Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cash Cows

Here's a piece I submitted to a magazine back in 2005. It was accepted but was then pushed aside by something more contemporary and newsworthy. Now that the rights have reverted back to me, I thought I'd share it with you.

“I hear that the Boss has been interfering with the pigs”, said Edward.
Desiree half-closed one eye and frowned.
“Really? I thought he’d been at the cows.”
“Oh he has”, said Edward. “They were genetically modified back in February ... During that heat wave, remember?”
“Oh yes”, said Desiree. “They had human genes spliced into them so that they’d produce human milk.”
“I’m told that transgenic animals and plants are excellent cash crops”, said Edward. “Guaranteed better yields and customised produce.”
“Truly Cash Cows”, said Desiree. “But isn’t it all a bit dangerous, this genetic fiddling?”
“I suppose there are bound to be occasional weird mutations and failures”, said Edward.
“Like those giant chickens”, said Desiree. “Or those cats with wings.”
“But at least one of them was a commercial success”, said Edward. “Everyone wanted a Cat Flap. No one went for the giant chickens though. Perhaps it was because they called them Massive Cocks …”
“Anyway, what were you saying about the pigs?” interrupted Desiree.
“I heard that the Boss has bought some genetically modified pigs”, said Edward.
“Why? What do they do? Produce sausages by budding?”
“No. They get slaughtered and harvested so that doctors can use their organs for transplant surgery.”
“That’s horrible!” said Desiree.
“You’re telling me”, said Edward. “The scientists have mucked around with pig and human DNA so that the pigs’ organs won’t be rejected by the human body. It’s a way of keeping a constant stock of human-friendly organs available. And let’s face it … rich old men who don’t want to die will pay a fortune for a brand new heart, even if it is from a pig.”
“Greed and the fear of death. Mankind’s greatest motivators”, said Desiree.
“Or simple survival”, said Edward. “Let’s face it, this farm has been decimated by CJD, Foot and Mouth, the loss of young people from the profession, lack of subsidies … what is a farmer to do? You can’t blame the Boss for jumping on the genetic bandwagon.”
“I suppose not”, said Desiree. “I just wish that people would use genetic science for more noble causes; maybe to undo some of the damage that Man has done. Like increasing the wild populations of White Rhino or Mauritius Kestrels. Or to bring back species that Man made extinct like the Dodo and Steller’s Sea Cow. It’s a crime that such ingenuity is spent on preserving the human race. It’s not as if it’s an endangered species is it?”
“True”, said Edward. “But there’s not a lot we can do about it is there?”
“We can protest”, said Desiree. “I can write to my MP.”
“You don’t have an MP”, said Edward. “You’re a potato.”
Desiree shut several of her eyes and sighed a tuberous sigh.
“But I’m a genetically modified potato with some human genes. That makes me partly human. Give it a few more years and we’ll have the vote, mark my words.”
“I suppose that’s possible”, said Edward. “After all, that donkey did become the Minister for Agriculture in 2020 …”

Satire is a scary thing in the wrong hands, isn't it?

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