President Theodore Roosevelt submitted this report on the meatpacking industry to Congress in 1906. At the turn of the 20th century, much of the pork and beef Americans consumed was processed in the Union Stock Yards in Chicago, Illinois. Animals were shipped to the city from all over the country, slaughtered, butchered, and sent out for consumption. In 1906, Upton Sinclair published The Jungle, a fictionalized account of the seven weeks he spent living and working in the stock yards. His vivid descriptions of the unsanitary nature of meat processing and its horrific working conditions shocked Americans, including President Roosevelt, who commissioned the report.
Roosevelt received a preliminary version of the report on June 2, 1906. On June 4, Roosevelt submitted it to Congress as evidence of the urgent need for action: “The conditions shown by even this short inspection to exist in the Chicago stock yards are revolting. It is imperatively necessary in the interest of health and of decency that they should be radically changed. Under the existing law it is wholly impossible to secure satisfactory results.” Roosevelt signed the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act into law on June 30, 1906. The laws were the first steps in increasing federal regulation of the food and drug industry during the 20th century.
This typed copy of the report includes a handwritten cover sheet showing how the presidential message should be printed as House Document No. 873.