A law has just been passed in France that will protect the “sensory heritage” of the European nation’s countryside.
The law, which passed through the lower house of parliament last year, was passed by Senators last Thursday after several high-profile conflicts by village residents and vacationers.
One case revolved around a rooster named Maurice, who believe it or not was placed on trial in July of 2019 after neighbors complained about his early morning crowing. A “Save Maurice” petition was then launched that was signed by thousands of people. In the end, the court sided with the rooster and rejected the neighbors’ complaints.
This case grew to symbolize the major divide between those in urban France and those in rural areas of the country.
“Living in the countryside implies accepting some nuisances,” Joel Giraud, the government’s minister in charge of rural life, told lawmakers.
In another 2019 case, a woman was brought to court by a new neighbor who was tired of the babbling of the ducks and geese in her back garden. This case was thrown out by a court in southwest France.
The bill states that cow bells (and cow droppings), grasshopper chirps and noisy early-morning tractors will all be considered part of France’s natural heritage.
“It sends a strong message,” added Pierre-Antoine Levi, the senator who acted as rapporteur for the bill. “It can act as a useful tool for local officials as they carry out their educational and mediation duties.”
Social media users have been praising the law in the days since it was passed.
“Hooray to the French (I never expected to write that). Can we have the same laws here please. It’s a bit bothersome when city suits come out to the countryside and buy up second homes with their Christmas bonus (so that locals can’t afford a first house) and then complain about the country sounds and smells,” one social media user commented, with another adding, “Sounds like a great law to me.”
“Wow. Some common sense in France at last. If you don’t like animal noises stay home in the city and listen to the police sirens instead,” another user wrote.
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