Seventy-five years after the publication of Orwell’s satirical fable, it’s story time again! So, welcome to the Free World where everyone will live happily ever after… right?
A team of future scientists is determined to find out what caused a previous mass extinction of species when they discover evidence of mysterious creatures that may provide an answer to what caused the event. The ancient finds include several scriptures, among them a story called ‘Animal Farm’ which tells the tale of a farm on which animals decide to overthrow their evil human master but soon after doing so, the farm’s pigs take over and turn malignant, too. This story is continued in another scripture titled ‘Animal Farming’ which is told from the perspective of the donkey Benjamin, who escapes the farm in fear of persecution by the pigs. At first, Benjamin is impressed by the high living standards on his new host farm but soon starts developing ethical concerns when a huge hen cage is installed.
Benjamin meets a series of characters representing renowned Western philosophers who have shaped the basis of today’s moral justification for intensive animal farming methods. From Aristotle to Kant, they all try their best to convince Benjamin of its legitimacy – and not without success! It is only after a personal tragedy that Benjamin realises he should have listened to his gut feeling.
Besides challenging the popular reasoning in favour of intensive farming methods, ‘A Donkey’s Diary’ explores arguments concerning animal welfare, animal rights, and environmental protection in the context of the ongoing climate crisis and mass extinction event. In a sarcastic tone, the story questions the popular assumption that humans are not to be considered animals due to their allegedly superior intellect. In doing so, the donkey Benjamin reveals what truly lies beneath their apparent need for eternal growth despite its fatal consequences that currently threaten to destroy their own livelihoods.
Similar to its prequel, ‘A Donkey’s Diary’ is a satirical fable about humans and other animals. The story represents how food production – and with it the human-animal relationship – has changed over the course of the past three Industrial Revolutions and highlights which ancient arguments were (and still are) used to justify intensive farming practices. It invites the reader to ponder animals, food, money, work, intelligence and much more.