Far from the time of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, we are still concerned with the conditions of livestock within a factory setting. According to environment.about.com the 2000s was characterize by fear of pandemics and superbugs and research around that time yielded information suggesting that many of these bugs are created by the way that corporations are treating their livestock. In Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood we see the Gardeners concerned not only with the treatment of animals, but with apocalyptic pandemic.
The website farmsanctuary.org is dedicated to making the public aware of just how their food is getting on their table. The sections talk about how corporations are only in farming for a profit so the animals will be subject to drugs and poor conditions just to increase their size and make productivity smooth. Illnesses around these factories are consistently reported and many viruses are a direct result of these farms.
Atwood is highly concerned with the animal kingdom and their need for respect. There is a direct correlation with the animal hybrids created for human convenience (Oryx and Crake demonstrated this, in reality we create “better” animals for more meat and more product). Atwood places a soul inside the animals in order to show that they are more than a product. Harming them is harming us.