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  • "There was a time, let me tell you, long ago, when humans ate other animals."
    "It is rumoured we were particularly delicious," said Cow.
    "Yes," smiled the wise Fox. "So much so, they couldn't get enough of you, and bred you in your millions!"
    "Millions? That's a large number," Cow said knowingly.
    "It was the methane, from your uh, ruminations," Fox continued, "that caused the Great Change in the Weather. There were far too many of you, you see."
    "Which is why vegetarianism is now strictly enforced in the human colonies. And why, you are all perfectly safe from being eaten. Although, Cow, they do still want your milk," Fox added.
    "And my wool," shivered Sheep.
    "And my unfertilised embryos," clucked Chicken sadly. "I'm not sure how I feel about that."
    Fox, Sheep and Cow gave Chicken a sympathetic look. (Fox even put his paw on her wing, in a gesture you'd never have seen before Everything Changed.)
    "Over time, the humans came to regard animals eating other animals as incredibly gauche, so they invented synthetic meat, grown in laboratories. That's what they feed carnivores such as I. Which is why I can sit here next to you, Chicken, without any desire whatsoever to tear you apart and devour your insides."
    "Er, that's good, isn't it," Chicken said nervously.
    "Yes. Even though intellectually I know you are a delectable, feather ball of lip smacking gore - not to mention completely helpless given that I have these remarkably sharp teeth - " Fox bared them for their benefit " - on shall we say, a gut level, I no longer associate you with food."
    "Fox," Cow interrupted gently, "You're making Chicken a little nervous."
    "Please don't be, Chicken."
    "I won't lay for a week now!" Chicken squawked.
    "I'm so sorry. Forgive me, please."
    "What I'm wondering is why they keep you on," yammered Sheep. "You don't lay eggs, or give milk, or wool!"
    "Time was, the humans would simply shoot me, but they're against all that now. So, they've altered my nature instead, which is much better. Besides, I'm intelligent you see, I can explain things to the rest of you, as needs be."
    "Ooh, top of the class, la de da," Sheep snorted.
    "I prefer to say 'once clever, now wise'," smiled Fox.
    "Like me," said Cow.
    Nobody said anything.
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