How do the farmers try to discredit what is happening in Animal Farm?
In chapter 4, news about the Rebellion spreads throughout the countryside, and animals from neighboring farms begin singing Beasts of England. While the other farmers sympathize with Mr. Jones's dire situation, they secretly hope to take advantage of his recent misfortunes. The neighboring farmers fear that their own animals will learn about the recent Rebellion and attempt to revolt like the animals of Animal Farm.
In order to prevent their own animals from rebelling, the owners perpetuate the belief that animals on Animal Farm are rapidly starving to death. As time passes and the animals on Animal Farm are still living, Frederick and Pilkington begin to spread rumors about the terrible wickedness that flourishes on Animal Farm. The owners spread false rumors about cannibalism, torture using hot branding-irons, and sexual promiscuity happening on Animal Farm.
Unfortunately for the owners, their animals do not believe the false rumors surrounding Animal Farm, and the truth about the animals' success circulates throughout the neighboring farms. Orwell writes that a "wave of rebelliousness" sweeps through the countryside as the animals from neighboring farms begin harassing their owners.
Although the farmers of the surrounding farms were "thoroughly frightened by the rebellion on Animal Farm," they tried to put up a brave front. Jones complained about the injustice of the animals taking over his property, but the other farmers "pretended to laugh" about the idea of animals successfully running a farm. They claimed the rebellion would be over shortly, and that the animals were feuding among themselves and starving to death. After a time, when they saw that the farm was flourishing, they talked about the "terrible wickedness" going on there--cannibalism, torture and rape. The whole rebellion was "against the laws of Nature."
The neighboring farmers spread falsified stories about the animals. The claimed the animals tortured each other with read hot horseshoes, ate each other, and the male animals shared the female animals. The farmers assumed the rebellion would fail and the animals would starve, but over time they did not. Animals throughout the land took up singing “Beasts of England”. If they were caught, the humans would beat them; however, the song was impossible to stop due to birds carry on the song as they whistled. The farmers’ inability to stop the song made them fearful of possible rebellions similar to Manor Farm’s.