I have other interests besides mind control smut - I bet you do, too - and in the pursuit of those interests noticed the following chart recently:
It's a newly-released chart from the USDA, showing the state of the American dairy industry. What I found startling is that red line representing the milk productivity per cow. It has almost doubled since 1980.
Think about that for a moment. Each cow now gives almost twice as much milk as a cow in 1980 did. That's incredible! What could be the cause of that?
Is it breeding? We've been breeding cows for thousands of years. And yet somehow in the span of the most recent 35 years, we've managed to double their milk output. Cows are ready to breed at 15 months, so at a really aggressive estimate that's only 28 generations. Are we that much better at breeding that we can double the output of an already thoroughly-customized species in only 28 generations?
Is it drugs? There are obviously a number of ways to increase milk output through pharmaceuticals. Is it process? Don't underestimate the ability to improve outputs by rearranging processes, it's a major and effective component of industrial organization. Feed the cows at 11 rather than 9:30 and there could be a small but quantifiable change in their behavior and output. Add up hundreds of those little observed results and you can achieve real change (although I can't imagine an actual doubling of output).
Is it something else? Or, and this is the most likely, a combination of a lot of things?
Anyway. I don't want to get lost in the weeds, here - I'm not that interested in the American Dairy industry. What I am interested in are the fetish ramifications of this information. Particularly considering that I'm a huge fan of the whole human cow / human dairy concept (as made obvious by my story Herd Instinct).
Thus, being that sort of pervert, immediately I was struck by the idea of a mind-transformed human dairy herd having their productivity doubled. Mmm.
Of course, pursuing that idea with an eye towards a story immediately runs into some of my hesitancies. I don't write about things happening to children, which of course immediately causes challenges when writing about selective breeding. I do write drugs, so that part is easy, but frankly selective breeding has to be pretty central to this whole concept so there are some mines laid there. Also I am not pleased writing death (some people might be surprised to hear that, but it's true) so when breeding humans the generations in my story would necessarily be long and productive rather than quick and with a lot of weeding out, which is of course key to any real selective breeding.
Also, sort of as an aside, I would absolutely never include any sort of slaughterhouse concept. There are those who write human cattle stories who feature that prominently, and of course it fits squarely into the milieu. But the whole idea is a total unpleasantness for me, so no, never.
But I can work with drugs and selective breeding. Those of course lead to another major question. Who is doing this selective breeding? The immediate problem being that if it's a standard modern era Mistress/Master figure, they're not going to live long enough to oversee more than a few generations, as the cattle live as long as they do (as mentioned, in my stories the cattle will be living long, happy, mindless lives).
That, by the way, is why we don't have acorns next to the almonds on grocery shelves. There are oak trees that have mutated to produce acorns which are sweet and good to eat, but breeding oak trees is beyond our patience. In addition to their long lives and land requirements, the genes that produce the inedible tannins are multiple and complicated, so planting sweet acorns doesn't produce sweet acorn producing trees. Reaching sweet acorn trees that would breed true would take many human lifetimes.
But back to fetish. So, in this theoretical story focused around improving human cattle stock (and admit it, for some of us the idea of "improving human cattle stock" is erotic), who is doing the improving?
Could be aliens. But in this sort of story where you start with a big pool of enslaved humans, where's the interest in the aliens' motivations? Where's the conflict? Not to pooh-pooh alien stories, they can be done really well (e.g. trilby's Xenophilia), but it doesn't seem like the way I'd go here.
Could be robots. That might work; some sort of AI created a long time ago whose goal is to perfect a race of human cattle. I did something similar in 'Rouge', with a system that was set up to enslave people and then self-perpetuates. So that's one possible path.
But, let me go back to my initial human caveat "modern era". Let's discard that, and slide over to "fantasy future era". That opens up the field a bit. What about humans who are a different type of humans? In other words: a caste system. So there is a caste of Masters/Mistresses, and a caste of human cattle. Possibly other castes, possibly not. This would fit nicely in a "destroyed environment" dystopian future. And you also get to riff on caste/class themes. And you can have politicking going on within the Master/Mistress caste. That would work nicely, providing Master/Mistress figures who are properly dominant yet also can be related to by the reader.
So then, if that's the milieu, who is our protagonist? One option is a time-traveller; someone who was frozen from an earlier time and wakes up in this future. I did that in 'Codi' (see a few posts back). It allows the author an easy avenue to explain things.
Or it could be a cow. That's a good chance to write a mind controlled sub point of view. Hmm. Perhaps a cow whose Mistress is using her as part of the aforementioned machinations... raising her up for some reason? Which of course her upbringing and generations of selective breeding would struggle against. Yes, there's a good story in there.
But - I should be working on an existing story, rather than designing an entirely new one. Well, one more idea for the pile. But I figured I'd share what sort of thing goes through my head when I read USDA reports.