Rural smells and soundtrack protected by new French law.

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

Cock-a-doodle-doo! French ministers make muddy tweaks in law to countryside code of conduct to protect sights, sounds and smells of rural life.

Neighbours crowing about the racket from noisy roosters or rural recreationalists being driven quackers by the sound of geese and ducks have forced government ministers in France into issuing new legislation that protects the ‘sensory heritage’ of the rural French countryside.

The new bylaws, muddy tweaks to the current countryside code of conduct, passed earlier this week, have been designed to stop locals from becoming entrenched in legal battles over the ‘inconvenience’ of sounds and smells coming from green space.

It all started following a high-profile case involving a neighbourly squabble that turned into a lawsuit over the early morning antics of a noisy rooster called Maurice whose ‘shrill wake up calls’ were ‘disturbing’ the owners of a new holiday home nearby.
(To note, Maurice and his owners won his case in court)

The bill actually declares certain countryside ‘nuisances’, such as the mooing of cows and the unmistakeable whiff of manure from farmyard animals, as part of the ‘cultural and sensory heritage’ of rural France and therefore protects them from legal action.

The change in law is in response to growing tensions in the countryside between longtime residents and outsiders – dubbed neo-rurals – whose rural expectations of solitude, peace and quiet clash with everyday realities.

Media reports also highlight that cow bells, cow dung, rooster clucks, grasshopper chirps and noisy early-morning tractors are also now considered part of France’s natural soundtrack that will be ‘codified in its environmental legislation’. It is expected though that a degree of courtesy applies and farmers are encouraged to consider how they can work in harmony with their local communities to avoid undue conflict. French ministers were quick to stress that the new bill did not give farmers ‘freedom to do as they pleased’ and should be considered a guideline to work to in which manners and sense of spirit apply.

‘Living in the countryside implies accepting some nuisances,’ Joel Giraud, the French government’s minister in charge of rural life said. These sounds and smells are now part of the common heritage of the nation.”

What sounds, smells and sights of the great British country life would you protect in law?
Tell us on the Muddy Matches facebook and twitter accounts.

Each playful design – exclusively stocked online at The Countryside Store – has a cheeky outlook on country life in it’s many muddy forms.