France has passed a “sensory heritage” law to protect the sound and smell of its countryside. The decision was taken after a flood of court cases by neo-rurals outraged to discover the country could be noisy and smelly.
French senators voted and approved the law on Thursday. Joël Giraud, the Minister for Rural Affairs, said that he celebrated the new law that aims to “define and protect the sensory heritage of the French countryside.”
The Minister further said that the task of defining ‘rural heritage and its sensory identity’ will be given to the regional authorities. Calling it a real victory for rural communities, the Minister said, “Do your part, let’s preserve the countryside.”
France has always experienced several social conflicts between long-term residents of countryside communities and new arrivals. All this happened after an incident went viral in 2019. A rooster named Maurice was put on trial in July 2019 after people complained about early morning crowing.
But a court in Rochefort rejected the complaints and instead ordered neighbors to pay €1,000 (around $1,200) in damages. The case was symbolic of increasing divisions between rural and city-dwellers in France.
At the time of trial, Corinne Fesseau, the owner of Maurice said, “He is a rooster. Roosters have the desire to sing. That is the countryside. We must protect the countryside”.
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