Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle"
A Reply to Mr. J. Ogden Armour
In the course of his recent defense of the Y. Beef Trust, Mr. J. Ogden Armour writes as follows: Government inspection is another important feature of the packers' business. To the general public, the meat-eating public, it ought to appeal as one of the most important features of any and all business in the whole country. It is the wall that stands between the meat-eating public and the sale of diseased meat. This Government inspection alone, if there were no other business or economic reasons, would be an all-sufficient reason for the existence of the jacking and meat business on a mammoth scale. It should, if understood, make the general public a partizan supporter of the large packers.Strangely enough, in view of its vital importance, this Government inspection has been the subject of almost endless misrepresentation—of ignorantly or maliciously false statements. The public has been told that meat animals and carcasses condemned as diseased are afterward secretly made use of by the packers and sold to the public for food in the form of both dressed meats and canned meats. Right here I desire to brand such statements as absolutely false as applied to the business of Armour & Co. I believe they are equally false as to all establishments in this country that are classed as packing-houses. I repeat: "In Armour & Co.'s business not one atom of any condemned animal or carcass finds its way, directly or indirectly, from any source, into any jood product or jood ingredient."
"The question is," says The Independent reviewer, "how seriously shall we take this story of life in the packing house district of Chicago?" That seems to be the question with a great many people. For the past year, ever since the story began appearing serially, I have been receiving half a dozen letters a day asking it; so that if a public answer serves no other purpose, it will at least help to lighten the burden of my mail.
The charges made by Mr. Upton Sinclair against the beef packers methods, put into his novel, but vouched by him to be true, have been examined by two most admirable men selected by the President, and to the surprise of many people the muck rake is vindicated.