A N I M A L  N A T I O N

Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Buster and I am a Dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier to be precise. I live on one of the outer-city farms with my master, Mr. Sheep. It is the year 14051 but counted from when I do not know.

Many years ago creatures called humans ruled this land but they waged a Great War against each other and every last one was wiped out. There were a number of years of limbo in which the surviving animals lived with no law, but as time passed we animals evolved until now our society has a strict order, with each animal having a distinct role.

Animal Nation is controlled by the Toads. The Toads are the wisest of all the animals and they make all the decisions and laws. The laws are enforced by the Pigs who maintain order. Then there are the Rats. They are without doubt the cleverest of all. The Rats control practically every aspect of life here in Animal Nation.

Some animals say that the Rats have power over the Toads! But this is dangerous talk. Many years ago the Ratacaust occurred, the most terrible event in animal history. Millions of Rats died at the paws of the Dogs. During these primitive years of our civilization, as animal society was still in the process of formation, the Dogs claimed that the Rats were using every form of extortion and trickery on the other animals to accumulate wealth and power. This of course was just a Doggy fantasy, but legend has it that a charismatic Dobermann rallied the disenchanted Dogs around him and led them to slaughter millions of Rats, blaming them for all the ills of the time. Since my first days at Kennel School I have been taught about the horrors the Rats suffered, and because of the Ratacaust all Dogs in Animal Nation must now be muzzled.

Animal Nation is organized into inner and outer-city farms which are run by the Sheep. Most animals just get on with life on the farm, and don’t trouble themselves with such matters, but even then there is sometimes trouble with the Cats. The Cats are lazy animals and often cause trouble, particularly on the inner-city farms. We have been taught that they also suffered persecution in former years by the Dogs, so by and large when they do wrong it is overlooked, especially by the Pigs. The Rats are very good to the Cats, seeing their feline friends as fellow victims of the Dogs’ cruel Dogroms, and it often seems as if the Rats and the Cats demand and get the very best of everything.

I often wish that I had never been born a Dog. I feel ashamed also that my breed has such a murky past. But at least I’m not a German Shepherd, which the Rats say are the very worst of all. My father was interned in a Correction Kennel for most of his life for refusing to wear a muzzle. One day he went completely mad and killed a Rat! I loved my father and the stories he used to tell of his youth, but he brought shame on me when he killed a Rat.

Inside the farmhouse where I live with the Sheep family there is a Cat. I hate this Cat and will chase it every chance I get. The Sheep become very angry with me for doing this and I am beaten for it, but I simply cannot help myself. I guess it’s having my father’s blood in my veins that makes me act in such a shameful way.

My story really begins when...



Anonymous author and illustrator, 24 pages, 12 b/w illustrations, ISBN 1-901240-14-2, 2000.



‘The Cats moved into Animal Nation in force in 14010 and most of the smaller animals are now extinct; you certainly never see a White Rabbit nowadays.’

A fairy tale with a star-studded cast: Buster, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier; Robin Hound; Alan Airdale; Little Jack Russell; Fiery Pup; David Ermine; Ernst Zander; Dick Griffin; John Tadpole; Tony Llama; Richard Emu and David Duck. At the end they all meet up in National Farmyard and live happily ever after.

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