A rooster and two chickens
Not everyone appreciates being woken up by a rooster's crow, but in France it's now part of the rural heritage. Image: Aron M (Canva) CC0

Noisy roosters and messy cows: France passes law to protect rural ‘sensory heritage’

If you happen to live in the French countryside and get annoyed by your neighbour’s rooster, there’s nothing to be done about it: the French government has passed a law that protects the rural ‘sensory heritage’.

Recently, there have been a number of conflicts between longtime rural residents and newcomers. Multiple people have sued their neighbours over noises and smells typical of the countryside. This is seen by some as part of a larger clash between rural traditions and the spread of urban culture. Last year, a rooster named Maurice became a symbol for the push to protect rural heritage after someone tried to sue his owner. Thousands of people signed a ‘Save Maurice’ petition, and the court ruled in the rooster’s favour.

In the video below, Maurice’s owner and supporters talk about the details of the court case and the increasing number of these conflicts:

The new rural sensory heritage law was passed on January 21th. It has made sensory heritage a part of French law; smells, noises and sights of the countryside are now protected heritage.

Source: France 24 (English), France Info (French)

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