George Orwell's Animal Farm - Book Review

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Pigs walking upright for everyone's amazement
"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

A novel about how people become who they are trying to fight.

And how ignorance leads to dependence.

Animal farm is an allegorical novel where a farm is taken over by its animals. The original owner, an unkind and drunk man, is kicked out of the farm, and the animals band together under the flag of equalitarianism and progressive values to build a home for themselves.

The novel starts off by defining the key differences between mankind and animals. Namely, that man is the only creature that consumes without producing and that the hand - made available by walking on two legs - is its main instrument of mischief.

One or two chapters later we read 'The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others.' As the novel progresses, we witness how pigs acquire human characteristics and become more ruthless and cruel than their former master.

Political views

"And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades."

Animal Farm's political meaning is hard to decipher. The book reads like a socialist satire in the tone of a children's book - amplifying the use of propaganda. Orwell sets the stage for a rebuke of totalitarianism, that much is clear. However, themes such as friendship, sacrifice, and brotherhood are present in the book just as much as liberty.

Leadership

Leaders will either be imposed, chosen, or emerge organically.

"The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. With their superior knowledge, it was natural that they should assume the leadership."

Animal Cruelty and Animal Rights

George Orwell's book starts off with a quote that sets the tone for Mankind's relationship with Animaldom:

"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plow, and he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself."

Domesticated animals are split into 3 categories, pets (e.g. cat, dogs), livestock (e.g. cattle, sheep, pigs, goats), and beasts of burden (horses, camels, donkeys). Take a moment to ponder on the words we chose to designate the latter two. Creatures in the livestock category are probably among the most miserable on the planet and might as well be called Deadstock.

In a 2010 survey, respondents were shown a long list of invasive procedures which cause pain, routinely performed on farm animals, 68% of respondents said they consider the price of meat a more important issue.

Here is a snippet from that list that relates to pigs:

  • Castration
  • CO2 stunning
  • Ear cropping
  • Ear tagging
  • Earmarking
  • Nose ringing
  • Tail docking
  • Tattooing
  • Teeth clipping
  • Tusk trimming
  • Gestation crates
  • High stocking density
  • Restricted movement

"ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT, SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS".