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At the turn of the century, no laws were in place to protect the workers or to regulate the shipment of meat.
As a result, the tuberculosis-infected hog meat never left Packingtown.
It was sold to the meat workers at inflated prices.
The Jungle describes the horrors of the meat packing industry in great detail.
People were forced to work from sunrise to after sunset.
In order for Sinclair to give accurate details in the book, he spent over a year researching and writing about the conditions on the meat packing plants in Chicago.
This first hand experience allowed for Sinclair to see the plight of the wage-slaves.
As Jurgis and Ona take a tour of the plant, they see the unbelievable efficiency and speed at which hogs and cattle are butchered, cooked, packed, and shipped. The tour guide specifically says, “They use everything about the hog except the squeal.” (42).
After spending some time in the plants, the real picture of the meat industry comes out.
Once reaching Packingtown, each hog had a chain fastened around its leg, was hoisted into the air, and carried into a room where its throat was split.
When the cattle reached Packingtown, they were stunned by electric shock, and dropped onto a conveyor belt, where a man with a sledgehammer pierced their skulls.