Christopher Hitchens: We too are “animals,” whose claim to the “dominion” looks increasingly dubious.
Almost as an afterthought I will venture to predict a quite different renaissance for “Animal Farm”. Recent advances in the study of our genome have shown how much we possess in common with other primates and mammals, and perhaps especially with pigs (from whom we can receive skin and even organ transplants). In Orwell’s own time the idea of “animal rights” let alone “animal liberation” would have seemed silly or fanciful, but these now form part of our ever-expanding concept of rights, and bring much thought-provoking scientific discovery to bear. We too are “animals,” whose claim to the “dominion” awarded us in the Book of Genesis looks increasingly dubious. In that grand discussion, this little book will probably earn itself an allegorical niche.
Christopher Hitchens (April 23, 1949–December 15, 2011),
an introduction to a 2010 edition of George Orwell’s Animal Farm,
which was later included in Hitchens’s posthumously published essay collection “Arguably”.