The Italian Almanac

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Anti-Recession Chickens

The town of Varallo, in northern Italy, has been overwhelmed with requests for free live chickens and roosters as part of an anti-recession plan. "The town hall phones are permanently busy," said Mayor Gianluca Buonanno.

An official reservation system will be launched, but "hundreds of citizens have already expressed their interest," added Buonanno, who is offering the live birds to anyone who requests them. The only condition is that citizens must prove to have a few meters of garden or lawn.

"The idea is to promote a new way to cut costs, and a new use of the land," Buonanno said. "It's the same as during war time. Premier Monti has in fact said we are currently engaged in combat".

Buonanno said that chickens and roosters eat about 150 kilograms of biodegradable foodstuffs a year, cutting down on trash collection.