The rebel cow of the Romagna

And you wonder why I so love Italia and the Italiani:

I was wading through the daily mire of newspaper headlines the other day about the deepening euro crisis and the latest rich or famous Italian to be arrested when I saw this: “Mucca inferocita in fuga semina paura” (Ferocious cow on the run spreads panic). A cow, nicknamed “Libera” (free) by article’s author, had been on the loose now “for months” in the Apennine Mountains near the small city of Forlì where I live, and “quella enorme massa di 800 chili” (that enormous mass of 800 kilos) was charging anyone who approached it.

It was not that the cow had decided one day to become a bull, or a butch lesbian, or anything so boringly human. The cow’s feelings about its sexuality had nothing to do with it: The cow simply had enough of its life of slavery as a farm animal.

Capable of covering many miles a day, it had now bewitched two other cows from a different farm because, as the newspaper—La Voce di Romagna—explained, it “contagia” (infects) any other cow it comes across with the urge to be free. How many other cows in my neck of the woods, or indeed in Italy as a whole, would now heed the siren call to rebellion of this charismatic rebel cow and return to their primeval state? And where does the cow stand on the single currency? Is it for or against the euro?

According to La Voce, not even the farmer who owns the cow could get it to see reason. So the powers that be in the nearest town, Predappio, had at long last decided to swing into action….

Perhaps they convinced themselves that the cow was a fascist fifth columnist masquerading as a communist because according to the paper, one morning last week off they all went, up into those hills where there are no roads, just perilous mud tracks, woods, and the occasional field, in their four-wheel drives bristling with weapons. Amazingly, they soon found the cow and her two sidekicks in a scene described by La Voce thusly: “A sort of big game hunt. The forestale (forest rangers), veterinari (vets), and even the carabinieri (police) and the sindaco (mayor). All of them around Libera, at a safe distance, in order to immobilize her.”

But it was all in vain. They could not get near enough to the cow to capture it, and the only alternative was either to shoot it dead or shoot it with a tranquilizer bullet. But the sindaco, being a leftie and a staunch believer in animals’ rights over those of fascist humans, would not sign the order to kill the beast and nobody had any tranquilizer bullets. “The rebel cow has won her battle for freedom,” La Voce concluded, “for now Libera remains where she is, happy to roam the hills, and no doubt in the company of the other two cows.”

La dolce vita, baby. La dolce vita. I can’t wait for the inevitable political party, Mucca Ribella, to form around Libera. She certainly can’t be any worse as prime minister than Monti, and she’s already every bit as democratically legitimate.