she was 100 and never accomplished what this tragic death has.”

Russell’s death has become one of those moral shocks: her face a symbol, her alliterative name a rally cry.


At a pig vigil held three weeks after the incident, flowers from a tribute to her remained hanging on a fence outside Fearmans, having wilted and dried in the heat.

About 18 activists were there, and for some it was their first time.

Nancy Robertson drove 40 minutes from Cambridge where she works as a nurse, wearing a shirt with Russell’s likeness on it.

“(Russell) opened my eyes to doing more for the animals, being in public, having a united front and speaking up for them … Seeing the animals in distress deeply affected me. I’ve never seen one up close before. We would never treat a dog or cat or human that way.”

Jessie Watkinson drove an hour to attend, also inspired by Russell. She cried after offering water to the pigs.

“They were too hot and exhausted to even drink. You connect with one, they look at you, and in that two minutes you show them the compassion. I just wish we could do more.”

At her final protest, Russell had taken her turn spraying water into the mouths of the pigs. And she held a sign that read: “The truth should never be illegal.”

After she was killed, pigs in the truck that hit her were herded onto another, while police officers investigated.

There had been so much commotion in the moment: blood, sirens, and screams from an activist recorded on a phone: “No! No!”

If what Regan Russell believed to her core is true, that pigs feel and have perception beyond our understanding, then it was not just the humans who felt it deeply that morning: that something gentle and beautiful had been lost, on the road to slaughter.

Jon Wells is a Hamilton-based reporter and feature writer for The Spectator. Reach him via email: jwells@thespec.com

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The idealistic life and violent death of Hamilton animal rights champion Regan Russell
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Global: Ontario announces annual double-crested cormorant fall hunting season

ByGreg Davis Global NewsPosted July 31, 2020 12:08 pm

The province of Ontario is introducing a fall harevest of the double-crested coromorant.
The province of Ontario is introducing a fall harevest of the double-crested coromorant. File

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The province of Ontario is introducing an annual fall harvest of the double-crested cormorant as a step to protect fish stocks and natural habitat.

In Fenelon Falls on Friday morning, John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, announced that the hunting season will run annually from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31, beginning this year.

Yakabuski says Ontario has a healthy and sustainable cormorant population. The fish-eating bird — which consumes up to a pound a fish a day —  is known for its droppings called guana which can kill trees and other vegetation in which they nest and roost. They are notorious for destroying traditional nesting habitats of other colonial waterbirds.

READ MORE: Ontario government proposes full return of annual spring black bear hunt

“We’ve heard concerns from property owners, hunters and anglers, and commercial fishers about the kind of damage cormorants have caused in their communities, so we’re taking steps to help them deal with any local issues,” Yakabuski said. “In large amounts, cormorant droppings can kill trees and other vegetation and destroy traditional nesting habitats for some other colonial waterbirds, so it’s critical that we take action to strike a healthy balance in local ecosystems.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Following public consultations, the province has made changes to its initial proposal so as not to interfere with waterway users and other migratory birds.

“We listened to those who provided comments about the cormorant hunting proposal, and as a result, we are introducing only a fall hunting season to avoid interfering with recreational users of waterways and nesting periods for some migratory birds,” Yakabuski said. “We have also reduced the maximum number of cormorants a hunter can take to 15 a day, which is a similar limit to one for federally regulated migratory game birds such as mourning doves, snow and Ross’s geese, rails, coot and gallinules.”

Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, says cormorants have been a growing problem on Sturgeon Lake and Balsam Lake in her riding. “They have covered islands with their guano, killing trees and vegetation,” Scott said.

“We’re listening to local residents who have voiced their concerns and asked for additional tools to address the issue.”TWEET THIS

Last year, the ministry and partner agencies surveyed cormorant colonies across the Great Lakes and select inland lakes in Ontario. Based on nest count surveys, the province says there are an estimated minimum of 143,000 breeding cormorants in 344 colonies across the province.

The province says combined with historical data, trends suggest that cormorant populations are increasing in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior and are stable on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Huron.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENThttps://8f291139c8c942b58d8e426919dedfa0.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“Growing up in North Bay and spending many summers fishing on Lake Nipissing, I have seen firsthand the issues that cormorants have caused in some local areas,” said Mike Harris, parliamentary assistant to Yakabuski.

READ MORE: ‘What they’re doing is potentially illegal’: Kingston MPP wants investigation into Bill 197

“A new fall hunting season will help communities manage cormorant populations where they have negatively impacted natural habitat and other waterbird species.”

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters applauds the bird harvesting announcement.

“We are pleased to see a provincial government finally take action to control overabundant cormorant populations to help protect Ontario’s ecosystems,” said executive director Angelo Lombardo. “We are encouraged to see that the MNRF has made adjustments to the original proposal in response to concerns expressed by the OFAH and others.”

The Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association echos the sentiment.

“We strongly support the government’s decision to introduce a fall hunting season, which will help to control damaging cormorant populations,” said Jane Graham, executive director. “Our position has not been to seek the extinction of cormorants from Ontario but for the management of cormorants to promote a balanced ecosystem, which is in the best interests for all Ontarians.”

The province says hunters will be responsible for appropriately identifying their target and ensuring they are harvesting only double-crested cormorants. Cormorants can be consumed but if not, the province says the harvested birds must be disposed of properly.

Canadians want to see a ban on wildlife markets and an end to the commercial wildlife trade



23 hours ago


To date, more than 425,000 people globally have signed petitions to G20
government leaders, urging them to curb the global wildlife trade. In
Canada, 29,000 concerned residents have signed our petition and according to
our latest polling data, Canadians want to see our government act on this
issue.


In July 2020, World Animal Protection commissioned Northstar Research
Partners to conduct an online survey among a nationally representative
sample of Canadian residents to understand the perspective we have on the
wildlife trade.

The results are clear: Canadians care greatly about wild animals and their
fate.

* 75% want the Federal government to support a permanent ban on wildlife
markets.

* 70% support a ban on the commercial trade in wild animals, with 1 out
of 5 Canadians being in support of better regulations and measures to
control the trade.

* A majority does not support the use of wildlife for trophy hunting,
fur, exotic pets, traditional medicine and entertainment.

* Nearly all Canadians agree that the wildlife trade is cruel and can
cause suffering (93%), threatens biodiversity (89%), and public health
(89%).

See the full poll from NorthStar here.
<https://www.worldanimalprotection.ca/Global-Wildlife_Ban-Study-Report-July
2020>

We can no longer afford to ignore the fact that the current pandemic and
previous major epidemics around the world are fundamentally linked to our
poor treatment and exploitation of wild animals and our encroachment on
their habitats. Millions of wild animals are captured, bred and traded every
year for a variety of purposes including food, traditional medicine and as
exotic pets. Animal suffering occurs and zoonotic infections can spread at
every stage of the trade.

The Federal government can take the following steps to answer the call of a
growing coalition of Canadian and international animal protection
organizations, academics, conservationists, zoonotic disease experts, and
concerned Canadians by:

* Urging other G20 countries to support the immediate and permanent
closure of wild animal markets.

* Committing at the G20 to end the international trade in wild animals
and wild animal products that could contribute to the spread of zoonotic
diseases.

Working with provinces and territories to mitigate risks to public health,
animal welfare and our natural environment inherent to the keeping, use and
trade of wild animals and to harmonize and strengthen regulations and
enforcement to drastically reduce captive breeding, transport and the
physical and online trade in wild animals.


Sign the petition to join our campaign


Join us and thousands of other Canadians in calling on the Canadian
government to support and champion a global ban on the wildlife trade. Sign
now:

Ban the wildlife trade

<https://www.worldanimalprotection.ca/news/canadians-want-see-ban-wildlife-m
arkets-and-end-commercial-wildlife-trade>


Read more
<https://www.worldanimalprotection.ca/news/canadians-want-see-ban-wildlife-m
arkets-and-end-commercial-wildlife-trade

Small, But Welcome, Good News From Canada

by Barry Kent MacKay in BlogCanadaCoexisting with Wildlife on July 27, 2020

https://www.bornfreeusa.org/2020/07/27/small-but-welcome-good-news-from-canada/

Matthews, Sue / Public domain.

Amid the worldwide tsunami of bad news and sadness one searches for a trickle of positivity; something to celebrate.

For some time there has been a group, operating under the banner of the Pacific Balance Marine Management (PBMM), that has been lobbying to convince the government, and to garner public support, to legalize a commercial hunt for seals and sea lions on Canada’s west coast. The argument is the usual one – too many sea lions eating too many salmon (of commercial value, of course) in a region in need of employment and revenue. In an effort to seem to be attune to rapidly growing public awareness of just how badly our species has damaged the ecosphere upon which the survival of us all depends, a nuance was added: the seals and sea lions were eating fish needed by endangered orcas, whose own survival was thus compromised.

Fishermen commonly scapegoat any species that eats fish, blaming them for declines in the fish they want, seeing each desired fish consumed by something else as one belonging to them as if by divine right. Governments are motivated to go along with the idea in the hope of absolving themselves from accountability for the real threats to commercial fisheries, such as oil pollution, plastic pollution, toxic waste, nutriment overloading from agriculture and other human waste products, climate change, damage to breeding grounds from politically advantageous commercial development, and, to a huge degree, overfishing.

It is not seals and sea lions that threaten salmon, but deforestation that degrades upstream breeding habitat of salmon, the dams put across rivers, and the relentless pursuit of profit; and lately, it seems, the dissemination of disease and parasites from coastal fish farms. The two species food chains envisioned by the would-be seal killers fail to take into account a complexity of multi-species interactions within a dynamic environment that is difficult for non-scientists to comprehend, and so, it is hoped, is ignored, along with the scientists.

Once we realized that the science did not support PBMM claims, we pointed out that the notorious east coast commercial hunt for harp seals demonstrated that there was nearly no market for seal products, notwithstanding decades of effort in research and development into commercially viable seal products and efforts to find markets, funded by Canadian tax dollars.

Last year, a video that showed fishermen lobbing explosive devices into a pack of west coast sea lions went viral. Charges were laid.

And then, the headless sea lions started to appear. Bodies, reportedly including at least one of the endangered Steller’s sea lion, began to wash ashore along Vancouver Island’s coastline. There is a market for the intact skulls of mature sea lions.

There are only seals, no sea lions, on the east coast (and the seal skulls are often bashed or shot to kill the animal at any rate) but for skulls of the northern fur seal, Steller’s sea lion, and California sea lion, and maybe even the smaller harbor seal, all found on the west coast, there is some demand.

The good news? Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which manages marine mammals, has confirmed that no permits will be issued to PBMM or anyone to allow commercial hunting of west coast pinnipeds – seals, fur seals, and sea lions. Of course, we must remain vigilant. But for now, our west coast pinnipeds remain protected in Canada!

Rare white grizzly bear captured on camera in B.C. park

ByAmy Judd Global NewsPosted July 21, 2020 7:51 pm Updated July 21, 2020 8:01 pmNews: Rare white grizzly bear spotted in B.C.’s Yoho National Parkclose videohttps://globalnews.ca/video/embed/7203132/#autoplay&stickyiframe=miniplayer_7203132_5f1c762cbfa5b&muteMore video has surfaced of a rare white grizzly bear that’s been spotted in B.C’s Yoho National Park.

A rare white grizzly bear has been sighted by the side of the road in a B.C. park.

Oly Talens was driving through Yoho National Park in the Canadian Rockies on their way to Takakkaw Falls when a flash of white through the trees forced them to pull over and pull out a video camera.

Turns out, the animal, named Nakoda by locals, has been seen before in Yoho and Banff national parks, but not very often.

READ MORE: Concerns raised as people crowd rare white grizzly in Banff and Yoho parks

Parks Canada has previously said the bear is not albino, but actually a natural colour phase variation that makes it white.

The animal, believed to be about three and a half years old, can be seen in the video with its brown sibling.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENThttps://cf4ca2a280f1728229d4553c11701b81.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“They said seeing a grizzly up close in the wild is lucky, but two at the same time — and the (second) one is a rare white bear — is like winning a lotto ticket,” Talens said.

Parks Canada had to put out a statement following other sightings of the unusual bear, reminding the public to consider not stopping if they see wildlife as they travel through the parks, or, if safe to stop, to always stay in their vehicles and give the animal space.

“Bears and other wildlife that become comfortable around people and roadsides are at greater risk of being struck by a vehicle,” the agency said.0:38Rare white ‘spirit’ bear spotted with cub in B.C.Rare white ‘spirit’ bear spotted with cub in B.C.

WATCH: Bear cub with head stuck in bucket rescued in northern Ontario


Jenny YuenMore from Jenny Yuen

Published:July 20, 2020

Updated:July 20, 2020 3:19 PM EDT

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Even rarer is when you see that cub climb a tree and get stuck there.

Buchmann, 46, lives in Kenogami — about 15 kilometres west of Kirkland Lake and not far from the county dump. He says people had seen black bear cubs with their mother there earlier this year, but on Sunday, he had a direct encounter with one of the cubs that found itself in a serious pickle.https://www.youtube.com/embed/4uXCBiSBvtQ?rel=1&controls=1&autoplay=0&modestbranding=1&embed_config=%7B%22autonavRelatedVideos%22%3Atrue%2C%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%22EFneExC3GZeiVztRuRRe0w%22%2C%22OXbUmGfpr_rb_UeqROTwkg%22%2C%22Vu_SlTS4SNNUAIkCmSDzMQ%22%2C%22qNPpzfFRh29-ULwkF0ys0w%22%2C%22RROHNHB3JN8JxKST9xl_og%22%2C%22iiiXY1ue6nb7iqY8o8f62w%22%2C%22N9gPUr8QTM6RkHdKThDmQQ%22%2C%22Z1-u3qX7AUUPzH9O_Peb-Q%22%2C%22kjNuLzfw5Ep7EJuMdeFylw%22%2C%22YuLCUHAoN1fs3pZi3WPRnA%22%2C%22Vyik4cnxEmbefInU7JnWyw%22%2C%22rbOGpnOudmETQ0WZkyvD8g%22%2C%22jmGwjC7pytqz8vvL5lIuxA%22%2C%22HmA32WCmlUp9ZUF_clAPHg%22%2C%22zFyTrFm5aM-342rJsjBbXw%22%2C%22UCakXkuN4Z3Jnwf5aOay9ytw%22%5D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com&widgetid=2

The bear had first been spotted July 15, about 5 km from his home with a pail on its head. Buchmann suspects the mother abandoned the cub after being unable to remove the pail.

“The cub likely picked it up at the dump,” he said Monday, “and worked his way through the bush. We think it may have been the container for protein powder.”

“We’d heard reports since then about this bear cub,” he said. “(Sunday), we were doing some work on our guest cottage and my daughter was sitting on the deck and she said, ‘What’s that on the tree?’ I thought it might be a fisher or marten or even a cat, and I looked over and saw the big red bucket on its head.https://www.youtube.com/embed/I9SEv5Nyzrc?rel=1&controls=1&autoplay=0&modestbranding=1&embed_config=%7B%22autonavRelatedVideos%22%3Atrue%2C%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%22EFneExC3GZeiVztRuRRe0w%22%2C%22OXbUmGfpr_rb_UeqROTwkg%22%2C%22Vu_SlTS4SNNUAIkCmSDzMQ%22%2C%22qNPpzfFRh29-ULwkF0ys0w%22%2C%22RROHNHB3JN8JxKST9xl_og%22%2C%22iiiXY1ue6nb7iqY8o8f62w%22%2C%22N9gPUr8QTM6RkHdKThDmQQ%22%2C%22Z1-u3qX7AUUPzH9O_Peb-Q%22%2C%22kjNuLzfw5Ep7EJuMdeFylw%22%2C%22YuLCUHAoN1fs3pZi3WPRnA%22%2C%22Vyik4cnxEmbefInU7JnWyw%22%2C%22rbOGpnOudmETQ0WZkyvD8g%22%2C%22jmGwjC7pytqz8vvL5lIuxA%22%2C%22HmA32WCmlUp9ZUF_clAPHg%22%2C%22zFyTrFm5aM-342rJsjBbXw%22%2C%22UCakXkuN4Z3Jnwf5aOay9ytw%22%5D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com&widgetid=3

“I ran to get into long-sleeve clothing and I tried to grab it and it went further up the tree. I went to the shop to get a pole I could use to loop around the bucket.”

A friend arrived after a call from Buchmann’s wife and he went up the tree trying to get the bear but the cub went up to the highest branch.”

Buchmann, his wife and daughter filmed the encounter and posted it to Facebook.

In the four-minute long video, Elder, wearing camouflage garb, is seen up the tree, holding a pole, which he eventually uses to gently knock the cub into Kenogami Lake. From there, Buchmann retrieves the animal from the water and the two men, using a blanket, remove the bucket from the bear’s head.

Buchmann said Elder’s aunt is a veterinarian who has conducted bear rescues in the past and gave the men step-by-step instructions over the phone.

The cub was safely put into a dog kennel and though it appeared shaken at first, eventually calms down when Buchmann feeds it some fruits.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry was called and the cub, which he’s nicknamed “Kenny,” was bound for the Bear With Us rescue centre outside Huntsville where it will stay over the fall and winter and be released next spring.

In another bear encounter video that surfaced over the weekend, three hikers remain very still while a black bear sniffs them out.https://www.instagram.com/p/CC1TUlmAdA3/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=12&wp=578&rd=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com&rp=%2Fnews%2Fprovincial%2Fwatch-bear-cub-with-head-stuck-in-bucket-rescued-in-northern-ontario#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A22421.445000043605%7D

Reported to have been taken at Chipinque Ecological Park in Mexico, the video shows the black bear up on its hind legs while one of the women can be seen stretching out her arm to take a photo with the wild animal.

The clip has had millions of views since being shared on social media.

jyuen@postmedia.comCommentsShare your thoughts

Truck Driver Who Ran Over Animal Advocate Escapes Criminal Charges




July 20, 2020

1

A transport truck driver has avoided criminal prosecution in connection with
the death of animal advocate Regan Russell. Regan was violently run over and
killed last month by a truck taking pigs to slaughter outside Fearmans Pork
slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario.

The Halton Police
<https://www.haltonpolice.ca/about/media/view_release.php?releaseID=6575>
announced that they laid one provincial Highway Traffic Act charge against
the 28-year old truck driver-careless driving causing death. The police did
not release the name of the truck driver, or the video of the incident.

Provincial charges are considered far less serious than criminal charges.
The provincial offence of careless driving causing death carries with it a
penalty of $2,000 to $50,000 and up to two years in jail, and no criminal
record. A comparable criminal offence, such as dangerous driving causing
death, would be punishable by large fines and up to 14 years in prison, plus
a criminal record.

Regan Russell was a member of the Animal Save Movement, and was at the
slaughterhouse on the day she was killed to document the condition of pigs
trucked to slaughter in sweltering heat, and to help provide water to them.
She was also there in protest of Bill 156, dangerous so-called “ag gag”
legislation
<https://www.animaljustice.ca/media-releases/ontario-passes-ag-gag-law-to-co
ver-up-animal-abuse-on-farms> passed two days earlier by the provincial
government. Bill 156 aims to cover up animal cruelty in the farming
industry, and interferes with the Charter-protected rights of citizens and
journalists to protest and document animal abuse at farms, slaughterhouses,
and in transport. Animal Justice intends to
<https://www.animaljustice.ca/blog/animal-justice-to-continue-the-fight-agai
nst-bill-156-in-court> challenge the constitutionality of Bill 156 in court.

Although the police did not lay criminal charges against the trucker, they
rarely extend this leniency to animal advocates. Law enforcement authorities
regularly give preferential, slap-on-the-wrist treatment to industries
responsible for animal suffering, while pursuing serious criminal
prosecutions against people who expose and take action to stop animal
cruelty.

For instance, advocates have gathered extensive footage depicting illegal
pig suffering in transport trucks outside Fearmans Pork, including pigs
suffering from heat exhaustion and frostbite, and pigs arriving injured,
dead, or dying. Federal authorities generally refuse to prosecute Fearmans
or truckers for this suffering. Yet in 2015, the Halton Police charged
Animal Save Movement founder Anita Krajnc with criminal mischief for giving
water to thirsty pigs trapped inside a truck outside Fearmans Slaughterhouse
on a sweltering day. She was
<https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/judge-acquits-woman-in-pigs-w
ater-case/article34893404/> acquitted following a much-publicized trial.

Police also regularly lay trumped-up criminal charges against animal
advocates for acts that are not a criminal offence, such as going onto
private property to expose hidden animal suffering on meat and fur farms.
But law enforcement often goes easy on farmers responsible for abuse. Farms
and slaughterhouses caught on hidden camera viciously abusing animals have
never faced a single Criminal Code charge for animal cruelty in Ontario.
Authorities generally don’t bother to prosecute at all, even when there is
clear video evidence. On the rare occasions when charges are laid, they are
always less serious provincial charges.

Regan Russell’s family is also
<https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/regan-russell-1.5653593> calling
for a coroner’s inquest into her brutal death. A coroner’s inquest is
typically used to uncover broader, systemic issues responsible for a death.
In the case of Fearmans Pork, the slaughterhouse had for years refused to
negotiate a safety agreement with the Animal Save Movement to allow for safe
and peaceful protests, and truckers who created safety risks had never been
prosecuted.

Photo credit: Animal Save

https://www.animaljustice.ca/blog/truck-driver-who-ran-over-animal-advocate
escapes-criminal-charges

<https://www.animaljustice.ca/blog/truck-driver-who-ran-over-animal-advocate
-escapes-criminal-charges>

<https://www.animaljustice.ca/blog/truck-driver-who-ran-over-animal-advocate
-escapes-criminal-charges> Animal Justice – Truck Driver Who Ran Over Animal
Advocate Escapes Criminal Charges

A transport truck driver has avoided criminal prosecution in connection with
the death of animal advocate Regan Russell. Regan was violently run over and
killed last month by a truck taking pigs to slaughter outside Fearmans Pork
slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. The Halton Police announced that they
laid one provincial Highway Traffic Act charge against.

http://www.animaljustice.ca <http://www.animaljustice.ca>

The Birth of a Bill, the Death of an Activist

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/07/18/birth-bill-death-activist

Saturday, July 18, 2020byToronto Star

Regan’s viewpoint, known as intersectionality, is the theory that all forms of oppression, discrimination, domination etc., intersect and influence each other.byFiona Roossien

 3 Comments

Regan Russell, the Toronto Pig Save activist who was killed by a truck carrying pigs to slaughter. (Photo: Agnes Cseke)

Regan Russell, the Toronto Pig Save activist who was killed by a truck carrying pigs to slaughter. (Photo: Agnes Cseke)

On June 19, a protester was killed. Perhaps her death was obscured by the din of headlines that Friday—it was Juneteenth, a day marking the end of slavery.

Protests against systemic racism catalyzed by the death of George Floyd juxtaposed with a Trump rally scheduled on the anniversary and in the location of the worst incident of racial violence in the U.S. Tensions were high.

Her name was Regan Russell and while participating in a scheduled vigil outside of Fearmans slaughterhouse in Burlington, she was run down by a transport truck carrying pigs on their way to slaughter.

In the news covering this event, and in conversations I’ve had with friends and family, it seems the significance of a protester being run down by the very thing she was protesting has been missed. It seems many wonder what she was doing there.

A local news story gives the following account from someone who witnessed the event from a distance: “Then I saw a woman … I assumed the truck driver thought he was clear to go and didn’t see that last protester.”

Ironically, being seen is an important goal of the vigils held by animal rights groups at slaughterhouses—one way to create more visibility in an industry that would prefer to keep its practices hidden. And Regan was unignorable.

But she was also there that day to protest Bill 156—a new ag-gag law that had been passed two days earlier. Criticized as unconstitutional, Bill 156 is handcrafted to stifle damning evidence of the cruelty that is endemic to animal agriculture, with provisions that are distinctly anti-whistle-blower and anti-free-speech.

Like its counterpart, Bill 27 in Alberta, Bill 156 represents the influence of a powerful farming lobby desperately trying to limit exposure of something that can harm their bottom line — visibility into how the animal agriculture industry works. These sections don’t serve to protect the animals or reinforce biosecurity; they serve the sole purpose of controlling information.

The day before she died, Regan wrote on social media: “Bill 156 has passed. Now anytime an animal is suffering on a farm in Ontario, no one, not even an employee, has the right to expose it. This decision is evil. Animal ag is evil. Cancel animal agriculture.”

I’m so sorry that you didn’t get a chance to meet Regan Russell yourself. You would have loved her. I only hope that, in clearing up some of the questions about vigils, I can do her justice.

Regan didn’t look like what I suppose you’d expect a vegan to look like. At 65, Regan still possessed the qualities that decades earlier had made her a model — that is to say, her outer beauty was undeniable. But on the inside — well, that was truly special. She was funny and fast-witted, kind and patient.

She vibrated on a high frequency, if you are familiar with the concept. She was cynical, in a wise way, yet optimistic enough to try to make a difference. For 40 years, she had tried to make a difference. A week prior to her death, she had marched at a Black Lives Matter rally.

You see, Regan’s viewpoint, known as intersectionality, is the theory that all forms of oppression, discrimination, domination etc., intersect and influence each other. One of the signs she frequently brought to vigils read: “If you were in this truck, we’d be here for you too.” And you know what? She would have.

Personally speaking, up until two years ago, I wouldn’t have considered being an activist myself, despite being vegan for several years. It was my then 10-year old son — frustrated because he had been forbidden to talk about animal agriculture at school, who begged me and his dad, also vegan, to take him to a vigil. It became our church. Every Sunday morning we went to bear witness at Fearmans — sometimes with just a handful of people, sometimes in a group of 20 or more. Regan was almost always there too.

This leads me to an important point about Regan’s experience — as an activist, and specifically attending vigils at Fearmans, which she had done for years. This translates to hundreds of vigils, stopping thousands of transport trucks, bearing witness to the final moments of hundreds of thousands of pigs.

Regan understood the risks — after all, rogue aggressive drivers had been encountered in the past. In fact, this issue was the impetus for a petition created by Toronto Pig Save on change.org urging Michael Latifi, the CEO of Fearmans/Sofina Foods Inc., to create​ ​a safety agreement allowing activists to safely protest. Although the request has been ignored to date, other efforts had been made by both Toronto Pig Save and another activist group, New Wave Activism, to liaise with police, work with security and establish rapport with drivers.

Safety protocol is reviewed regularly with the group. Every vigil is timed. Roles are assigned to protestors to improve safety. Regan had one of those roles that day — standing at the entrance, just on the other side of the pedestrian sidewalk, with her now iconic bright neon sign that read ALL ANIMALS NEED PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW.

Although, thanks to the newly passed Bill 156, the ability to legally protect animals would soon be more difficult. It is a bill that exemplifies prioritization of commerce over our rights as Canadians and specifically seeks to punish animal activists. This reality was certainly top-of-mind for Regan and the other activists there that day — as much as it was likely on the radar of those who profit from animal agriculture.

As you can imagine, losing Regan has been a devastating loss to the activism community, to Toronto Pig Save and New Wave Activism and to the many individuals who Regan touched with her beauty, wisdom and compassion. Personally, there hasn’t been a day since that I haven’t cried a tear or two hundred — for the loss of a friend, and the loss of innocence, as I see for the first time just how unforgiving the machine we stand against can be.

And in the wake of Regan’s death, we are emboldened to articulate our demands in her name:

Justice for Regan Russell; the creation of a universal safety protocol for all future vigils; the repeal of Bill 156; greater visibility into farms where animals are kept and slaughterhouses via 24/7 video; monitoring that can be accessed by the public; the conversion of Fearmans Pork into an exclusively plant-based facility focused on the manufacture of plant protein; and the defunding of animal agriculture.

On the captivity, Regan said: “They say we’re breaking the law by storming? How do you think women got the right (to vote)? How do you think slavery was abolished? People stood up and broke the laws! Because they’re stupid laws.”

Let’s stand up to this stupid law.

Fiona Roossien wrote this article on behalf of Toronto Pig Save.

Two bear cubs rescued in Sudbury after mom is killed by a vehicle

Darren MacDonaldCTV News Northern Ontario Digital Content Producer

@Darrenmacd ContactPublished Thursday, July 16, 2020 2:19PM EDTLast Updated Thursday, July 16, 2020 6:59PM EDT

bear cubs

The cubs were tranquilized and trapped so they could be safely transported to Bear With Us Centre for Bears, where they will be cared for and released next year. (Supplied)

SUDBURY — Two bear cubs have been taken to an animal sanctuary after their mother was killed by a vehicle in the Sudbury community of Garson last week.

A social media post by the city on Thursday said after their mom was killed, the two cubs scrambled up a tree in a nearby park.

“City parks staff spotted the cubs and called in Greater Sudbury Police and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to help,” the city said. “These two beautiful cubs are in safe hands today after a frightening and tragic ordeal.”

Related Stories

The cubs were tranquilized and trapped so they could be safely transported to Bear With Us Centre for Bears, where they will be cared for and released next year.

A photo of the snoozing little bruins after they were captured and also posted on social media by the city.

“Thanks to everyone who helped give these two cubs a safe and happy outcome!” the city said. 

People just covered themselves in fake blood in the middle of a downtown Toronto street

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Hundreds of animal rights advocates marched through the streets of Toronto this afternoon to demand justice for Regan Russell, the activist who was killed by a pig transport truck while protesting at Fearman’s slaughterhouse in Burlington. 

Russell was dragged by the truck for more than 15 metres during the incident, and charges against the driver have not yet been pressed as Halton Police are still investigating. 

On Friday, protestors took to the streets to demand that Russell’s memory be honoured and that justice be served. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1284158186807689216&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.blogto.com%2Fcity%2F2020%2F07%2Ffake-blood-toronto-street%2F&siteScreenName=blogTO&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

Activists marched from CBC Headquarters to Queen’s Park, where speakers including Russell’s husband, Toronto Pig Save’s lawyer, activists and friends of Russell passionately addressed the crowd. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1284196253342085121&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.blogto.com%2Fcity%2F2020%2F07%2Ffake-blood-toronto-street%2F&siteScreenName=blogTO&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

At one point, while walking down Queen Street West, activists laid down in the middle of sidewalk and street and covered themselves in fake blood in order to make a statement about Russell’s tragic death. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1284217385109651456&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.blogto.com%2Fcity%2F2020%2F07%2Ffake-blood-toronto-street%2F&siteScreenName=blogTO&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

The entire protest was livestreamed from the Animal Save Movement’s Facebook page, and it shows masked protestors holding signs saying things like “We are Regan Russell,” and “Go vegan 4 Regan.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-3&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1284189643794251777&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.blogto.com%2Fcity%2F2020%2F07%2Ffake-blood-toronto-street%2F&siteScreenName=blogTO&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

In addition to honouring Russell, activists also demanded that Bill 156 be repealed and replaced.

The new legislation was passed by the Ontario government earlier this year and makes it much easier for farms to hide the conditions in which animals are kept from the public.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-4&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1284220436495110144&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.blogto.com%2Fcity%2F2020%2F07%2Ffake-blood-toronto-street%2F&siteScreenName=blogTO&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

“The Bill is intended to protect farm animals, the food supply, farmers and others from risks that are created when trespassers enter places where farm animals are kept or when persons engage in unauthorized interactions with farm animals,” reads theexplanatory note at the beginning of the bill.

The law states that activists, media and any other trespassers could receive fines of up to $25,000 for entering a farm property for a number of reasons, including to document the animals’ living conditions or to simply interact with them.

“Activists are demanding that Bill 156, the ag-gag law passed by the Ontario legislature just two days before Regan was run over, be converted into Regan’s law, which protects farmed animals from abuse as well as the whistleblowers who expose the suffering of animals,” reads a statement from protestors. 

“Doug Ford and the members of the Ontario legislature need to know what Regan Russell stood for and how Bill 156 has failed her!!!”Lead photo by 

Toronto Pig Save