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‘My life ended’: Regan Russell’s husband and supporters want Ontario’s Bill 156 overturned

Mark Powell (Husband of Regan Russell): I will fight it the rest of my life. So, for as long as I am left here, we have to pick up the torch, and we have to fight things like Bill 156.

SAMANTHA CRAGGS: As far as Mark Powell is concerned, his life ended last Friday when his wife, Regan Russell, was hit and killed by a transport truck during a Burlington animal rights protest. Now he’ll spend the rest of his days, he says, trying to get rid of the bill that haunted her. Powell, a west Hamilton contractor, says there’s been an international outpouring over Russell’s death, from artwork to YouTube tributes, and it’s helped make the grief a little lighter. His wife was deeply rattled by Bill 156, which creates “animal protection zones” that prohibits animal rights activists from “interfering or interacting with the farm animals in the motor vehicle.”

He’s hired a lawyer for two reasons: to see justice in her death, and to try to get the new bill repealed. “I’ll fight it the rest of my life,” he said. “My life ended on Friday, so for as long as I’m left here, we have to pick up the torch, and we have to fight things like Bill 156″… Russell often posted her thoughts on Facebook, most recently about Bill 156. “Bill 156 has passed,” she wrote on the day before she died. “Now, any time an animal is suffering on a farm in Ontario, no one, not even an employee, has the right to expose it.”

Animal rights activists have been rallying against the Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019 since January. The bill was introduced in the Ontario legislature late last year. Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman said it’s in response to complaints from farmers about animal rights groups trespassing on their private property. The bill, he said, is a “bio-security” measure. It increases the fines for anyone caught trespassing on farms or food processing plants, and makes it illegal to gain access to a farm under “false pretenses,” which effectively makes undercover filming an offence…

The notion of Russell having a legacy is comforting to Powell and others who knew her. The 65-year-old activist often protested in front of Fearman’s Pork Inc. as part of Toronto Pig Save. The group gives a last gulp of water to pigs packed into hot trailers, moments before they’re slaughtered. That’s what she was doing at 10:20 a.m. June 19. Somehow, witnesses say, she ended up being hit by the transport truck. Halton Regional Police Service said that the collision reconstruction unit is doing a “thorough investigation.”  SOURCE…

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