Saturday, February 23, 2008

Freedom rings out on "Animal Farm"

Unauthorised photo of Attilla speaking at Manor Farm

It has been over fifty years since the earth-shaking events on Manor Farm that left the animals in control and humans not welcome, that it is all set to change this month. “Yes, it is quite true,” commented the current leader of Manor Farm, Attilla, great-grandson of the original leader, Napoleon. “Our fifty year experiment in Animal Socialism must be declared a failure. In spite of the face of wealth and prosperity we have been presenting to the outside world, the fact is that the farm is on the brink of bankruptcy. Our food supply is at a critically low level and many of the animals working on the farm have not been fed in weeks.” At this point Attilla’s statement ended and he retreated back into the farmhouse, refusing to answer any questions.

Thus ends the grand experiment, begun some fifty years ago on Manor Farm when the animals staged a coup, banishing all humans from the farm and renaming it Animal Farm. Little is known of the first few years of the farm although rumours of a gradual decline into a near police state have persisted. There were stories of a takeover by the pigs, and it is true that when limited contact with humans began the pigs did appear to be in charge with Napoleon as leader as well as an eventual change back to the original name of Manor Farm. All work on the farm has continued to be done by the animals without human help or supervision and up until recently things had appeared to be going well. And then the surprise announcement by leader Attilla.

Also for the first time in fifty years, reporters from the local farmers almanac, Pigs 'n Such, have been allowed on the farm to interview the animals firsthand. The first thing you notice when you enter the farm is the surprising number of sheep everywhere, yet trying to engage any of them in conversation is futile as all they do is run off and hide. Eventually we managed to meet Roscoe, one of the farm ducks who was willing to talk. “Well, you shouldn’t be too surprised at the sheep’s reaction. For generations we have been told “four legs good, two legs bad”, unless the pigs are walking on two legs then it was “four legs good, two legs better”. The sheep have always been the most dependable of the leader’s followers, and now the leader says the revolution was wrong. The sheep are understandably confused and upset.”

When asked what his own opinion was, Roscoe replied, “At this point in time I like the thought of change. The opportunity to take part in a free market economy is a welcome one.”

Thunder, one of the large horses employed on the farm, wasn’t sure what to make of the failure of Animal Socialism. “I don’t know,” he says. “It seems that we worked as had as we possibly could have, and still the leader says we failed. It just doesn’t seem right. I don’t like to say it, but I wonder if the failure wasn’t with the workers but if it was with the leaders? I might be…” At that point Thunder was hushed by one of the oldest donkeys I have ever seen. When I tried to speak to the donkey he turned his back on me and moved off.

I left the farm soon after and I have to wonder if I had been given a glimpse of “Animal Farm’s” future by the worker, Thunder. This mild and confused sense of dissatisfaction was rarely spoken of aloud, but it was present nevertheless. Is it possible that the leaders of Animal Socialism will have to deal with a revolution of their own? That would be totally unexpected and only time will tell.

Anyway… Humouroceros

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