In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the animals who work on Manor Farm rebel and take over the farm. Their goal is to achieve better and more equitable treatment than they had received under the management of Manor Farm’s original owners, Mr. and Mrs. Jones. When he first approaches the animals with his idea, Old Major says,
Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever.
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 plough, 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. Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilises it, and yet there is not one of us that owns more than his bare skin.
Following the rebellion, humans and animals on other nearby farms learn of what has occurred at Manor Farm, which is now known as Animal Farm. Orwell writes,
By the late summer the news of what had happened on Animal Farm had spread across half the county. Every day Snowball and Napoleon sent out flights of pigeons whose instructions were to mingle with the animals on neighbouring farms, tell them the story of the Rebellion…
Other farmers were “very anxious to prevent their own animals from learning too much about it.” Nevertheless, the animals on adjacent farms do learn about Animal Farm. The thought of eventually being able to govern themselves gives these other animals a new sense of optimism and hope.
Rumours of a wonderful farm, where the human beings had been turned out and the animals managed their own affairs, continued to circulate in vague and distorted forms, and throughout that year a wave of rebelliousness ran through the countryside. Bulls which had always been tractable suddenly turned savage, sheep broke down hedges and devoured the clover, cows kicked the pail over, hunters refused their fences and shot their riders on to the other side. Above all, the tune and even the words of Beasts of England were known everywhere. It had spread with astonishing speed. The human beings could not contain their rage when they heard this song, though they pretended to think it merely ridiculous. They could not understand, they said, how even animals could bring themselves to sing such contemptible rubbish. Any animal caught singing it was given a flogging on the spot. And yet the song was irrepressible. The blackbirds whistled it in the hedges, the pigeons cooed it in the elms, it got into the din of the smithies and the tune of the church bells. And when the human beings listened to it, they secretly trembled, hearing in it a prophecy of their future doom.
Of course, the irony is that the animals on Animal Farm are working like slaves even in the early days post-rebellion:
However, back on Animal Farm, ALL that year the animals worked like slaves. But they were happy in their work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything that they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings.