Award-winning filmmaker Shaun Monson, the director behind the feature film Earthlings, is releasing a new documentary about Regan Russell—a longtime animal-rights activist killed in June by a transport truck carrying pigs into slaughter outside of Fearmans Pork in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. 

Premiering worldwide today, There Was A Killing chronicles the aftermath of Russell’s death. Approximately 30 minutes in length, the film includes new investigative angles of first-hand video footage taken by activists that was reported to have been originally confiscated by police. Interviews with attorneys, a former slaughterhouse truck driver, and activists present at the scene provide insight into the events that lead to Russell’s killing and how authorities handled the aftermath.

Killed one day after the passing of Ontario’s ag-gag legislation Bill 156, Russell—an activist since 1979—was attending a vigil with animal-rights group Toronto Pig Save, an arm of the larger Animal Save Movement when the transport truck accelerated and killed her. The bill, which bans activists from “interacting” with farmed animals to document their abuse, includes verbiage that prohibits “persons from interfering with a motor vehicle that is transporting farm animals and from interfering or interacting with the farm animals in the motor vehicle without the prior consent of the driver of the motor vehicle.” There Was A Killing delves into the role of Bill 156 on Russell’s killing and its influence on the driver’s misdemeanor charges of careless driving—charges that animal-rights group Animal Save claims are insufficient. 

“It is compelling to see the footage, some of which was never released to the public, and hear first-hand accounts of Regan’s death,” Monson told VegNews. “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.”

Following the film’s 3:00 pm ET online premier, Monson and Lisa Bloom—a vegan civil rights attorney and legal commentator—will lead a live, interactive Q&A session. Registration for the live event can be found on Animal Save’s website

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