Bat lived a happy life, but grew tired of being mistreated by Man. Bat did a poo, and hid a disease within it.
When Man took the poo to turn it into bio-engineered weapons for fun, Man died in large numbers. Bat said: “That’s for cutting down my trees.”
Man’s money evaporated, his social systems trembled, and his clever brain went into overdrive making vaccines and excuses.
Pig saw what happened, and wanted a bit of it. Pig coughed on Man, and Man grew terrified. Pig said: “That’s for sausages. Git.”
Then Marmot said: “Hang on. Man eats my kidneys raw as a folk remedy. I do not harm Man. I spend most of the year asleep in my burrow. Any longer up with this, I shall not put.”
And so Marmot infected Man with the Black Death, which last time out killed 25million people, sparked migrant massacres, and caused overnight economic and social collapse.
Then Mosquito laughed. “Silly mammals!” he said. “You are killing Man suddenly, and noticeably. In return, he will hunt you to extinction. I have killed billions, but my reign of terror continues because I am too small for Man to eat.”
And the Vegetarian stepped forward, smiling, and righteous, and said: “Verily, I have inherited the Earth, and shall be good and kind to all the meat within it. Mossies, on the other hand, can eat my zapper.”
Boris Johnson tried to fix the problems by telling people to go on holiday with all the money they didn’t have.
Prince Charles tried to fix it by telling people think about the planet, but did it in such a way he generated a carbon footprint bigger than the BFG, so no-one paid much attention.
Donald Trump did not try to fix the problem at all, and he had the most success as it killed off a lot of the problem.
The Vegetarian urged Man to stop eating meat, but Man said: “Bacon.” The Vegetarian urged Man to eat fake Bacon, but Man said: “You realise this is an additive-ridden, sugar-and-fat-filled, artificially-produced piece of mushroom fibre grown in factory farmed chicken poo, yes? It’s very water-intensive, and it’s actually more environmentally-friendly to eat mosquitoes. Wait, can vegetarians eat mosquitoes?”
And the Vegetarian cried, because she could not win.
Man looked around him, and was cross. “Why do the things that serve me now try to kill me?” he demanded.
Then Fox stepped forward. Fox had been hunted for fun, not food, and had more reason than most to hate Man. But Fox took pity on Man, who was not particularly bright, and tried to explain.
“There is only one animal that serves you, and it is Dog, but some of you eat even him. These other animals share your planet, but not your respect,” said Fox.
“Just like Man, they accept some will die, and that each of us consume the other in a never-ending cycle. They do not object to the principle of being eaten, for many of them eat each other. They object to harm being done, to being eaten when it is not necessary, to factory farming and cheap chickens and reformed ham.
“Truth be told, they’re particularly cross about the fake meat. It’s a bit like humans using sex robots: missing the point and devaluing it, all at the same time.
“Have you considered, you know, just being a bit nicer about things?”
“Nicer?” said Man. “What is nicer?”
Fox sighed. “It means kinder, and also accurate. For example, eat your meat, but not indiscriminately. Once or twice a week, from a good farmer who gave your dinner a happy life.
“Don’t tinker with bat viruses. Don’t treat marmots like penicillin. Maybe give some pencillin to the people of Ulaanbaatar, who appear to need it. Do not piss off the hippos, stop arsing around with the oceans the box jellyfish live in, let the bulls in Pamplona run on their own, and perhaps they’ll all stop coming after you every chance they get.
“If we all do what is needed in order to survive, and no more and no less, then perhaps all of life will be able to co-exist. That would be nicer, wouldn’t it?”
“That all sounds very complicated,” said Man. “I don’t think I’ll bother.”
“All you have to do is be nice,” said Fox. “But if you don’t want to then I’m afraid there’s an animal who’s really deadly coming for you.”
“Oh yeah?” said Man. “Who’s that?”
“There is an animal who will flood your coastal towns with meltwater from the ice caps, who will boil the coral reefs you like to snorkel over, who will take the oxygen from your air and replace it with carbon dioxide. It will strip your upper atmosphere away, put heart disease inside your beef burgers, make your children obese with fake flavourings and fructose.
“It will handpick the worst diseases of the world and turn them into weapons to use against you. It will tell you vaccines aren’t for everyone, it will abuse you, and it will prevent you doing anything clever or good that would fix these problems. It has killed billions more even than Mosquito, and it will kill billions yet to be born.”
“Is it Spider?” said Man. “Or Ghislaine Maxwell? I shall stamp on them.”
“Jeez,” said Fox. “Dinosaurs had brains the size of walnuts but they still managed to grasp this. Perhaps that’s why they managed 66million years and you’re barely scraping 6. YOU are the animal which is causing you all these problems. Stop talking about like it only affects other creatures: they will recover, and you won’t. YOU are the problem, to which YOUR death is the solution.”
“Well,” said Man. “That’s not very nice.”
And so he beat Fox to death with a baseball bat. Which sort of proved her point.