France Has Passed a Law Protecting the Sounds And Smells of the Countryside



France has passed a law protecting the “sensory heritage” of its rural areas after an increasing number of social conflicts between long-term residents of rural communities and new arrivals. One case involved a rooster called Maurice, who was put on trial in July 2019 after a neighbor complained about its early morning crowing. However, a court rejected the neighbor's complaints of noise pollution and ordered him to pay $1,200 in damages. The case came to symbolize growing divisions between rural and urban France, as neighbors who were normally city dwellers objected to habits that come with rural life. Rural residents then stepped up their efforts to protect the countryside and its inherent sounds and smells. The court determined that a rooster's nature is to crow early in the morning and city dwellers who move to rural areas must respect the countryside and its heritage.