Press Release November 20, 2020

Joaquin Phoenix Pays Tribute to Regan Russell at Toronto Pig Save Vigil This Morning

Media Contacts: Anita Krajnc: Co-founder Toronto Pig Save, Jenny McQueen
Phone: 1-416-825-6080, 647-230-1924
Media Folder: Media

Joaquin Phoenix with Mark & Josh Powell

(Friday, November 20, 2020, Burlington, Ontario) Joaquin Phoenix joined the family and friends of fallen activist Regan Russell at a Toronto Pig Save vigil outside Sofina Foods’ Fearmans slaughterhouse in Burlington on November 20, 2020. Joaquin, who was wearing an LA Animal Save Hoodie, bore witness and appeared to be moved to see the pigs crammed in the trucks and their sad eyes. He offered comfort to Regan’s husband Mark Powell and was humble throughout. Joaquin Phoenix said "I’m here to honour Regan Russell and all the animal activists who dedicate their lives to ending this injustice."

Joshua Powell, Regan’s step son said, "We were stricken by his humble, courteous nature and really appreciated the moments we had to talk with him and share stories about Regan."

On June 27th, 2020 Joaquin issued 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. While her tragic death has brought upon deep sorrow in the Animal Save [Movement] community, we will honor her memory by vigorously confronting the cruelties she fought so hard to prevent by marching with Black Lives [Matter], 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."


Regan Russell (65) was a decades long pioneer in Canadian animal rights activism, who had peacefully campaigned on behalf of non human animals for over 40 years. On June 19th 2020, she was violently struck and killed by a transport truck carrying pigs entering Sofina’s Fearmans slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. She was attending a special pig vigil with Toronto Pig Save to protest Bill 156 which had passed the previous day and to bear witness to some of the 10,000 sentient beings who are violently killed each day.

Dubbed an ag-gag, Bill 156 is an undemocratic and unconstitutional piece of legislation which infringes on the right to assemble, and criminalizes activists and whistleblowers working to expose animal exploitation and the horrors of animal slaughter.

This month saw the premiere of There Was a Killing by Earthlings and Unity Director Shaun Monson. It features first-hand accounts and in-depth analysis from attorneys Robert Monson, Lisa Bloom, and David Simon exposing corruption and a cover-up that has allowed the animal agriculture industry to avoid the legal and economic consequences of their behavior. Shaun said, “In exploring the story, including a new animal ag-sponsored law that appeared to be a license to kill, one can’t help but wonder if there was a cover-up and corruption involved.”

Toronto Pig Save was started in December 2010 as a grassroots, animal rights, vegan group and has since grown worldwide becoming the Animal Save Movement with 1000 Save chapters in over 70 countries worldwide.