Summary Of Food Outcry In Sinclair's The Jungle

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Upton’s Sinclair’s earth-shattering novel, The Jungle, includes a moment of reckoning by its protagonist, Jurgis: “The great corporation which employed you lied to you, and lied to the whole country—from top to bottom it was nothing but one gigantic lie” (85). What Jurgis and his family find is a system, meat production, that is only out to make a profit with little regard to humans or animals. The novel created waves in the years after its 1906 publication. Due to the journalistic nature of the work, and its very revealing look at the actual production of meat in Chicago, the public outcry was harsh. The book played a pivotal role in the passing of a “pure-food-and-drug bill”. It was used by President Roosevelt to influence the House of Representatives …show more content…
That image has been shed though as farming becomes more industrialized. The industrialization has increased the yields of farming which still may seem helpful. With a world population that is growing at an ever-increasing pace, food shortages and rampant hunger–mass food production seems like a good solution. The United States does play a huge part in global food production and one of its largest roles is in the production of beef. In 2015 the average annual retail price for beef was $6.29/lb with a retail equivalent of $105 billion; the US also exports about 2.3 billion lbs which only makes up 9.6% of the entire US beef production (USDA). Billions of dollars are spent on the beef industry every year, in fact beef makes up the largest sector in the agriculture business. To meet the consumer demands of beef, farmers and industries have begun to adopt unsafe production practices. One of those dangerous practices is the use of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to optimize and increase production and diminish land use. The Department of Agriculture defines these systems as “enterprises where animals are kept and raised[...]Feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing” (USDA). A CAFOs operates by keeping animals from freely grazing, this decreases the land use. Because animals are unable to graze, their regular diet of grass is replaced by corn-based feed. The containment of these …show more content…
From environmental hazards to odor complaints, CAFOS have a broad array and share of valid complaints. Due to the demand for food it has become increasingly more difficult to properly restrict the creation and utilization of these operations. Expansive lobbying efforts, antiquated right-to-farm laws, and political fear all help craft a relatively impenetrable shield around these operations. One of the harshest criticisms of CAFOs is their culpability in E. coli breakouts. The blame given to CAFOs is mostly due to the food given to the cattle inhabiting them. Cows are classified as ruminants. A ruminant is a mammal that has an extra part of their stomach, called a rumen. The rumen houses micro-bacteria which allow the animals to break down “coarse greens” like grass, the staple of a cow’s evolutionary diet. Corn is not a “coarse green” so it disrupts these natural processes when fed to cattle. Allen Trenkle a professor at Iowa State explains the dangers of corn-based diets for ruminants, “The animals evolved on consuming grass. There’s some research that indicates that a high-corn diet results in E. coli that are acid-resistant…the more harmful E. coli” (Food Inc.). These dangerous bacteria are only promulgated in the CAFO setting where cattle often wallow in their own excrement and are held as large groups in small spaces. The practices of CAFOs put animals at risk, but they also degrade the land. This land

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