As recently reported by Aurelien Breeden in the New York Times ,a law was passed in France that would protect rooster crowing and certain other sounds of the French countryside, as defined by each area consistent with the law.
A report by Mr. Pierre-Antoine LEVI , made on behalf of the Committee on Culture, Education and Communication, filed on January 13, 2021, describes the intent and background of the law.
This bill seeks to integrate within the common heritage of the nation the sounds and smells characteristic of natural, marine or terrestrial environments.
Apparently, local elected officials have received increasing requests from “newcomers” to rural areas who do not understand how agriculture works (and purportedly do not care) but instead object to the sounds and smells of the countryside, including the crowing of roosters at dawn, the smell of horse manure and flies that are attracted to barnyards and pastures, and even object to the sounds of church bells.
In the end, the increased media coverage of matters relating to sensory heritage undoubtedly reflects an erroneous perception of rural territories, which are seen by some newcomers, whether they are passing tourists or residents who have recently settled in, as places of preservation, nature and traditions to be protected . . . rurality is not a silent territory . . . ‘silence does not belong to the countryside any more than to the city.’
Mostly, this seems to be a common sense law. The only potentially troubling outcome relates to a case in which the owner of a rooster named Maurice was sued by neighbors objecting to his noisy crowing. As Breeden reported,
Politicians and thousands of petitioners rushed to the Gallic rooster’s defense, and a court eventually ruled in 2019 that Maurice, who died last summer at the age of 6, was well within his rights. (Emphasis added.)
Without reading the actual court ruling, it is difficult to know whether the rooster’s “rights” were at issue or this statement was dicta and was not intending to extend rights to roosters and other animals. More to come on that, when the decision is obtained.