meaning "covered with boil
s." Used by men that worked at meat
s in late 19th century America
, specifically Chicago
, in reference to some of the cattle
they killed. Apparenty, old
cattle would be searched out from around the country for the express purpose
of making into canned meat
, as no one would notice that the beef
they were eating was rancid and sickly
"Steerly" animals were generally those which had fed on whisky-malt--leftovers from breweries. This would do horrible things to the animals and make them deformed and nasty. However, they were used for food anyway, and the American public was none-the-wiser for a very long time.
Almost makes you want to become a vegetarian, huh?
For more information about the horrors of the meat-packing industry, read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle