Adjective meaning "covered with boils." Used by men that worked at meat canning plants in late 19th century America, specifically Chicago, in reference to some of the cattle they killed. Apparenty, old, decrepit, diseased 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 anyway.

"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

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