French cocks are now attacking with the law behind them

French cocks are now attacking with the law behind them

Paris – the rooster cry and the church bell rang at dawn. The clank of jars and the smell of compost from a nearby stable. Deafening Cicada Song or Whooping Frogs. Quack ducks, bleating sheep and braying donkeys.

Perennial, rustic sounds and scents like these were protected under French law last week, when lawmakers passed A. law Project To preserve the “sensual heritage of the countryside,” after a series of widespread bickering in rural corners of France, many of which include noisy animals.

In a nation it is still associated with Its agricultural roots And him Terroire – A deep sense of place tied to the land – the disagreements symbolize tensions between urban newcomers and longtime rural residents, the frictions that have grown with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and a series of closures attracting new residents to the countryside.

“Living in the country means accepting some inconvenience,” said Joelle Giroud, the junior minister in the French government in charge of rural life. It would be an illusion, he said, for the countryside to be viewed as an ideal retreat for a picture of calm.

Perhaps the most notable of these annoying animals was Maurice, a rooster in Saint-Pierre Doleron, a town on an island off the west coast of France. Neighbors sued his owner – regular vacationers in the area – because he shouted so loudly.

Politicians and thousands of petitioners They rushed to the defense of the dear roosters, And court in the end Rule In 2019, Morris said, Who died last summer at the age of six, Was within his rights.

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“Our rural areas are not just landscapes, they are also the sounds, smells, activities and practices that are part of our heritage,” Mr. Giroud told lawmakers in the French Senate. “New rural people are not always used to this.”

The bill passed the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, in January. In a rare display of parliamentary and political unity, the Senate unanimously passed an unmodified version of the bill on Thursday.

“The goal is to give elected officials a toolkit,” said Pierre Antoine Levy, the centrist Senator who helped draft the bill, arguing that mayors are caught in the midst of an increasing number of neighborhood disputes.

To name a few recent cases: in Dordogne, a region in southwestern France, a court The spouses were ordered to drain the pool After neighbors complained about the continuous cawing of frogs; In Alsace, in the east of France, a court It ruled that the horse should stay at least 50 feet Of adjacent property after complaining of foul-smelling excrement and large numbers of flies; In Le Beausset, a small village in southern France, Residents were shocked When tourists complained about singing cicadas. (The mayor responded last year by installing Six-foot statue.)

In one of the most tragic cases, More than 100,000 petitioners They demanded justice last year after Marcel, a rooster in Ardèche, southeastern France, was shot and beaten to death by a neighbor angry at his screams. the man It was received later 5 months suspended.

The new law amends French environmental law to say that the “sounds and smells” of natural spaces in France are an integral part of a legally defined “common heritage”. And local administrations are urged to carry out an inventory of the “sensory heritage” of their area, to give the newcomers a better sense of what to expect.

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The law does not include any specific penalties or establish a list of specifically protected sounds or smells, but Mr. Levy, who represents Tarn and Garonne, a predominantly rural area in southwestern France, said it would give mayors more powers over disputes before they end They order them in court and it will give the judges a stronger legal basis to resolve the cases that reach them.

“This law does not mean that farmers will be able to do what they like,” he said. “The idea is to create a code of good conduct.”

It was too late for Morris. But his successor, Maurice II, can now wrestle with the full confidence of someone who has the law on his side. Corinne Fesso, owner, France TV 2 This week she was overjoyed by the new law.

“The city has a noise,” she said. “So is the countryside.”

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