The Jungle Revisited

The Jungle Revisited
Apologies to Upton Sinclair



The floor
half an inch deep
with blood

Work with furious intensity
on the run
the pace
no rest for a man
neither
his hand
nor
his eye
nor
his brain

The speeding up
more savage
inventing
new devices
to crowd the work on
it was all the world
like the thumbscrew
of a medieval torture chamber

In shirt sleeves
over 100 degrees
phosphates soak through
the skin pores
in five minutes
a headache
in fifteen
dazed
blood pounding in
his brain
like
an engine throbbing
vomiting
innards torn to shreds

Meat tumbled
onto the floor
in dirt and sawdust
countless
trampings,
spittings of consumption germs
a rats race track
poisoned bread
But
rats, bread, dirt, sawdust, consumption
all
went into the hoppers

The line speed jumped
1000
to
1100
pigs per hour
recently

fingers slipped towards the blade
blood spurts
index finger hangs by a flap
the line goes on

inhaling areosolised
porcine brain tissue
antibodies confused
human brains destroyed

2002 900 pigs per hour
2007 1350 pigs per hour
50 - 50 chance
of serious injury
to the
largely undocumented labour

Inspectors found
lesions from tuberculosis
septic arthritis
faecal matter
intestinal contents
the chain goes on




‘I felt like a piece of trash’ – Life inside America’s food processing plants
A new book offers a damning insight into conditions for low-paid, non-union, immigrant workers helping to feed our huge appetite for cheap meat