A Cow at My Table

Jennifer Abbott

1998, 90:00 minutes, colour, English


"On May 16, 1996, Jennifer Abbott was arrested at Intercontinental Packers Ltd. in Saskatoon for crawling under a fence and videotaping a dead cow. The next morning in jail, she asked for a vegetarian breakfast and was given an Egg McMuffin. While the crown later dropped the charges, security alerts quickly went out from producer associations in the meat industry warning of Abbott's project. Her experience in Saskatoon was a perfect example of her thesis - that social forces in society conceal, distort and legitimize factory farming with perilous repercussions to animals, humans and the environment. Every year in Canada over 400 million farm animals are slaughtered for meat, yet we tend to accept this as the price of dinner. Our acceptance is what Vandana Shiva called the 'ethics of anesthesia'.

Weaving together interviews with animal rights activists, agribusiness representatives and animal welfare experts with archival and documentary footage (including some very disturbing slaughterhouse scenes), Abbott has produced an extraordinarily compelling, powerful and visually stunning documentary. While Abbott is a thoroughly engaged documentarian who makes no claims to "objectivity", she presents a story which is far more complex than one with only two sides. Her documentary is a profound and intelligent look at a situation many would rather not know about and many would prefer was never told".
- Ken Anderlini, Vancouver International Film Festival

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Critical Writing

Documentary tells a story most of us would rather miss
by Tracy Tjaden. Winnipeg Free Press, Sept. 17, 1999.
1611: Jennifer Abbott's A Cow At My Table
by Warren Arcan. Fuse, June 1997, v. 20, no. 3.
Not a cow you would want at your table: Jennifer Abbott charged...
by Nicholas Read. Vancouver Sun, July 23, 1996.