Reasons for the Growth of the Rotting-Flesh Industry
This isn’t math class, but bear with me for a second, and picture a logistic growth curve on a graph.
Visualize the skyrocketing, exponentially-increasing J-shape. That’s what the growth of the meatpacking industry would look like on a graph of history. You may be wondering why, so let’s delve into the reasons for this industry’s growth. The most basic reason for the growth of the meat industry is population growth. About 80% of the 310 million people in America in America eat meat, and the number of meat-eaters in the U.
S. is expected to double by 2050. As the number of little Americans has increased, so has the demand for “tasty” sausages and hamburgers. One of the less obvious reasons for the growth of the meat industry is refrigerator cars, invented in the late 1800s. Because of this new method of refrigeration, amounts of meat could be stored in larger quantities. Most importantly, meat could be transported all across the United States at any time of year.
For example, in the winter, cured meats could be shipped from slaughterhouses in the west to markets and stores in the east. Previously, meat had been distributed locally in the summer. The railroads go hand-in-hand with refrigerator cars as a reason for the meat industry’s growth. The American Transcontinental Railroad, completed in 1869, could transport much greater amounts of animals, supplies, consumers and workers to the expanse of the West. America’s period of urbanization and industrialization greatly contributed to the growth of the meat industry. Before the Industrial Revolution, livestock were butchered right in urban areas.
However, with increasing population in cities and concerns about pollution from the growing amount of factories, more and bigger slaughterhouses were built further out west. Lastly, with the explosions of urbanization and industrialization came the flood of immigration, which contributed greatly to the growth of the meat industry. In especially the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the meat industry’s low wages and filthy and dangerous working conditions did not make it the number-one job choice for Americans. However, there were always thousands of immigrants in desperate need of work. European immigrants, mostly Polish and Lithuanian, made up the working force of the industry at first. Over time, the amount of Hispanic and Mexican immigrant workers increased due to labor unions’ loss of power and the relocation of slaughterhouses.
The meat industry is also known to be responsible today for employing many undocumented and illegal immigrants.