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$5 million lawsuit filed in the death of protester struck by truck at slaughterhouse

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The family of a prominent animal rights protester has filed a lawsuit against a truck driver and a trucking company involved in her death at an Ontario pork processing plant two years ago.

The family of Regan Russell recently filed suit against truck driver Andrew Blake and trucking company Brussels Transport, as well as Sofina Foods, which owns Fearmans Pork plant, according to a report from CBC. The lawsuit is seeking $5 million.

Russell, who was 65, was killed outside of the Fearman’s Pork plant in Burlington, Ontario, in June 2020.

Russell was participating in an animal rights protest that involved giving water to pigs before slaughter with the group Toronto Pig Save. She was struck by a Brussels Transport truck hauling pigs into the plant and died from her injuries.

The protest was held in part in response to the passage of Bill 156, also known as the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020. The 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.

The lawsuit asserts that Blake made an unsafe turn and that Brussels Transport failed to ensure that Blake was competent. The suit also argues that Sofina Foods failed to provide for the safety of pedestrians at the plant.

Blake was previously issued a careless driving traffic charge as authorities found no proof of criminal intent, but the case hasn’t yet come before a court.

Tyler Jutzi, whose family owns Brussels Transport, told CTV News after the incident that the trucking company had been targeted by animal rights groups after Russell’s death.

“They threatened to blow up trucks. They threatened to sabotage trucks. They threatened to burn the slaughterhouse down,” Jutzi said.

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