Animal rights protesters clash with trucker supporters after woman was killed by semi

Dozens of protestors gathered outside a slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario where an animal rights activist was hit and killed by a semi-truck last month.

Pro truckers and animal activists met at the site to express their sides of the situation.

On June 19, 65-year-old Regan Russell was fatally struck by a truck hauling pigs while protesting with the group Toronto Pig Save outside of a meat processing plant.

On July 20, the driver was charged with careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act in the death of Regan Russell.

The protest between the two groups took place on July 30 outside of Fearman’s Pork Inc. on either side of the intersection on Harvester Road outside Fearman’s Pork Inc.

Animal rights activists routinely demonstrate outside of the facility and ask truck drivers to stop to give them a moment to “bear witness” to the animals who are about to be processed. Many approach the trucks to give water to the pigs who are in trailers heading into the plant.

Pro truckers could be seen walking the crosswalks with a large banner that read “safety first, do not cross.” When trucks drove up to enter the slaughterhouse, those with the banner would yell for the activists to get away from the trucks, saying “this driver does not want to stop for you.”

Tensions escalated as protesters from either side continued to yell back and forth as activists went to give water to the pigs.

Halton Regional Police Services were at the location to try and keep the two groups apart. They broke up some minor clashes and had to remove at least one animal rights protester who wouldn’t let a truck carrying hogs into the facility.  

Protests, vigils and rallies by the Toronto Pig Save group have continued since the death of Russell.

The company that the truck driver worked for, Brussels Transport, has also said that they have been targeted with threats from animal rights groups.

Tyler Jutzi, whose family owns Brussels Transport, told CTV News, “They threatened to blow up trucks. They threatened to sabotage trucks. They threatened to burn the slaughterhouse down.”

Officials recently passed Bill 156, also known as the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020. This bill allows the Ontario government to issue “escalating fines of up to $15,000 for a first offense and $25,000 for subsequent offenses” to protesters who interfere with livestock haulers.