Frankensteer – Exposing the Health Risks of Industrialized Beef Production
This factual, thought-provoking and disturbing documentary investigates the dangers of eating beef to human health. Frankensteer reveals how over the last three decades the meat industry has turned the once benign, pasture-grazing herbivore into an antibiotic and drug dependent, homone-laced, carrier of deadly and toxic bacteria that is contaminating food consumed by humans—all for cheaper meat.
Frankensteer demonstrates how the beef industry, combined with the U.S. and Canadian federal government and the pharmaceutical industry have colluded to experiment to create an industrial food machine using drugs and hormones to quickly grow, fatten and finish a cow, knowing that the drugs used can cause cancer in humans and are considered harmful to human health. These hormones are known to be especially harmful for young children and women, due to causing reproductive cancers. Increasingly, the meat industry and the federal government is using artificial means of raising farm animals for meat that has had significant and deadly consequences to humans consuming the products, and has put human health at risk for industry profits.
Frankensteer interviews experts on both sides of the fence, including agricultural research scientists, large animal veterinarians, medical and nutritional researchers, feedlot operators, agricultural economists, organic farmers, and Canadian health officials, all revealing how the conventional practices of beef production expose humans to high risk for infection, disease and even death. Today, the majority of antibiotics manufactured are used for farm animals, which are then consumed by humans. Today, many parts of the cow are now labeled toxic waste, and are deadly, and considered bio-hazardous products that must be disposed of as biohazard waste. And due to increasing efficiencies in slaughterhouses and ever-faster line speeds, cow’s feces are increasingly contaminating the food supply with the E. coli bacteria causing sickness and death. But the meat industry and governmental agencies are working very hard to keep consumers in the dark and not expose us to the dangers lurking in beef including the concerning potential for Mad Cow Disease (BSE) that could wipe out entire communities quickly. Pure and simple, beef is becoming increasingly risky to consume.
The film asks, at what cost do we go back? At what cost can we undo what we have created? At what cost do we turn “Frankensteer” that antibiotic dependent, hormone-laced, carrier of toxic bacteria back to that flatulent, benign herbivore that it once was?
If you eat meat, you must watch this film. You may think twice before ever buying ground beef, ribs, or steak or ordering a hamburger again. We may have the cheapest food in the world, but there’s a cost – to our health, to the environment, and to the animals.
Film Length: 45 Minutes
Originally Produced: 2005
Quotes From the Film
Cattle never evolved to consume a high grain diet, they are ruminant animals that naturally feed on grass. Feeding cattle grains has to be done very slowly – too much, too quickly and they get sick and die. Cattle can get severe lactic acidosis from eating grains that will kill them, it poisons them.
Feedlots across North America give cattle regular sub-therapeutic antibiotics used to prevent disease from spreading in highly industrialized, overcrowded farm animals. It is administered in the diet for both sick and healthy animals.
Europe banned sub-therapeutic antibiotics for all farm animals. But the U.S. and Canada still use it.
Antibiotics and hormones also work to cause the animal to grow faster, more quickly. Cattle are pumped up like body-builders on steroids.
Revelor-H is one of the two hormones used for implantation under the skin behind the ear of the cow, which increases their size quickly. Studies have shown, however, that there are serious problems with their immunological system, which can harm people consuming beef. But both Canada and the U.S. approved using the Revelor-H drug.
The Europeans have banned the use of Revelor-H and all growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics used in animals for food in 1988, and the EU also banned the import of beef from Canada, because the cows are fed these drugs. The EU uses a precautionary measure to protect citizens.
Dawe’s Laboratory produced the chemical DES, or diethylstilbestrol, it was one of first hormones used to fatten cattle, but it was found to cause cancer in humans, and was eventually taken off the market.
Estradiol is one of two compounds that makes up Revelor-H. Estradiol is a complete carcinogen. It grows tumors. The most at risk are young girls and pregnant women, and it is also known to cause breast cancer.
The European Union banned Revelor-H and Estradiol because it is deemed to be a true carcinogen. But the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved Estradiol for use in the U.S., even though countless medical research studies show it to be a strong carcinogen and causes cancerous tumors.
In 2005, the private citizens of Canada spoke out against Canada’s approval of cancer causing drugs administered to cows.
Starting in the 1950s dead animals were ground up and fed to cows, transferring herbivores into carnivores unnaturally—this included road kill, dead pets and dead cows. Dead cows were fed to live cows. But British cows started becoming very sick, and they quickly became contaminated with viruses, bacteria and toxins through feeding them dead animals, especially dead cows. The problem was nothing would kill the bacteria from the dead animal feed – it was BSE or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, otherwise known as Mad Cow Disease, which can jump species. Young people started coming down with a variant of BSE called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), as a result of eating infected animals infected. They had exposure to meat products that were infected. 150 English citizens died from the disease.
But the U.S. lobbied to continue feeding dead animals to cows and other farm animals, even though the danger of sickness and death was evident.
In 1997, Canada imposed a feed ban and could no longer feed dead cattle to cattle. With one exception, the blood from cows could be fed to baby cows. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency ignored the science that recommended against it.
Cows can actually harbor this dreaded disease (BSE or Mad Cow Disease), and we can not even be aware of it. In the last few years, the food safety agencies only tested 2% of all cows to find BSE. But what about the other 98% of animals that are not tested? The more you test for BSE, the more you find BSE. But Canadian authorities do not want to know the contamination level. No European nation would want to follow Canada’s lack of safety measures, they would look at Canada as a lackadaisical, U.S.-influenced model that is not producing safe food.
Testing for BSE is not the best way to test for the virus. The best protection against BSE is to remove the high-risk material – the brain, spinal cord, and intestines from the food supply. In the slaughter plant these high-risk materials should be removed because they cross-contaminate the meat.
First, we gave the cow Mad Cow Disease, and now we have to label parts of the cow as hazardous waste sites and contaminated material.
Animals that are no longer productive and that can no longer produce calves or milk, are called “cull” cattle, and are older cattle on the marketplace.
The line speeds at slaughterhouses are horrific with more and more animals going through at faster speeds. The companies are minimizing federal and government inspections and food safety, and handing over those responsibilities to private businesses. Now there’s minimal and less quality control and increased food safety issues. All fecal matter was trimmed off in the old days, but this is not the case today.
The production of huge batches of ground beef uses multiple animals, which leads to contamination, because one contaminated animal can be distributed to thousands of pounds of beef. E. coli is the bacteria that is in the feces of cattle. It can and is deadly to humans if infected by cattle feces, and can show up mainly in ground beef.
E. coli 0157 is a man-made disease rooted in slaughterhouses in production, with fast-speed production, where they don’t clean the carcass any longer, and is passed along in the product and gets wrapped in the packages, and is totally toxic.
When you bring hamburger home you must treat ground meat as toxic material today that carries deadly infectious disease bacteria.
My son touched contaminated blood from hamburger on a Sunday and by Thursday was hospitalized in intensive care with blood clots, diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome and kidney failure. He lived, but must be medically followed for 10 years.
Irradiation of meat destroys bacteria from cattle feces. But there are concerns about the effectiveness of irradiation, which is reducing vitamin content and changing the meat. The U.S. permits the irradiation of meat, Canada does not.
By Bulldog Films
Produced and Directed by Marrin Canell & Ted Remerowski
Writer & Narrator: Ted Remerowski
Produced for Canadian Broadcast Corporation
Photo by Pixabay, www.pixabay.com