In one of the most famous—not to say, gut-wrenching—episodes in The Jungle Jurgis goes on a tour of a meat-packing plant, which is supposed to open the reader's eyes to the horrors of unregulated capitalism. The conditions in the factory are truly appalling. The animals sent there to be slaughtered endure great suffering before they are finally killed. Not only that, but hygiene is virtually non-existent. An inspector is supposed to make sure that diseased meat doesn't get into the food-chain, but he regularly turns a blind eye to what's going on, choosing to look the other way so as not to slow down production. The millions of people who will eat the meat products produced at this plant have no idea of what they're putting inside themselves.
Whatever the reader might think, Jurgis is actually rather impressed by his tour of the plant. He's positively awestruck at this scene of mechanized slaughter, with its remarkable speed and efficiency. It's quite unlike anything he's ever seen before. At this early stage in the story, Jurgis is still pretty naive when it comes to the true nature of American capitalism. But in due course he'll come to realize that it's not just farm animals who end up being maltreated by this unregulated economic system.