The Livestock

The Livestock

A Story by R J Fuller

New laws, new freedoms, new punishments, new outcomes.

Farmer Joseph walked out into the yard on a beautiful sunny day. His wife appeared at the door behind him. 

"Joe," she said, "you gonna go kill a hen for dumplings this evening?"

Joe didn't look around. 

"I sure am."

Joe hadn't made it far when another fellow came running up to him. The other guy was near hysterical. 

"What's wrong, Bob?"

"Joe," Bob said, gasping for air, "they've declared war. They want us to stop eating animals and only eat produce. They don't want us to kill cows or pigs anymore. They're going to make us stop!" 

"That's ridiculous," Joe said. "The good Lord provided us with these animals to feed us." 

"They're calling us murderers for killing animals, Joe," Bob said. "Can you believe that. I've got to get home to Mary and the kids. We're going to war, Joe!"

With that, Bob fled from Joe's presence. Joe stood there a moment and pondered the ramifications of such decisions. That evening, the family had dumplings supper. 

The war was vicious and brutal. Joe lost a nephew serving in the military, fighting for the right to kill animals. Bob lost a son. Joe's brother turned against the family, insisting the animals be spared. 

Joe was out in the shed one day, weary from the tribulations of this country's battle. He had butchered a pig for the family to have for dinner that evening. It had been such a long time since the family had a fulfilling meal. There was a commotion outside, and Joe ventured to see what was going on. 

A woman ran by, sobbing and in tears. 

"We lost," she screamed. "The war is over and we can't eat animals anymore!" She continued on down the street. 

Joe watched the woman vanish from sight. There was other screaming and yelling going on in the vicinity. Joe looked about and proceeded to carry the slabs of meat into the house. As the family sat down to dinner that evening, there was a knock on the door. Joe stood to answer it. 

"Farmer Joseph?" the stern man in a suit asked. 


"We're from the local authorities and there was detection of cooking porkchops permeating from your open kitchen window. Do you realize what you have done?" 

"Well, I had killed the pig before the war ended," Joe explained. 

After extensive discussions and explanations of how things are to be now, Joe sat at the table with his wife. Neither of them ate. 

Passage of many days and weeks found Joe working in his field and was using his mule to plow the field. As he made his trenches, a grey-and-blue vehicle turned onto his property and pulled up near him and the mule with no regard to any work he had done thus far. Two men in suits got out. He recognized them from before. 

"Farmer Joseph, do you realize you are breaking the law working this animal?"

"But I'm plowing my field to grow crops to live off of," Joe explained. 

"Well, you can't do it against the animal's will," one of the men said. 

"But how do I till my garden?"

"This animal is not responsible for your garden, Farmer Joseph." 

One of the men unhitched the mule and led it away. The other man offered up explanations and repercussions, number of offenses, to Farmer Joseph and likewise departed, getting back in the car and driving off the toiled earth. 

Joe watched the car leave. The man with the mule had left it where it stood on the property. 

"Then what use is the animal to me?" Joe wondered to himself. 

Joe put an advert on a website to sell the mule, since it no longer seemed to have any use for him. About a week later, there was a knock at the door. Joe opened the door to see the two men again. 

"Farmer Joseph, you are not allowed to sell this work animal for profit. That is forbidden," one of the men said. 

"Then whaqt am I to do with it?" Farmer Joseph asked. 

"That is not our concern," the man said. 

There followed more explanations and consequences involving the actions Farmer Joseph had perpetrated and what would be done next. 

The man left, and Joe stared at his wife. He walked outside, and she followed him. 

"What are you gonna do, Joe?" she asked fretfully. 

"Can't eat'em, can't sell'em," Joe said, walking to the animal pens. "Might as well just turn them loose." 

Farmer Joseph returned to gardening again, to provide for himself and his wife. A couple of his pigs he had turned loose wandered into the garden, so he chased them out to keep them from destroying his crops. 

That afternoon, there was a knock at his front door. He opened the door to see who it was. 

"You cannot deny these animals entry to where they wish to go," one of the men explained. "It's forbidden."

"then how do I keep them out of my crops?" Farmer Joseph asked. 

"We don't know, sir," one of the men answered, "but you can't tell them they aren't welcomed in a location." 

Farmer Joseph put up fencing around his garden, installing a gate with a large, sturdy latch. 

There came a knock at his door one evening. 

"They figure out how to undo that latch," Farmer Joseph said, "they can go in the garden all they please." 

The two men were silent. They turned and departed. 

Joe went back inside and sat down. He felt as if he had finally won something. 

Once more, time passed and Joe was working in his garden, when here came his two friends with another declaration. 

"Farmer Joseph? Farmer Joseph?"

"Yes?" Joe asked without looking up. 

"Farmer Joseph, you haven't been feeding the animals on your property lately, have you?"

Joe stopped what he was doing and looked at the men.

"Well, I thought since I can't sell them, I'd just let them go free."

"Nevertheless," one of the men stated, "you took responsibility for them when they were beneficial to you, so now it is your responsibility to sufficiently provide for them." 

Joe looked perplexed. 

"You mean I got to feed and house them even tho they are doing nothing for me?"

Joe was totally bewildered by all these explanations and changes. As the men left once more, he looked at chickens scratching nearby. Nearby a couple of pigs he had let loose slowly walked by. He looked upon them in a disgruntled manner. What was the point of having them if they couldn't do anything for him? 

A cool weekend arrived, and Joe was up early to take his two dogs hunting. Sure enough, as he walked through the woods with the dogs barking at a rabbit, here the two fellows in suits. 

"You mean I can't go hunting anymore?" 

"Shooting an animal who can't defend itself against you is cruelty and murder, Farmer Joseph." 

"but the dogs want to go hunting. They want to participate in a hunt." 

Joe made his way home, empty-handed. His wife met him on the porch. 

"I suspected this one wouldn't be allowed," she said to him. Joe said nothing and walked on inside. 

Some time after this, Joe and his wife were working in the garden. Joe was watering his plants, while his wife was using the hoe to chop down weeds. Suddenly she was surprised by a rattlesnake, which struck her leg. Immediately she killed the snake with the hoe. Joe quickly called for an ambulance and followed it to the hospital to stay with his wife. While he waited in the waiting room, two very familiar fellows showed up once more. 

"Farmer Joseph, we're afraid your wife killed an animal that had no means of equally fighting back against her."

"It bit her," Joe said weakly, "with its poisonous fangs. She's fighting for her life right now."

"Nevertheless, Farmer Joseph, she fatally attacked another living being. She will be facing charges for murder."

Joe stared in disbelief at the two men. He wasn't hearing their words. He was just glazed as they departed. 

Suddenly he was aware the doctor was standing on the other side of him. Joe stood up to hear the doctor say how his wife was doing. The doctor told Joe she hadn't made it. 

Joe sat in his home that evening, quiet and alone. He didn't move. The hallway light was on, but where he sat in the kitchen was in darkness and now, once again, there was a knock at the door. Completely drained of all defiance, Joe opened the door to see the two men once more. 

"Farmer Joseph," one of the men said. Blankly, he stared back at them. 

"The two hunting dogs you took out have killed several ducks at the nearby pond in the city park." 

"I don't own the dogs," Joe said quietly. 

"Nevertheless, Farmer Joseph, you needed to see to it they didn't cause harm upon another, which they most definitely have done." 

Joe looked at the men. He couldn't even blink. 

"But you would have punished me if I had locked them up in some manner," he stammered. "I don't even know where the dogs are."

Joe's ears detected sound, but he couldn't make out words. These men just seemed to drone on in another language he couldn't comprehend. He listened to the explanation of penalties and his duties he failed to perform. 

Joe closed the door and returned to his seat. He still sat in the darkness, clutching the paper of his fines and legal actions being taken. 

Suddenly he heard cries from outside. Joe got to his feet once more and opened the door to see what was the commotion. There were the two men in their car, having attempted to leave and a bull had stopped them on the nearby road and was busy impaling their car from various sides. Joe looked at punctured tires, a busted radiator, steam rising from the engine, shattered windows. 

The bull rounded the vehicle and struck it again, twisting doors into being unable to open. The animal snorted as it circled once again, then yet again gave way with a charge. 

"Farmer Joseph!" one of the men yelled, "you need, . . . you need to call off your bull!"

Joe stood on the porch, watching and made no move to do anything. The men could tell his intentions by the way he stood, then the bull struck the car once more, nearly turning it over. The car plummeted back down with the men falling back as well. 

"Farmer Joseph, you can't, . . " one of the men started. The bull seemed to be wandering off, then turned and charged back once more, virtually unharmed by the strike on metal. 

Joe looked down at the ground, then in the opposite direction from the chaos. 

"Farmer Joseph, there will be . . . you . . . !" 

Joe turned back to the men struggling in the car. 

He yelled, "not my bull! He's free to do as he obviously pleases. I've never seen him before." 

And with that, Joe ventured back inside and closed the door.   

© 2021 R J Fuller

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Hello, J R! :)
This was a fun read. I had a feeling that the authorities would suffer. I'm glad Joe kept his hands clean. Thanks for sharing.

Posted 2 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Added on June 26, 2021
Last Updated on June 26, 2021
Tags: freedom, laws, disapproval, enforcement, unexpected