The novella opens when Mr. Jones checked his farm (Manor Farm) before going to bed. It appeared as a routine checkup but Mr. Jones was drunk and forgot to properly lock the cages. He struggled to reach his bed where his wife Mrs. Jones was already asleep.
As soon as he dozed off, there was an all-animal meeting summoned by Old Major (the most revered animal in the whole family). Perhaps the respect that he got was the cause that all the animals (except Moses) were excited and willing to come to the meeting.
Mr. Jones’s departure was carefully observed and all the animals started to gather one after the other. First, came three dogs, Bluebell, Jessie and Pincher followed by hens, sheep, cows, horses (Boxer and Clover), goat (Muriel), donkey (Benjamin), ducklings, a foolish white mare (Mollie) and at last the cat.
The Old Major (A white boar i.e. pig) addressed all the animals in a magniloquent way and talked of a dream he had seen the night before but surprisingly skipped the dream part.
He talked about the limited number of days that he had, as he was old now and grabbed the attention of all the animals by talking of an observation that he had made during the entirety of his existence on the farm.
The Old Major talked of life in the farm to be “miserable, laborious and short”. He infused the minds of all the animals with the idea that they were being treated as commodities rather than entities.
He talked of the enmity that all the animals must have against Man. He talked of the unity that all animals must have, “All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.”, He said.
His speech acted as fuel is to fire. He now told the animals that in the dream that he had seen the night before, he had remembered the lyrics and tune of a song that his mother used to sing long ago. The song’s name was “Beasts of England”. The song visualized a series of perspectives of a future world without Man.
All the animals sang the song with great fervor until Mr. Jones got up due to the uproar and fired some bullets thinking that a fox had entered the farm. They all ran toward their cages and were asleep the next moment.