Practical Issues > Factory Farming > Cows

Thursday October 27, 2005 at 9pm on CBC-TV
repeating Monday October 31 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld


Frankensteer is a disturbing documentary that reveals how the ordinary cow has been turned into an antibiotic-dependent, hormone-laced potential carrier of toxic bacteria, all in the name of cheaper food. Frankensteer exposes the harsh and sometimes frightening realities of how our beef gets to our tables.

According to this compelling documentary, the beef industry, supported by North American government agencies and pharmaceutical companies, has engaged in an on-going experiment to create the perfect food machine. Their goal is to increase the speed of production and reduce the cost of manufacture. But there is a price in producing a cheap industrial product. This benign, grazing herbivore has undergone a transformation in how it's raised, fed and slaughtered. Consumers are unaware of the dangers lurking in their beloved steaks, ribs and, especially, hamburgers.

According to Mike McBane of the Canadian Health Coalition, "When you bring a package of hamburger home from a supermarket, you have to treat it as toxic material--"

Frankensteer reveals some startling facts. Every year, fifty per cent of the total tonnage of antibiotics used in Canada ends up in livestock. Cattle raised in massive feedlots are routinely dosed with antibiotics even if they are not sick for public health safety reasons. During the current BSE (Mad Cow) crisis, North American health officials labeled parts of the cow as bio-hazardous products and ordered that they be handled accordingly. Recent changes in inspection rules have shifted the responsibility for food safety from government inspectors to the people on the floor who do the slaughtering and packing.

Frankensteer is written and narrated by Ted Remerowski and produced and directed by Marrin Canell and Ted Remerowski. It is a production of Paradigm Pictures.

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