This is a story about a town named Chickenville, pop. ca. 10,000 located in the heart of agricultural Alberlos. For years it had thrived as a model of industry and generosity under the exciting motto “Alberlos advantage.”
Its main industry was that of raising chickens, hundreds of thousands of them.
These were free-ranging on farms humanely restrained by high fences and rotated from one chicken pasture to another to allow for minimal damage to the land and optimizing the nutrient value of the grasses and other crops on which the chickens freely fed.
These indeed were happy and productive chickens.
Eggs were sold all over Canada, into the US and even as far as Europe and Asia.
Fast food chains clamoured for their fryers.
Most of the residents of Chickenville worked at the farms in such diverse jobs as agronomists, veterinarians, economists, sales people, researchers, disease control specialists, egg gatherers and general labourers.
And then it happened. A terrible virus that even the best scientists couldn’t control swept through the chicken farms.
Chickens died by the tens of thousands. People of all skills and professions were laid off; even labourers were let go. The outlook was gloomy.
People moved away; businesses in town began to close; optimism lost its glow. What was Chickenville to do?
One bright light that helped ease the pain was that the virus was finally named – maybe that could help devise a cure. It was called Environ Politocos Extremitis.
This whole mess was a serious blight on Alberlos’ reputation throughout Canada and even the world so the government stepped in. They had an inspired answer – a feather tax.
The government reasoned that since Chickenville was already suffering from the drastic financial loss the farmers and community were experiencing, and since they were such a plucky bunch, they would be resilient to such a tax that would in the long run be a blessing to them and the whole world by the example they were setting.
“Trust us,” they would say. “This will be good for you and us. Just think of the nest egg of money this will bring into your government’s basket to use to benefit all of the people.” And so it happened. The feather tax became a reality.
Today, Chickenville no longer exists, but the tourist industry has thrived in what was once a busy and happy community.
Roadside pullovers and the historical accounts from the rise to the fall of Chickenville are colourfully and attractively displayed on the numerous guide signs throughout a magnificent park which covers the entire area of town including the farms that raised the world famous chickens.
A huge rooster was created by the government of Alberlos and sits atop a 10 metre pole to crow about its great wisdom and foresight. All of this, of course, was financed through the feather tax – a fitting memorial to hard-working and industrious people who gave up all so that the world could learn the value of sacrificing everything for the benefit of everyone everywhere.