In Animal Farm, why did the animals prefer Mr. Pilkington over Mr. Frederick?
You can get a hint towards this answer in Chapter VIII of Animal Farm, (p. 36 in my copy of the book). There, the narrator is discussing the relations between the animals and Mr. Frederick and Mr. Pilkington. The narrator tells us that
The animals distrusted Pilkington, as a human being, but greatly preferred him to Frederick, whom they both feared and hated.
From this, we can see that the animals prefer Pilkington to Frederick because they only distrust Pilkington for being human whereas they also fear and hate Frederick as an individual.
But why is this? The main reason is that Pilkington (who is meant to represent England), is a much more easy-going and friendly person than Frederick (who is meant to represent Hitler and Nazi Germany). We are told on p. 15 that Frederick is “tough” and “shrewd” and that he is always involved in law suits with other people. In other words, Frederick is a disagreeable person who seems to be much more menacing than Pilkington. This refers to the way in which Hitler was much more aggressive in his anti-Soviet rhetoric and actions than England was.
The animals prefer Pilkington, then, because he is not aggressive, tough, and mean in the same way that Frederick is. As you continue to read in Chapter VIII, however, you will find that the animals’ preferences are not always reflected in Napoleon’s policies towards the two humans.